Every church online

Saturday, March 31, 2007


Creating a Blog for your Church

I recently created a screen cast for Youth Group Stuff on how to create a blog for your youth group using Blogger.

This demo will work for any ministry at your church, not just youth groups. A blog is a great way to keep people informed of what is going on at your church with minimal effort. It can also drive traffic to your main church website.

If your church doesn't have a website, you can create a blog in 3/4 of an hour, have it hosted for free. There really is no reason why every church shouldn't have a website with blogging tools that make it push-button simple.

If you create a blog following this tutorial, post it in the comments, you know you want to.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Connecting on the Web

Mashups are all the rage now days. If you aren't a link follower, a mashup is the combining of two web applications to make a third one. I think they also give us a window on human behavior.

Alex from Read/WriteWeb dug a bit deeper and took a look at the popularity of various types of mashups. They found mapping mashups are the most popular. Then Alex post goes on to draw conclusions about why mashups are created and their rate of adoption, but I think there is another insight from this data.

Maps have meaning, we like to see things in proximity to each other. Somehow seeing dots on a map means more than seeing a list with radius information. Both forms communicate the same thing, but there is a feeling of closeness and familiarity when it's on a map.

Many people see the web as a force that stifles human interaction as people spend more time with their computers and less time with each other. You could have said the same thing about the telephone.

The way people interact changes, but the human desire for community does not. Praise God for that! I think the mapping mashups are scratching our itch to see who else is out there. When a person is not represented simply by a user name and headshot, but by a dot on a map, that person becomes connected to a physical location. I think something in our brain responds to that, it makes that person more real to us.

If you are serious about building community, then I say it's mapping time.

This post was orginally published on my work blog, Silas Notes.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Pastors as Bloggers

I gave a talk this week at my wife Erin's intern cluster meeting. For those not familiar in the Lutheran Church seminarians who are out on internship (think of that like student teaching for pastors) meet once a month with other interns in their region. Brian Spahr and I split an hour, so neither of us had much time to present on our topic of "Technology in Ministry." Brian did a great job talking about some cool technologies pastors and churches can use to better do the work they are called to do. I might not remember all the links, so feel free to add them in the comments.
  • BackPack - online worship planning
  • Jott - quick way to take notes on the go
  • MyChurch - easy way for churches to go "Web 2.0"
I know there was a Podcasting network that Brian recommended but I can't remember it off the top of my head. I talked a bit about Pastors as Bloggers. My assertion was that Pastors are creating loads of content and most of it is not getting online. Then I suggested a blog is a great way for that content to get out there. From there we discussed why the pastors and not quite yet pastors there were not publishing their sermons and other teaching resources online. The discussion was honest and helpful. What keep coming up was a concern about the lack of control you have once you publish something on a blog. I was making the point that the conversations that would happen around a blog post are already happening just in the parking lot of the church, everyone agreed. However, many of the current pastors felt as if the fact that these conversations would be "written" down lends more weight and can create more of a problem. My goal with the talk was not to convert everyone into bloggers, but to get them thinking about how conversations about church are going to be moving online, and if they aren't contributing to that conversation then all that is there is what people say about them. I would encourage all pastors and leaders in the church to search for their names in their search engine of choice and see what comes up. If you don't like what you see, then maybe it's time to start putting your voice out there in the conversation.

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