In my last post, I stated that “no ministry can do everything, but you have to have a strategy in place that drives your decisions.”Â This strategy will help you make decisions about your Internet presence: which software to use, which social software sites to integrate with, etc. Last week, I presented a workshop to over seventy churches in Indiana. The workshop was entitled “God in the Tubes: Developing an Internet Strategy for Your Congregation”.Â The goal of my workshop was to help local churches, most of them working with very limited resources, develop a strategy for Internet use that would allow them to make the best use of those resources.
Before I had the participants work through their strategy, I presented some foundational principles for strategy that needed to be understood before they actually began working through the process:
- The Internet itself is not the strategy. Too many times, ministries feel that just having a web site is a strategy.Â Â It is not.
- Know who you are. What you do on the Internet is an extension of who you are. If you do not know why your ministry exists (think: what do we do? who do we serve?), then you cannot successfully use the Internet.
- Use research to drive your strategy. How do you know that those you are trying to reach will even see what you do on the Internet? Research can help you make decisions about what type of web site to build or what Internet tools to utilize. See this post about my experience researching my own church.
- Set measurable goals. How will you know if you are being successful? You must set goals and be able to measure them.
- Technology is not the hard part. Anyone who has implemented a new system can tell you: the technology is not the hard part. The hard part is change. See my write-up on the Internet Ministry Framework for more on this.
Once you understand these foundational principles, you can begin to develop a strategy. Over the next few weeks, I will unravel the steps involved in developing an Internet Ministry strategy.