17 March 2007 ~ 3 Comments

Church Websites 2.0- from consumers to producers

A friend of mine recently turned me on the the Group curriculum called Grapple. This is a typical Group curriculum. They seem to have done some good research and I get the sense that the writers have worked with this age group (4th-6th graders) and I sense that the authors really care for kids of this age. I like the pricing scheme of the curriculum, which allows churches to pay a price based on their attendance.

One very interesting component to this curriculum is that Group sets up a closed social networking website much like myspace or facebook just for your class. The curriculum kit includes permission slips for this website and I would assume that group has set up appropriate website security to make this a safe option for the kids participating. I think this idea could work quite well for this age group, as they would be very interested in interacting online but other networking sites are not appropriate for this group.

I’ve recently been spending more time on Facebook, a social networking site dominated by college and high school students. I find the time on facebook to be much more constructive than time on myspace, where I seem to spend most of my time pressing stop on the music player or waiting for the seemingly ever slow myspace web-pages to load. There are a fair number of kids who I relate to almost exclusively on Facebook, which proves to be a great tool and and effective use of my time.

I’m wondering if a “social network” site might be a fun idea for families at a church. Assuming there was some sort of system one could install on their church website, wouldn’t it be neat to have families sign up for events, invite others, reflect on sermons or devotions, all on a website. Moms and dads spend a lot of time in front of computer screens away from their kids. What if the church website was a closed social network where families and congregation members connected with each other. At first glance this might seem like a very artificial way to connect, but the connections I make on Facebook feel far from artificial.

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