Meditations (Web)Church

A year (and a bit) in the life of NewSpring's first Web pastor

Reflections on an amazing beta test of the NewSpring Web Campus

with 11 comments

NewSpring has a history of launching things before they are ready. I guess that’s our way of making sure that we’re desperately depending on God.

Joshua hit the wall

Joshua hit the wall

At 2 a.m. Sunday, NewSpring’s creative director/web strategist/sometime front-end coder, Joshua Blankenship, had admitted defeat.

The all-important chatroom on the NewSpring Web Campus wasn’t functional. Joshua told me later he wasn’t expecting that we could move forward with our beta test at all. Next week’s launch was looking iffy, too.

God had other plans.

Today’s web campus “private” beta was successful beyond everyone’s wildest dreams.

What started out as a closed test broke-out across Twitter world in an unplanned way after someone in Overland Park, Kan., twittered about it.

We decided to embrace our “public” beta, and we ended up with nearly 250 visitors in our two services. We saw only a few minor issues, most of them user-interface related, and most of them known beforehand.

It was tremendously encouraging to receive so many positive reviews from our techno-evangelist friends in the “Big C” church.

But from the campus pastor’s point of view, I was even more amazed — and humbled — at how brilliantly our video production and web staff and 20-strong volunteer team performed today under considerable pressure, without much practice, with a total unity of purpose.

From the beginning, our volunteers — most would admit not being technologically sophisticated at all — were willing to believe on faith that God was in control of our Web Campus and would bring glory to himself through it. More than one volunteer shed tears of joy today when they finally saw what was possible.

Video producer Will Rodes (left) and Web genius Joshua Blankenship working the web campus chatroom

Video producer Will Rodes (left) and Web genius Joshua Blankenship working the web campus chatroom

Volunteers Tim and Rhonda Evatt

Volunteers Tim and Rhonda Evatt

Volunteers Micah Swift and Lynn Whitfield and Care Ministry Director Julie Keith

Volunteers Micah Swift, Elaine Payne and Lynn Whitfield

Amid all the techno-chatter, there were some amazing stories:

  • We had two people watching from hospital beds who received encouragement and prayer.
  • We had one couple burst into tears while they watched video of baptisms in the web service stream.
  • We had another person, struggling deeply, stumble across the campus while randomly surfing and receive comfort and prayer from two others who had experienced a similar heartbreak.

The web campus ministered to people. It was authentic. It was grace.

All I can say is “Thank you, Jesus!”

I don’t know how I got to be in this place and in this time, amid an extraordinary, unexplainable move of God. I’m all too ordinary. All I can do is praise God for his grace on me, and our church, and beg that he continues to shine his face on our ministry.

We had nearly 200 salvations today at NewSpring’s three physical campuses, bringing the year’s total to 650.

Join with me in praying that, with the help of the web campus, the number of those placing their trusting in Jesus for the first time will be multiplied by 1,000 times this year.


Written by NickCharalambous

January 25, 2009 at 10:13 pm

11 Responses

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  1. freaking money tonight buddy.

    god was killing it…! rock on. keep up the good work. love it. LOVE IT.

    John (Human3rror)

    January 25, 2009 at 10:40 pm

  2. that is great to hear! very encouraging!!

    Ben Komanapalli

    January 25, 2009 at 11:11 pm

  3. God rocks! Can’t wait to hear more!


    January 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm

  4. Hey bud, I was the Matt with the capital M that was giving you updates on the technical side and I have to say 1 thing: Thanks for the transparency of this post because I thought it was flawless and wouldn’t have known the work of God in it all if you hadn’t posted. I am glad that I got to take part and I hope that anything that I might have done or can do will help you spread the Message.God bless and keep it up!

    Matt Prielipp

    January 25, 2009 at 11:50 pm

  5. Calling me a web developer is an insult to web developers everywhere.

    Joshua Blankenship

    January 26, 2009 at 12:07 am

    • Joshua: I stand corrected. (And it’s been corrected.) Maybe you could help me come up with a way to describe your renaissance man abilities without getting myself into trouble 😉


      January 26, 2009 at 12:14 am

  6. […] Nick had all kinds of thoughts and photos… […]

  7. Guys, I didn’t mean to spread the word like that on Twitter… Sorry about that. I only noticed the part *below* the “share on twitter” link that said “please don’t click those”. I guess I felt compelled to share this with the world! I removed the tweet within minutes of putting it up there, though. That’s kind of impressive.

    I owe you guys cookies or something for the impromptu load test!

    I would have loved to have a way to load test our live stream when we launched the testing phase, but all I could get was a small handful of viewers. Now we’re really seeing the load test as our web audience has more than tripled in three months. And we haven’t even launched chat capabilities or anything!

    You guys are just that awesome!

    The Cybernetic Entomologist

    January 26, 2009 at 9:52 am

  8. Great story to read! Amazing to hear God coming through when things were looking down with the chat room. May He alone be glorified, and may you all be thrilled with the roles He’s given you! Congrats for sure!

    Gabe Taviano

    January 26, 2009 at 2:21 pm

  9. I was really impressed hanging out at the Web Campus from my home outside of San Francisco. Good stuff – looking forward to hanging out at NewSpring online before (or after) my own church services locally!


    January 28, 2009 at 12:48 pm

  10. Excited for you guys = way to go!

    Tony Steward

    February 9, 2009 at 3:42 pm

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