The Internet is the greatest communication tool ever created by man, As Christ-followers who seek to love God, love others, and spread the gospel, we must understand how to use this tool to its fullest capacity. The way a ministry chooses to use the Internet can have a profound effect on how the rest of the world sees that ministry. All organizations should have a well-thought-out Internet strategy based on a philosophical foundation in line with the organization's beliefs and mission.
For some ministries, Internet use has not been a priority. Very little thought has been given to putting up a website, starting a blog, using a social network, or the hundreds of other things that can be done online. Often a volunteer is used to "just get something up and running,"leaving a poorly made website or one that no one knows how to update. Other ministries have recognized the importance of the Internet, but get caught up in the excitement of the technology and fail to ask the right questions before putting valuable resources into launching a website. As a result, they have something that looks good but fails to provide meaningful ministry value.
Implementing a successful online ministry requires much more than designing a great-looking website. It requires that the right people manage the right technology selection and integrate the ministry with the right organizational processes.
• Technology: This includes not just what server platform and Web software you are going to use, but also which features go on the website (podcasts, blogs, videos), integration with existing sites (social networks and photo sharing), and search engine optimization.
• People: Who is ultimately responsible for your website, and what is his or her job description? Who sets direction for the website? Who will build it? What about using volunteers for your Web ministry?
• Process: This involves defining the steps to implement and maintain your Internet ministry. Will there be an approval process for website changes? Will individuals be able to update the website section related to their part of the ministry? Are all processes documented, and is everyone trained?
These are a few key principles to consider as you integrate the Internet into your organization.How your ministry uses the Internet should be part of your overall strategic planning process. As you are planning any endeavor, of course, you should be looking to the Lord in prayer for wisdom and guidance. Just as with any resource the Lord gives us, the Internet is something to be used with careful planning and forethought.