Posts Tagged ‘social media’

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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A minor example of the social web facilitating the gospel

July 16, 2009

This past Sunday (July 12) we had a excellent sermon on Habakkuk by one of our elders.  This particular elder is a high school and college history teacher and has many “friends” on Facebook, including myself.  After I published the sermon Sunday night I posted the link on his Facebook wall.  I was hoping to see a bit of a bump on the web stats.

Habakkuk stats bump as of July 14, 2009

Habakkuk stats bump as of July 14, 2009 for Word of Life Christian Fellowship

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the bump we received.  A bit under half of the hits were referrers from the Facebook post. I pulled the raw stats and found the number of clicks on the PDF sermon notes was about the same as the Facebook referrer count (as was the sum of the hits against the audio format hits).  I’m not going to say that each referrer from Facebook clicked on the PDF and listened to the audio, but I will say that a fair percentage appear to have.

I post our sermons to our Facebook group every week and we receive almost no hits from Facebook normally.  Those associated with our Facebook page typically have already heard the sermon in person.  It is the diversity of his “friends” that, I think, is the difference here.  It is an interesting enough difference that I think I need to reconsider how I’m using Facebook a bit.

Interesting Church Tech Links for March 22, 2009

March 22, 2009

I seem to be in a planning and strategy mood these days…

20 Tips for Success in Church Technology Projects
All good things to remember
A Social Media Strategy for Ministry
People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology
Is Your Church Social?
“The physical church is limited by time and space. The social web has no limitations on time and space.”
Church Website Design, assess and improve your website to reach outsiders
There are so many aspects of church site content and design to consider it is hard to remember them all

More “interesting” content: Youth Pastor Blog

March 13, 2009

Our church has a growing youth focus and we were recently able to bring on a part time youth pastor to oversee and develop the youth programs.  This is exciting as he has a huge heart for the kids and has some great ideas.  I think that just like having a senior pastor blog it is also valuable to have a youth pastor blog.

A Youth Pastor Blog

Like the senior pastor blog, a youth pastor blog creates the opportunity for new attenders to gain some insight into who it is that’s teaching their kids and what topics are important to him.  Also, like for the senior pastor, a blog provides a platform to extend and discuss Sunday’s (or Friday’s) youth sermon.

Using technology to our advantage

A youth pastor has some very unique opportunities these days.  Technology and social media is allowing us to see into areas we once had difficulty.  Consider a youth pastor who has “friended” his youth charges.  He’s going to get an opportunity to peer into areas he might not have been able to see before.  With that opportunity, he can offer affirmation or gentle correction as he see the need. Maybe, he doesn’t even do that.  Maybe he instead crafts a message for another time that might subtly address something he observed.

Further, through these technologies he gets an opportunity to provide a model of Christ-like behavior.  His charges will see how he interacts with others, what kinds of things he’s posting or watching. Much will be learned from these situations as well as potentially creating opportunities to discuss all sorts of topics that might not have been approachable before.

In our specific situation, our youth pastor organizes mission trips – the latest going into Mexico.  If he were to write about his experiences he will have a powerful platform to showcase needs, ideas, people and the love of God.

I’m looking forward to a few months from now when we can get both pastors writing, and maybe even using Twitter.

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.

Online Missions Trip

January 17, 2009

I ran across this site promoting doing an Online Missions Trip February 1 – 14, 2009.  It is encouraging teens to use social media to evangelize.  There’s not much documentation (as far as I can find) though there seem to be a number of churches involved and a couple of guides for youth leaders.  I think this is an excellent idea.  Maybe your youth group can make use of it.