Brian Bailey, the Internet Manager for Fellowship Church in Dallas, was interviewed by Shel Israel for the forthcoming business blogging book by Israel and Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble (chapter 5 includes a section on Fellowship). Bailey talked about Fellowship’s blogging efforts, which include the recent launch of their church blog (see Bailey’s FAQ), executive Terry Storch’s blog (you may remember we wrote a piece for Terry’s blog) and 20 staff members who blog.
There’s plenty of gold in the above links, but I did find a few choice bits.
How has [blogging] changed the church?
The most dramatic effect has been within the staff. The blogs have had a significant impact on our own communication and has helped spread the vision of the church throughout the organization. As you read a blog, if it is honest and open, you can’t help but feel a greater connection to the writer and her church or company.
Blogs have also encouraged us to be more open, allowing readers to see how decisions are made and why. We’ve shared behind-the-scenes photos and anecdotes from events, and with that, the energy and excitement the staff has for what we do.
Do you have any advice for other organizations thinking about blogging?
From an organizational standpoint, I see weblogs as completely natural. A weblog is the written transcript of the thoughts, conversations, ideas, mistakes, and victories that take place every day in every organization. What isn’t natural is sharing that with the rest of the world.
Blogging is all about taking chances and getting out of your comfort zone. An organization must be willing tolerate some mistakes and criticism, knowing that the risk is worth the innumerable benefits of open communication. Blogs are a great instrument for connecting your organization with your users, customers, or members. Blogs also encourage honest conversation within an organization, pushing both change and growth.
How do you begin? My advice is to find the naturally curious people and let them start. I don’t think you can launch blogs as a new corporate initiative in the same way you introduce a new health plan. You need to locate the people in your organization that enjoy writing and have a passion for your product or service and want to be evangelists.
When I was in college, I heard the story of an architect who had a unique approach to paving the sidewalks on a new campus. Rather than plan where the paths should be and pour the concrete, he decided to open the campus without sidewalks and see where the people naturally traveled. After a couple of weeks, it was obvious where the sidewalks should be. I think it’s the same with blogging. Let it start as an experiment and see where it naturally goes. Then lay down the foundation for others to follow.