More Church Web 2.0: MyChurch.org

September 19, 2006 by

The church web 2.0 trend continues with another new site and some media attention. This time around it’s MyChurch.org, founded by recent guest blogger Joe Suh. And the media attention is from Red Herring in an article covering web 2.0 and the church, including MyChurch.org, eBible and a quote from yours truly.

MyChurch.org is basically MySpace with an emphasis on churches (in case you couldn’t figure that out for yourself). Much like Facebook builds community around colleges, MyChurch.org builds community around churches. It’s a cool idea, though you have to wonder if people will go for another social networking site. MyChurch.org doesn’t have the same customization as MySpace, which could be a bonus–or boring, depending on your take.

The real question tech-savvy pastors will have to answer is how many of these web 2.0 sites their church can really take advantage of. You can build an online community in so many places. Time will tell.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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12 Responses to “More Church Web 2.0: MyChurch.org”

  • Dave Crow
    September 19, 2006

    This will be interesting to watch. Our church website is built on Joomla and we’re currently trying out an extension that allows users to create their own profiles and add friends in a MySpace-like way. It’s only been up for a few months, so it’s a litte early to tell if it’s an effective use our website. We have had almost 300 people create accounts, but only a pretty small percentage so far are really filling out profiles and taking advantage of it. I’m sure there’s some usability issues we need to work on as well though. I’ll be interested to see how church’s take advantage of user driven website technology.


  • Joe Suh
    September 19, 2006

    Kevin,
    Thanks for the mention. Just one minor correction – users can indeed customize profiles on MyChurch.org like they do on Myspace.
    Good point about the multiple identities across social networks. We did a survey and found that 70% of Facebook and Xanga users also have a myspace profile. So seems like Gen-Y, at least, is comfortable distributing their profiles across multiple platforms.
    I think the key to MyChurch is to be cross-compatible with other platforms like Myspace – simply being a “Christian alternative” is insufficient.


  • Drew Goodmanson
    September 19, 2006

    I just gave it a try. It takes a lot of what other sites are doing but builds it around a church community.
    On their about page they write, “MyChurch.org provides a church with all the online tools it needs to engage and network their congregation, and outreach to the un-churched in an unprecedented way.”
    To me this will be the biggest challenge. Will non-Christians join ‘MyChurch’ so christians can outreach to them in unprecendented ways?”


  • Joe Suh
    September 19, 2006

    Drew,
    With the widgets we’re building so that people can show off their church in their myspace profiles and myspace events, we hope so :)
    We hope to appeal to the unchurched, not necessarily the non-Christian. As Guy Kawasaki says, recruit the agnostics and not the atheists.


  • Tim Bednar
    September 20, 2006

    The real trick is not in building the tool but in cultivating community; I think Kevin has a great point — how many social networking domains will the normal person support. As these things proliferate in and outside the “church” sector, it will be interesting to watch.
    Me personally — instead of going general purpose anything — I think you need to niche(ify) all social media applications. Or just integrate the technology into everything — all my high level sites are going to attempt to play nice with other web services by default.
    The more specific and focused, the more passionate the “users”, the more likely the success.
    I am not sure its clear that the church is clamouring for social networking products.
    I believe that “social” networking sites as a genre is bascially a blimp — all the web will be social and it won’t be religated to just MySpace or LinkedIN.
    The issue facing these sites has already been faced by eBay — how do users take their profiles and “content” with them from one social platform to another. We are seeing that with Digg v. Netscape.
    Crowdsourcing is still emerging as a business model — we’ll see how that plays out.
    I’m rambling…


  • Steve Cornell
    October 2, 2006

    A few thoughts on call to ministry
    I’ve been doing some thinking about call to ministry (I know it’s Monday and I am not thinking about quitting!—not today at least!). I have always remembered the old preacher who said, “Some pastors were called to ministry and some just went!” Now, I’ll admit that there were times when I walked through dark tunnels and questioned whether being “in the ministry” was my idea or God’s plan for me. In these times, I poured my heart out to God and revisited some basics about “call”.
    Remembering one’s sense of call to the ministry is beneficial. Perhaps God used the influence of another leader or a specific challenge from the Word to initiate your desire for leadership. The important thing to remember is that all subjective experience must yield to the objective criteria of Scripture. The following considerations should be weighed:
    (1) Desire to serve as an overseer (I Timothy 3:1)
    (2) Qualification for eldership (I Timothy 3:1-6;Titus 1:5ff)
    (3) Life experience in leadership (I Timothy 3:4-5)
    (4) Demonstration of a shepherd’s heart (I Peter 5:1-4)
    (5) Spiritual giftedness (I Timothy 4:14;Romans 12:3-8)
    (6) Formal testing and recognition by spiritual leaders (Titus 1:5,9;Acts 14:23)
    In my interactions with Church leaders, it seems to be increasingly common for pastors to doubt their call to ministry. Another concern consistently associated with these doubts is a feeling of burn out. The pressures of pastoral ministry are often more than an individual feels capable of handling. This reality is further complicated by a prevailing confusion about a pastor’s role. Is a pastor a shepherd tending to the needs of a flock or an entrepreneur leading a business that markets a product? Pastors are viewed as spiritual teachers and overseers, biblical scholars, administrators, CEOs, financial advisors, professional counselors and personal friends. Why should we be surprised by pastoral burnout? Many (if not, most) pastors long for a more defined understanding of their role. There is a great need for a clear understanding of God’s design for pastoral leadership.
    Along these lines, all Church leaders would benefit from a revisiting of the Jethro principle: “This is too much work for you; you cannot do it by yourself” (Exodus 18:18). It may be that we know many of the truths about God’s design but we do not know how to practice them. Sometimes the fact is that we are unwilling to practice them because it would require giving up some control or challenging the expectations of people. The desires to have things “go our way” or to be liked by those we lead can become obstacles to fulfilling a biblically defined leadership. More later!
    ________________________________________
    Steven W. Cornell
    http://www.MillersvilleBibleChurch.org
    s.cornell@millersvillebiblechurch.org


  • Margaret
    May 17, 2007

    Ref Mychurch.org – our church applied to be on the web site. I am from a Metropolitan Community church in Maryland. UFMCC is a Christian based church – while the majority of our members are part of the LGBT community, we have more and more hetrosexual members join – because all we require is you believe in Jesus Christ.
    We were told we were not welcome because they couldn’t include a church that ‘catered’ to gay people. My pastor followed up with a phone call and was told it was a business decision, and not based on spirituality or theology. Sounds like the money changers in the temple to me! Then he had the audacity to say that once the site got more clientele and we weren’t as noticeable, we could re-apply. I guess Christian principles come second to the almighty dollar.


  • Chris Conant
    November 21, 2007

    I think the use of social networking technology will involve a shaking out. But not by too many players. I think there is room for a number of other sites and people begin to identify with the communities they want to be a part of.
    We’ve been using a social networking site built by Epiphany Systems, and our social techs are really enjoying it. Some have formed fellowship groups on line, others don’t invest the time into managing their profile, but more and more, from events and podcasts too, the church keeps directing people on line for communications.
    It’s reminds me of the dot come days when lots of ideas came forth and were built, but didn’t stick after a while. However, those that persisted and kept their finger on the pulse of the user’s preferences, emerged…and they have the staying power today.
    In the church arena, there has always been a bit of a lag behind culture, and for good reason. The church stands to become the largest social network ever, but it will enter with caution and pick up momentum later. The ones who participate will be the social tech generation, who are comfortable with allowing technology to manage their relationships.
    But for the church, on line is not the end, rather, it is an encounter with the living God, and my prayer is that first America experiences a revival. If that means a move of God across the internet, then let Him come. I want to be in on it!


  • Joe Suh
    April 23, 2008

    Margaret,
    Not sure who you talked to and where you got that information, but let me clarify.
    We get hundreds of churches asking to be included on MyChurch.org every day. We have several volunteer pastors who decide to accept or reject new churches. They base their decision on whether a church is Biblically-based, and we use the Nicene Creed as one litmus test. It’s a tough call in certain cases, and made on a case-by-case basis by our hard-working volunteers. If you feel your church wasn’t fairly reviewed, please get in touch – joe at mychurch.org


  • melissa
    May 27, 2008

    You can definetly use mychurch.org to build community, but why not hook into a social network such as facebook where users are already acclimated to the platform. There are many different applications that churches can use to create a stronger community using web 2.0.
    ~Melissa
    Check us out …
    http://www.koinoniasolutions.com


  • Rachel Shultz
    July 8, 2008

    MyChurch.org does directly integrate with Facebook & can be added with the following ap. More feature enhancements are in the works as well as future integrations with MySpace & others.
    http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=2378374195
    Our goal is not to be a walled garden, but to be a tool to connect all Christians & empower churches.


  • Susan David
    July 12, 2009

    Hi,
    I would like to share with you a good ebook that’s free to help pastors and their wives with discouragement and burnout. You can find it at: http://www.stoppastorburnout.com . It’s quite helpful.
    If you have pastor friends or even their wives, we are currently inviting pastors and pastor wives to join charter membership club for free for 2 months,you might want to share this with them. You may visit http://www.susandavidlifecoach.com/index.php/sponsors for more information.
    We would also like to invite you to view our video on this topic at
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miF-R0bCz0A.
    Feel free to share this with your friends or people you care for.
    Thanks,
    Susan David



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