How Your Church Can Ignore Web 2.0

May 16, 2006 by

Part 8 in a series on What Web 2.0 Means for Your Church

Almost a month and a half ago we started talking about web 2.0 and what it could mean for your church. We’ve covered all sorts of interesting topics, including video, MySpace and the potential to ditch legacy software. Web 2.0 is technology worth talking about.

But not everyone is so excited. There are downsides to web 2.0 and those may be reason enough to keep your church off the bandwagon.

Community is Dangerous
A lot of web 2.0 sites thrive on community. The collective masses provide the content, which can be scary. When you give power to the people, you lose control. And you can get burned. Profanity, pornography, plagiarism–pick your poison. Aside from blatant no-nos, it can also give voice to dissenters who may not agree with the way your church is run. It doesn’t mean it will happen, but the easy access makes it more likely. Know it can happen and be prepared for it, otherwise you might want to stay away.

Non-Christian Interaction
Some of the criticism for the sites we pointed to centers on the fact that plenty of non-Christians frequent these sites. Plenty of non-Christians also read (and write) the newspaper, but that doesn’t discount the newspaper as a tool. Some of these people preferred the relative safety of “Christian” web 2.0 sites. If your church is afraid of interacting with non-Christians you may need to stick to the Christian friendly web 2.0. Of course is that’s the case with your church, you may have bigger problems.

The Next Big Yawn
And the best complaint we’ve heard about web 2.0 is that it’s the next big thing. It’s the current tech train and if you give it some time it will derail and your web 2.0 efforts can grow stale and empty. Like any techno trend, that could be true. We could be looking at a bunch of dotcom blunders about to burn out. But a few of those dotcomers never did fade away. Just like any trend, you have to be careful not to get carried away–don’t burn your software CD-ROMs and drag your web site to the trash just yet.

Let the Church Lead
But however you feel about web 2.0, it’s an opportunity. It may not be the greatest thing since tabbed browsing, but it is a chance for the church to check out some new tools and some new thinking. I’m not saying we should buy into everything, but for once the church could be with the latest curve instead of ages behind.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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4 Responses to “How Your Church Can Ignore Web 2.0”

  • RC of strangeculture
    May 16, 2006

    This is my favorite web 2.0 article yet…great work.
    –RC of

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  • Nate K
    May 17, 2006

    I would question your statement of ‘Web 2.0’ as a technology. The technology would be Ajax, and it is not something new. This has been around for a while – but now implemented (mainly by google/37 signals) and everyone has jumped on board. Its like everyone who jumped on board with flash, only to find out that 99% it was a hindrance and didnt play well with the rest of the connected web.
    EVERY aspect has its dangers. You can use Ajax in an unobtrusive way and still make something snappy. Web 2.0 is more of a hype, centered around community (as you stated above). You make some very good points about the dangers of making everyone the content creators – especially when they are people that may not know what they are doing.
    Quite frankly, I think its more of a fad – and I read daily about new dotcoms that are flopping because they are trying to get a piece of the pie and become the next google, myspace, or 37 signals product. Its rather sickening actually.
    So – for now, the only place i would consider using Ajax would be my blog, anywhere else would need some more thought put into it. I work for a Christian book publisher, and if the ajax is NOT degradeable – then it wont be used – period (this is due to our audience and market at this point).
    You make some great points above – and I have enjoyed reading your other takes on this as well!

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  • MyGrace: The Other Blog Evangelists

    Inspired by a member of his congregation that used MySpace to attract listeners for his rock band, Rev. Patrick Gray, am Episcopal priest from Boston set up a MySpace profile, the Advent, to attract listeners to his sermons. His site

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  • Jose Gomez
    May 17, 2006

    Decisions to implement technological methods should not be made based on fad or the need to “be current”. The decision to use AJAX and other useful presentation or processing methods should be made at the technology layer of the organization, based on the objectives of the presentation.
    Great uses for this include sign in forms, some e-commerce implementations, photo/multimedia presentations, web-based applications, etc. The danger of anything is to overuse or misuse it, like we all did back in the late 90s with Flash.
    Web 2.0 does not change the rules of what works, it just gives us the ability to do things in a different way. We still need to stick with the basics and learn from what has always worked.
    Great job presenting this very useful series of articles.

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