I was meeting yesterday with a couple of volunteer youth leaders. One of the things we were meeting to discuss was some of the youth group programme for the next term, but, as many meetings seem to do, we ended up discussing many different topic (at the end of the meeting we commented how we had discussed subjects ranging from jam to death - not v cheery I know, and not meant to sound insensitive).
One of the things we spend quite a bit of time talking about was the use of the internet in church/youth work stuff. Our church doesn't have a website at the moment. I know it really ought to, and conversations are happening about how this issue can be resolved, but at the moment it doesnt. Having spent some time looking at other churches websites I have become aware of the different uses of church websites. The internet provides churches with another way to present themselves to the world at large. Most churches use their website to portray factual, unchanging information about the church, its activites, the staff, the mission statement etc. This is great, and when it is done well, can be very effective.
Other church websites, and in my (limited) experience it seems to be the youth work/ministry websites, have discussion threads and chat facilities. We got quite excited by the possibilities of this within the youth work context, as well as the wider church context. I'm guessing a number of people have tried out different things, so if anybody has any comments/reflections/suggestions on this area I'd love to hear...It would be great if people have examples of good or at least innovative uses of the internet in terms of church/youth work websites.