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The Bible

Going Online May be Hazardous to Your Health
2006-12-29

Conclusion

While the Internet is the next great communication change with incredible opportunities it also brings great dangers. A church that unwittingly ventures online simply because they want to get on the band wagon but fails to carefully integrate their site into their entire ministry plan can cause great harm to their church. A web page can damage the image of a church by being unattractive and cheaply designed, or being hacked and vandalism to give the wrong message. As communication technology it improves the efficiency by which people can communicate and like the cell phone can overwhelm the church and increase the pace of just being busy but not getting more done.

The people in the church are experiencing radical changes in their work and education outside of the church. In many cases they are using the internet to supplement what they are getting out of church. Their expectations will go up and continued pressure will be put on the church to implement these new tools and to achieve the same quality of tools. Any elements involving communication will experience the most demand for change (business meetings, messages to members, sermon illustrations). It some ways the church may not be able to adequately adapt to this learning curve and its best efforts may still seem out of touch.
Other churches may fall into the trap of implementing every new online gadget that comes along and end up with a system that is under-used and incomprehensible to its people. The web system may be so vast and demanding that even if designed to meet their needs people may be too overwhelmed to use it.

In order for a church to be successful online they must carefully think through how the web page will fit into the mission and vision of the church. They must be fearless to cut away all the features that do not help them. They need to take the web ministry seriously and appoint an official web team that is treated with all the same importance as the other ministries of the church. By being strategic in its efforts to go online a Church will avoid many of the pitfalls the Internet can bring.


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