Not convinced about the Internet as a discipleship tool? Check out part two of our guide to the best Christian websites out there...
Not convinced about the Internet as a discipleship tool? Check out part one of our guide to the best Christian websites out there.
With so many Christian resources now available on the web it can be a hard job sorting the wheat from the chaff. That’s why here at Christianity we’ve gone out into the fields, scythes in hand, and brought back a bountiful harvest that will keep your bellies full for years to come. There are blogs, news, music, education, comedy, and even apps that you can put on your phone. So why not pop on the kettle, sit down at your computer and let the world come to you…
If you’re a leader or member of your church worship team then you’ll know how hard it can be to keep developing both the songs that you do and the abilities of the musicians involved. This problem was spotted by Tim Hughes and Al Gordon who now run the excellent Worship Central site. Here you’ll find a wealth of tuition videos for musicians that cover useful subjects such as atmospheric guitar, being a backing vocalist, and drum patterns for particular songs. There’s also plenty of teaching on worship available either as videos on the site or on audio podcasts you can download. Other cool features are blogs by various worship leaders, free new songs complete with chord charts, and a forum where you can discuss all things worship related. If you’re looking to move on from singing ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ every week then this site should be your first port of call.
An essential app for your smartphone is the YouVersion reading plan. As we all know, a structured approach to reading the Bible can deepen our understanding of the themes and the times in which they were written. This app offers a wide range of plans that allow you to study scripture differently as you work through them year after year. You could choose to follow a chronological path, canonical, blended testaments, or simply a classic one-year version. Each day your verses are ready for you and are then ticked off as you read them. There’s also a percentage display to let you know how far you’ve progressed and the amount of days left until you finish. It does require an Internet connection but as free wifi is often available in coffee shops it just becomes a good excuse to sit in one with a latte while feeding your soul.
With more of us spending a large portion of our time sitting in front of a computer it’s good to know that BibleGateway exists. The site is an online Bible that’s searchable by keywords, which is great if you’re trying to remember a verse but can’t quite recall exactly how it goes. There are multiple versions available including NIV, NASB, KJV, NLT and even several foreign language translations (so if you’ve ever wanted to know how John 1 reads in Swahili this is the place to go). Commentaries accompany the text, accessible by the click of an icon, and there’s also the very useful feature of searching by topic – perfect for those in-depth Bible studies. Reading plans are available either on the site itself, via email, or by RSS feed, and there’s even a ‘verse of the day’ feature that can be listened to. Bookmark it now.
Apple’s flagship online store is the largest music retailer in the world. But alongside Lady GaGa, the Beatles, and Leona Lewis there’s a lesser known part to iTunes that is a hidden treasure. iTunes University includes various free audio and video lessons from some of the most prestigious academic centres in the world, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and Westminster Theological Seminary. Here you can study courses in theology, history, psychology, and a host of others in the comfort of your own home, on the bus, or even while out for a run. The teaching is top-notch and the courses go into enough depth to be genuinely enlightening. So, no term-times, you’ll never be late for a lecture, and homework is optional. Reserve your seat of learning now. iTunes is a free download from apple.com/