The senior minister I worked with in my last appointment was on the Conference Communications Committee. When our conference discontinued the printing of the Advocate, our newspaper if you will, they searched and searched for another way to communicate ideas and information about the conference to others. They came up with an E-news solution. Every so often I, as WNCC clergy, get an email from the conference center with news about what is happening in and around the conference. There are links to people’s private thoughts, kind of an opinion page if you will, they call it Commentary. There are links to headlines in the UMC and other useful links as well.
It seems to me thought that this could be handled differently. Using the Methoblog as a reference. It seems that the IT person in the conference (I know s/he will be starting soon) should look at this as a means/alternative to these emails. We in the WNCC have a very poor website (in my opinion) that is hard to use and hard to move around in. I wish there was something that could combine these two things, 1) Conference Website; 2) E-news.
More and more church business has to be done online and that is a sign of the times. It is also a sign of the times to have online communities where people can interact with one another. Some might even call it online conferencing. Why are the larger groups within the denomination (jurisdictions, conferences) so slow on the technology side of the world? Why are we slow to incorporate technology that the regular business world does every day? Great we have a group email, welcome to 1997. But why don’t we have conference calls or net meetings? I know there are people who are very active in conference level committees and groups that do not have this technology but should being inclusive hold us back from these new technologies that could make the conference more productive and could we even say, fruitful?
I do not have the brainpower or wisdom to come up with something like this. I know too little about how it all works behind the scenes but I know others do. We have some ministers within our conference that blog, or keep up church websites. It seems we are missing out on so much because of our lack of growth in the technology around us. Why couldn’t the conference make a policy that every pastor in the WNCC has to have a computer with DSL/Cable internet access either at their home or office? Why can we do more to bring us up to the year 2000 with our use of technology instead of running off of 1995’s ways? Are all conferences like this? Or are we in the WNCC the only ones that far behind?