Research – Internet Ministry Best

From the fall of 2006 until the spring of 2008, David Bourgeois conducted a research project that sought to understand how ministries have achieved success using the Internet. Through a series of interviews and a survey of over 300 ministries, a set of “best practices” for use in online ministry was developed. Below is an overview of the findings- a more detailed writeup is available at Dr. Bourgeois’s website Lessons From Babel (report PDF).
Internet Ministry Framework
The Internet Ministry Framework
The Internet Ministry Framework embodies the three different aspects of implementing an Internet ministry: technology, people, and process. This is an important definition because many organizations looking to start an online ministry immediately focus on the technology and completely ignore the more difficult decisions surrounding the people involved and the processes undertaken to implement and maintain the ministry. None of the three components are any important than the other: all three play an equal role in supporting a successful Internet ministry.
Best Practices
The “best practices” for Internet ministry were developed by looking at what the successful online ministries had in common based on their responses to the survey. This data was combined with follow-up case studies to reinforce these findings.
Note: not all of these best practices will make sense for every organization. These are meant as general guidelines that will assist you in developing the most successful Internet ministry possible.

Technology

  • The specific software you use is not as important as content. While a nice looking site is important, it is the content that provides the value to the users.
  • Use interactive content such as blogs, podcasts, and videos as much as possible.
  • Do not build new features yourself if you can integrate with existing sites that do the same thing. For example: put your videos on YouTube and integrate them into your site instead of hosting the videos yourself.
  • Install data collection code on your site and analyze it!

People

  • Recognize your limits – gets outside help if you need it!
  • Use volunteers wisely, sparingly.
  • Have a team responsible for setting direction.
  • Designate one person to be ultimately responsible for the site.

Process

  • Planning may be the most important step in the implementation of an Internet ministry.
  • Develop written goals and/or a mission statement to guide you. Refer to these as you make decisions about features and technologies for your ministry.
  • Have a centralized approval process for site updating.
  • Allow for distributed updating of information that belongs to different parts of your ministry.

Copies of the complete report are available at http://lessonsfrombabel.com. If you like to discuss this project with Dr. Bourgeois, feel free to email him at dave (dot) bourgeois (at) genesys11 (dot) com.

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