Over the last few months, we’ve been involved in an intensive process of review and development for the All Souls church website. This has come about for a number of coincidental reasons – the primary one being that the person who has slaved away for years to both write and maintain the site is moving on. So we have the challenge and the opportunity to do something new. The plan is over the autumn for a new, revamped site to be rolled out.
As part of the process, I did some extensive research on what is out there, what is possible and, more significantly, what is appropriate. The team has felt that this was worth sharing more widely in case it is of use for those facing similar questions (on the understanding that some of the discussion within it are of course specific to our context). So here it is…
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What a thoughtful and well researched document…I would expect nothing less of course! This is an opportunity for All Souls to be a leader on this. I think there’s great potential for drawing people into the life of the church as long as it then becomes a face to face contact rather than a merely online one.
It’s an opportunity to reach out to the wider community and raise awareness. God used my love of books and music (as well as key individuals) to deepen my faith and there’s a wealth of possibility for a great online church site to develop the church mission
OK, further thoughts…though we probably should get together to chat soon!
There are some excellent points you make and I think the key is to make it as clean and simple and intuitive an interface as possible, with a good element of 2.0 style interaction but at the same time being aware of the maintenance costs – ie someone has to spend time moderating, updating, monitoring chat, responding etc. but then these roles can be seen as extensions of current roles of the church team.
Interesting you mention about having volunteers conduct regular web searches for All Souls Langham Place. Did you know Google has an automated process (Alerts) that does this for you? I’ve been using it for a while, you can set how often you want to be informed of new items on the web that match your search criteria. Google Alerts
I think All Souls does need to rethink its wider web presence and use of social media to inform and engage. It is an exciting time right now and the possibilities for, say, resource sharing with other churches are tremendous. You mentioned Googlemaps and they’re pretty straightforward to set up and can get a lot of traffic quickly. I had thousands visiting my coffee map when I first set it up.
Ten years of giving sermon recordings away free online…I didn’t know that…what a prescient decision…I know we download them and copy key ones for relatives and friends abroad.
I hope you resolve the issues about links…a disclaimer about external websites is fine but a church will feel an additional responsibility on these things. I know times I’ve found an intriguing article online and scoured the internet in case it had some kind of cultish origin. Obviously, we would have to be extremely careful with links posted in any chat section of the site.
If you need someone to update the Wikipedia entry who is not a staff member I am willing to do that; I will need guidance though as, to my shame, I’ve never edited it before. On the same front, if there’s any way I can help out on the whole website issue let me know – but, as I said before, I’m really more of a prolific dabbler and All Souls is blessed with a multitude of skilled and clever people but feel free to run ideas past me.
thanks for this Phil – i sorted out the link…