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Technical Tidal Wave
Church websites with digital content can increasingly be communications tools that reach out to the un-churched.


Beeping, ringing, buzzing, humming—our society is overloaded with communication technology. In 2003, almost eight million Canadian households (64 percent) had at least one member who regularly used the Internet, from home, work, school, library, or another location. In the 35-54 age group, this figure jumped to almost 79 percent.*1) "Internet use from home increased in most provinces in 2003. The highest rates of use were in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta where roughly six out of every ten households were connected to the Internet at home."*2)

Church websites can be communication tools that reach out to the un-churched. At Westside King's Church in Calgary, Alberta, New to Westside is a portion of the website written with the first-time visitor in mind: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) such as what to expect from a service, what to wear, what to do with the kids once you get there; a map with directions; a discussion of core values and beliefs; and an introduction to the Weekend Communication Team—that's the pastoral team for the uninitiated. The language is friendly and the tone is open.

West Edge Community Church in Mississauga, Ontario, targets spiritual seekers with the first page of its website. The entire website uses language and metaphors that make sense to the un-churched. For example, "Small groups are like a spiritual book club. Groups of six to 12 people gather in someone's home to read and discuss various topics and wrestle with what it all means in their own life." The House is an illustrated journey that compares the experience of church life to living in a home.

The Embassy in Waterloo, ON, used a blog on its website during its January 2006 series to provide a venue for further discussion of the sermons. A Seeker's Sunday is a blog that digs deeper into Sunday morning sermons from West Edge.

Christian Life Assembly in Langley, BC, provides a weekly e-bulletin to a subscriber base of 2,000 people, helping them to stay up-to-date on church news. It also publishes its monthly activity calendar in pdf format for easy downloading from the church's website.

The future of communication technology is convergence: " … every computing device will be a communicating device and every communicating device will be a computer."*3) Even now, cell phones can connect to the Internet with ease. "With millions of hours of digital material poised to become available online, Canadians will increasingly turn to PCs to download, store, view, buy, manage and share their favourite music, movies, photos and more."*4) People will be looking for digital content; if our churches are ready, they can be digital providers. Some are doing this now.

Christian Life Assembly in Langley, BC offers a link to "Experience Last Sunday" from their website. Visitors to the website can access current or archived celebration services. Worship and sermons are available in streaming video for computers or for downloading in MP3 format for iPods.

At Westside King's Church in Calgary, AB, sermons are available in the sermon archives page. Audio files and PowerPoint slides from the Weekend Communication Team's Sunday sermons can be accessed through these links.

Endnotes

1) StatsCan accessed February 20, 2006.
2) StatsCan accessed February 20, 2006.
3) Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel Corporation, Technology Trends accessed February 20, 2006.
4) Intel of Canada Reveals Annual Top-Five List of Technology Trends to Watch for in 2006 accessed February 20, 2006.

Related articles

Innovative Communicators
Communicating Timeless Truths Using Creative Arts

Linda Gibson is the publications director for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

Originally published in Testimony, April 2006.

 

 
 
 
 

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