Saturday, May 31, 2008

Internet Plays Significant Role in Keeping Churches Connected

Internet Plays Significant Role in Keeping Churches Connected

FLORENCE, Al., May 29 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Internet is fast becoming one of the best ways to strengthen the Body of Christ by keeping people connected in a safe online environment. Oikos(TM) is one way for small groups to connect, share, and build one another up as well as enhance outreach into the community and beyond. Oikos beta has been available since September 2007, and today's release marks the fully-enhanced version with many new features.

"People desire deeper personal connections with one another, and are constantly looking for ways to accomplish this within their busy lifestyles," says Mike Simon, President of Simon Solutions Inc., developer of Oikos. "The Internet is becoming the number one method of Christians to stay connected to their small groups, encourage and support Christian relationships, and draw others to Christ."

According to The Barna Group's recent technology update, "One out of every four Protestant churches (26%) now has some presence on one or more social networking sites (such as MySpace)." More and more people have begun using these social networking sites and there are now a myriad of different Christian networks out there to connect people; however, these networks are open to outsiders and paid for by advertisers and do not provide a secure way to communicate privately. Oikos is like having your very own private social network just for your church's community.

"We are excited about having greater customization, more intuitive interface, and the ability to interact with Oikos from cell phone SMS and group chat," says Luke Thomas, youth pastor for The Father's House in Rochester, NY. "However, it will be the enhanced customization that will really appeal to the youth. The ability to embed YouTube files and HTML will also help keep interest high. In today's world we are competing against MySpace, Aim, and YouTube and the church needs to be able to offer our youth the same type of technology tools."

Oikos provides an enhanced and user- friendly look, lighter and faster functionality, highly customizable personal profile pages for each member called "walls" that are easy to work with and set up, and a "What's New" section that gives users a way to keep track of friends and news feeds while you're logged off. In addition, it also provides small groups management, online calendars to help people keep up-to-date on events and activities within your organization, multimedia tools such as image and video sharing, improved photo commenting, an online chat with quickly updated information, forums, and online prayer.

About Simon Solutions
Simon Solutions desires to empower people through technology by building innovative and interactive online connection tools. With an aspiration to help organizations translate their visions into action, the company has developed three core solutions that they hope will stretch the boundaries of how churches, ministries, and nonprofits share community: Oikos(TM) , a revolutionary private online community platform; CharityTracker(TM), a collaborative network to track charitable assistance; and, a transformative 24/7 online prayer network.

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