Posts Tagged ‘community’

Our “Traditional” Church Web Site

January 3, 2010

In Tony Morgan’s The New Traditional Church: Web Strategy he fairly characterizes how most church web sites are formulated: as bull horns.  He then states that churches that are influencing are assuming people are online.  I’m not sure about your church, but in my church only half the people are “online” and less than that are active internet users.

It has been eleven months since I turned on commenting on the church web site.  It was part of an effort to open up the church site to enable a broader community and to start to engage the church in interactive activities.  At around the same time I took over the church’s stale Facebook group ultimately changing it to a Facebook page to allow updates to be directly in people’s news feeds.

Generally, this effort of facilitating interaction has been unsuccessful, with one exception.  There have been zero comments on the web site and four interactions on the Facebook page.  This is not a function of the lack of opportunity for the church to interact (though we do need to generate better and more interesting content) as much as it is that they don’t interact online right now.  Simply put, a large portion of my church community is not online right now and those who are do not significantly engage in social media activities.  Our web site is being used primarily for its event calendar, pick up missed sermon or bulletin, and to allow newcomers to learn the basics of our church.

But our church is sending missionaries and support around the world (e.g. Amazon River Churches).  And we’re growing.  We are “influencing”.  So, for us (for now), our “traditional” web site is suiting our purposes and is ready for when people (on both sides) start to use online technologies in a more meaningful way.

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Allowing comments on the church site

January 21, 2009

In my post last week of “Tim Tebow and lost opportunities for the local church” I said I had some ideas for some changes in my own church’s web ministry. The first change I’m considering is to open up comments on the church’s site.  Given that I’m now using WordPress, this becomes much easier than it would have in the past.  However, in my current template design I have removed the comment links since I was intending to use WordPress as a CMS – though adding them back in will not be hard.

Allowing comments probably seems like an automatic to some, but its actually a challenging step. I’ve not run into any church sites lately that have any sort of comments allowed on them.  I’m sure there probably are some, but I’ve not seen any.  I suspect that we’re a bit too over controlling and worried about having to police it.  However, I believe that we need to take that risk (and the required effort) to allow our sites to be used by the Lord to positively affect others.  Have you ever prayed for your web site?  Have you ever considered how the Lord wants it to be used as an outreach ministry other than as an event calendar?  I’m not thinking that just because we open up commenting that a huge new community will suddenly develop.  But I am thinking, that its a start – a start in a direction with some very interesting possibilities.