Sunday, January 8, 2012

eMinistry & Open Source Tools

An effective eMinistry is comprised of people who are committed to leveraging the wide range of available information technologies (IT) and tools for meeting practical, daily needs of one's local church. Starting an eMinistry can be a challenge. Obstacles such as lack of understanding, vision, budget, time and technical skills are just some of the challenges that churches encounter will encounter when starting an eMinistry. However, the benefits to the church, its mission, ministries, and congregation can be tremendous.

As Dr. Owens states in his paper on eMinistry Basics, "Your church web site is no more about electronics and technology than your sanctuary is about microphone systems and pews. The microphone and pews are tools that enable worship to take place. The web site is a tool that enables a broad range of traditional ministries to occur."

And its not just the web anymore. Think about email, wikis, social media, televideo, smartphones, and many of the other tools and technologies widely used today. Think of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, and all the other channels of communication that are revolutionizing how we live our lives in this 21st century 'Information Age'.  

Just as the printing press turned the world upside down 500 years ago, information technology (IT) is having a similar impact, both on the world and the church. Don't fight the tide, instead embrace the use of these new tools and use them to more effectively serve God and carry out the mission we have been assigned.

You may be surprised at how quickly people will offer to be on an eMinistry team once you start looking for volunteers. There are a lot of people who will never volunteer for the nursery but who will be the first to join an eMinistry team.  Church leaders new to the idea of eMinistry and the use of information technologies (IT) need to take the time to read eMinistry Basics and some of the many other helpful studies posted on the non-profit COSI 'Open' Religious Technology & Tools web site.  

If funding an eMinistry is an issue, use the many high quality, free and open source software (FOSS) tools now available, e.g. Online Bibles, Sermons, Training Materials, etc. .  Again, visit the COSI web site to find out more about these resources. 

Have you started an eMinistry in your church? Tell us about it. Share your 'Lessons Learned' and 'Best Practices' with us.

1 comment:

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