ChuckWarnock.com

Confessions of a Small Church Pastor

The internet for everyone?


I ran across this site, internetforeveryone.org, which touts “the internet for everyone.” Not hard to figure that out — their reasoning is broadband access enables everyone to participate in democracy and exercise free speech.  Good argument, especially in light of the fact that only 20% of the world has access to the internet.  In the US, only 35% of families with income under $50,000 have broadband access.  That’s one reason we included a computer lab and wifi access in our new community center.

But back to small churches — does the internet figure in your small church ministry, and if so, how?  In our church, only about a dozen families even use e-mail, so the internet is not a big factor for us.  When we tried to do an on-line church-wide survey, we had to print paper surveys and then enter the results on-line manually because so few of our members use the internet.

But, your church may be different.  Do you use email, a website, text messaging, instant messaging, on-line ads, or any other internet services in your ministry setting?  Does your church have a website?  Does your church provide at least the office area with broadband access?  Is is necessary for small churches?  I’d like to know what you’re doing, and so would lots of other small-church folks.  So, either drop me a postcard, or hey, why not comment here!  Thanks.

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Categories: culture, Global issues, lifestyle, Technology

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3 replies

  1. All but one family in my church has an internet connection and of those who do only one family doesn’t have broadband. I primarily use e-mail as a means of communication (announcements, reminders, information, etc.). I find it VERY effective. We don’t have a church website and I don’t think it would be used if we had one.

  2. Our small church (similar circumstances to yours Chuck) is generally good about e-mail; at least half of our group has it and uses it, and we use e-mail to distribute prayer requests. That said, those who don’t use e-mail have suggested that they feel a little late in being informed about prayer requests.

    We also have a website (http://www.hickorywithepc.org) that, frankly, very few in our church seem to make use of. One or two families takes advantage of podcasted sermons, a couple of them read my blog there, and I know of a few folks who occasionally put to use the links that we have up. I’m in the process of developing more tools for members only (like an updated directory of members, files related to our classes, and officer nomination forms), but it’s hard to say whether these will be used or not.

    What I do know is that our website is necessary for people to find and contact us, just as much as a Yellow Pages listing or inserting our name in the Saturday newspaper was a generation ago. We had a family visit last Sunday who recently moved to the area, and they found us through our website. They weren’t the first.

  3. My church is similar to Ed’s. I am able to email about 70% of our regulars. Of those 70%, almost all have broadband (either DLS or cable.) I send out a regular Sunday night/Monday morning update, which recaps some of the things that happened on Sunday and give any updates to prayer requests and usually do some announcements.

    I will also send out email updates to prayer requests when they come in, but we also use a traditional prayer chain for those with no internet access.

    No, there is no internet access at the church, which is a bit of a pain, if i need something from Microsoft Clip Art when I am at the church. Fortunately, that is not often. Since getting a laptop, I do most of my computer work at home (across the street.)

    We do have a church website (with podcasts of the sermons) and a current schedule and some information about the church. In addition I maintain a blog, which I have available for the congregation, but very few take advantage of either the website or blog. However, quite a few out of town pastors and friends check on our church website and blog regularly.

    In my case, the blog has taken over regular updates to the church website and there is a link to by blog there which is where I post updates to church events and so on. I am technically minded so that’s why I do these things. The previous pastor would not have done any of these.

    My .02 worth. Dale

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