In the last week I have gleaned a stronger vision for what I think churches really want from online technology. They just don’t know it.
Social media, social networking, Facebook, Twitter…churches are being bombarded by a slew of social technologies and online tools to help build “community” and connect their members and staff. It’s absolutley mind-boggling how fast all this technology is moving and being adopted. Churches are looking around asking not only What? but also Why?
Churches are hiring consultants to come in and establish a social media plan for their church. In the words of Lee Corso (ESPN’s College Gameday) “Not so fast, my friend”. The market is flooded with social media gurus who simply aren’t *that* at all. Be careful before you pay someone to teach you about social media that takes your money and provides no value. Or perhaps even worse, plugs your church into the grid, only to find out that it doesn’t line up with your church’s vision and value. Churches are being advised to put together a plan and execute it accordingly. But so many churches and other organizations act without really, really thinking about what they want.
What I’m hearing is that churches definitely want private online groups for their ministries, small groups, teams and staff. Internally, churches want to use the power of the internet for logistics, planning, coordinating and communicating. But the other big one that some churches don’t even realize they want or need right now is the ability to communicate with other churches! Learn from other churches, share resources with other churches, and generally learn from each other. After all this is what this “social” media thing is really all about…the sharing of information, ideas and networking. And if churches are sharing information and strategies isn’t this a good thing for the Kingdom? I think so.
What do you think? What does your church use social networking or online technology for? What do you want to see with online technology for churches? What do you think about partnering with and sharing with other churches as opposed to competing against them?