Web Trends for 2007, and what it means for ministry
The Christian Web Trends Blog has published Christian Web Trends 2007 Predictions. In the article they list five trends for 2007 that have implications for the church:
- Online Video will go mainstream
- Web 2.0 will continue its momentum
- Content management systems will increase dramatically in popularity
- People will search online for everything
- Organizations will have to inform people on their terms
You can read the full article for the details. Since the community that my church serves is pretty high tech, I see most of these phenomena in evidence on a daily basis. But there is a comment on the article from a pastor in rural Oklahoma who reminds us that some people are just learning how to use email.
What do these trends mean for ministry, and what steps should we consider taking this year? We already have the church web site set up using a CMS, and a significant percentage of new visitors to the church find us on the web. But we could do more with interacting as a online community. The problem here is that there are so many social networking sites that it is difficult to know where to put our efforts. A few years ago I set up a forum on our church web site, but no one made use of it. Instead of focusing mainly on the official church web site, we need to develop a vision for church members to use their personal blog, xanga, or myspace as a platform to share the Gospel. The church is the Body of Christ, and we need different members carrying their ministry into various social networking sites.
One site that I should mention here is MyChurch.org. This is a new social networking site for Christians that is unique in that it has a place for churches as well as individuals to set up an account. From the About page:
MyChurch.org is a free online tool for churches to outreach and build community by networking their congregation. Amongst some of its features are a library for sermons and media, a social network, a classifieds board, a collaborative blog, a photo sharing app, and an event calendar for you and your church.
What is especially cool is that Joe and Carol, two of the founders of the site, attended CFC while there were in college. Joe sensed God’s calling to establish this site as a ministry, and quit his high tech job to do this full time. Naturally, I had to set up my own account there.
One other area that has significant implications for ministry is the explosion of on line video. Christian Web Trends has a great series of articles on use of video in church ministry, including an article on Three videos every church website should have. One of my goals for 2007 is to add some video to our church web site.