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How the Church has Always been a Social Network

(and What we can learn from the Church 2.0)

I recently came across a very interesting Website, Worship Leader.

The Site says this about itself and from observation, it seems quite an accurate description.

Worship Leader is a resource for pastors, worship leaders, musicians, vocalists, sound and visual techs, technology stewards, artists, influencers, and more. It combines biblical wisdom and best practices for worship, and provides added educational and congregational resources through its associated educational services.  
But what is significant about this resource, in a word, is that it is so “2.0”. Let’s start by looking at a screen shot:

Screen_shot_2011-06-10_at_4

The Index Page doesn’t look significantly different from Q Magazine, but that, alone isn’t so striking.  It looks sharp, there’s a big window in the middle swapping out links to articles, advertisers, promotions, whatever, but that’s pretty standard stuff these days.

But scroll down a bit and – hmmm – it starts looking interesting.
Screen_shot_2011-06-10_at_4
Screen_shot_2011-06-10_at_4

In the middle of the page, there are links to two articles.  The first says, “From YouTube to OurTube
The art of the short film in the service of worship. more >.” The second says, “Share Worship
Hierarchies have been leveled, and there is a new gatekeeper of information? You.

more >.”

This shows two things.  First, I realize that they are using a WebCMS.  This enables the editors not only to switch articles in and out easily, but direct them inside without having to deal with indexes and other old navigation elements.  But not only that, but these guys are integrating social media in a BIG way!

Then, shift to the right column, and it becomes more obvious.  On-demand music. Facebook and Twitter. Automatic posting of events. Further down, there is a link to Webinars, a free song of the month, a contest – the whole shebang!

So I peek inside, to check out who these people are. In the About Us tab, I find this about the group’s mission:

Screen_shot_2011-06-10_at_4

I find this statement to be extremely interesting! Let’s look at the most intriguing parts:

we provide a trusted community in our changing world
That is a wonderful start.  The world is changing and in a trusted community, we can help each other to understand it and do something about it that is positive and good.

gathering the collective wisdom of a network of leaders and practitioners
This sounds wonderful, too.  Gathering wisdom from people who lead and people who practice is what 360 Degree Feedback is about, after all.

to foster enriched relationships
Richer relationships is a part of what we all aspire to, I think.  By engaging in real relationships with others, we feel better about ourselves.

inspired communication
Inspiration is a wonderful aspiration.  Visionary, enlightening, hopeful, and vibrant communications makes us excited to participate.

practical skills
But the best ideas are always shifted into action.  They may not always be perfect, but by using the skills you have, they can be improved.

responsible stewardship
This is the primary objective of a leader.  To be a responsible guide, not to direct people to the places they should be going to, but to help them from getting lost and disillusioned.

creative excellence
We all have a creative potential.  If we use that creativity, nurture it, and expand it, then we all have the potential to excel.

All of this is quite fascinating to find in a magazine for church leaders.  When did churches become this Social Media savvy, technology friendly, and educationally visionary?

What I am hoping is that it will soon be schools and learning organizations that start to think in these ways.  By putting a huge emphaasis on music, media, and particpation among the leaders, they encourage these leaders to use these same methods with their clergy.  That is precisely what schools and schoolteachers, social organizations and their participants, and governments and the public should be doing to make our societies more friendly, user-friendly, ecologically sustainable, and fun.

I don’t think that Worship Leader is a site for everyone. The Church 2.0 is a pretty compelling place to visit.  After all, where else can you find a Holy Ghost-written blog?…

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