We recently had the chance to sit down with Cynthia Ware and discuss her views on excellence in online ministry. Cynthia serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Church Communications whose popular blog Church Marketing Sucks provides a place for conversation on elevating the quality of church communications.
Cynthia is a leading thinker in the Internet ministry space. She is presenting at the 2010 CLA Ministry Internet & Technology Summit. She writes about using participatory media technologies to serve the Kingdom of God on her blog The Digital Sanctuary. Follow her on Twitter @CynthiaWare.
Online ministry is always a work in progress. Excellence used to be about making your blog spectacular, but now we are seeing many more evolutionary and collaborative open source efforts. Sometimes online excellence is seen when someone has taken the initiative and laid the foundation for others to follow.
What are some key things to consider when striving to be excellent?
It all starts with a mission and values. From there you must set goals that can be measured. And then measure them; you cannot be effective without measurement! Also, remember that you can’t do it alone, you need to be involved with online community. Finally, you should also keep in mind the values that these new media technologies are bringing to our culture.
You have blogged and spoken many times about these new media values. Can you share a little about them with us?
About four years ago, I developed a set of traits that all successful new media had in common. These values are something to consider when putting your own social media strategy together. For example, a couple of the values are that your online presence should be collaborative and that it should be available 24/7. I am in the process of an update to these values right now – stay tuned for a 2010 version coming soon!
How important is design?
You must make your web site appealing; it must be relevant to your target audience. But this does not necessarily mean it must be cutting edge!
What are the benefits to having a standard of excellence?
We need to have a standard! But it must be understood that we are not defining something as excellent in order for others to copy it. Your own personal calling from God should reflect excellence and guide you.
Can smaller ministries strive for the same goals of excellence that larger ministries can achieve?
Your ministry should do what it does excellently. This may mean that your online presence is not the most important part of your ministry. If that’s the case, let others Twitter about you!
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Interview has been condensed and edited.