TEACHING PRACTICES, MODEL ASSIGNMENTS

Evaluating Churches'
Digital Front Doors

Literacy: convening hybrid and digital community

This in-class activity by Kyle Oliver asks participants to apply what they’ve just learned (through a mini-lecture using something like the slides at right) about online welcome and organizational communication to the website and Facebook page of a church they are familiar with. In a digital age, these media act as the primary front doors of a church.

Most students find it quite useful to encounter a set of concrete criterion for evaluating existing church websites and Facebook pages and for guiding the planning of a new web presence.

The assignment below makes use of Google Forms to gather students feedback about the media they review. This class management approach has the added advantage of introducing students to a tool they can use for form construction in their own ministry.

Excerpt:

Could you easily find the essential information? Was it grouped together for first-timer access?

  • Service times
  • Directions
  • Listings of activities
  • Streaming media (sermon recordings, etc.)

Was there content that introduced the community? How effectively did they communicate its identity?

Was there content that informed the community, keeping members and potential members updated on what’s happening? Were there shareable links to individual event listings, or just a general calendar?

Was there content that enhanced the community’s mission (spiritual refreshment, engagement with important issues, etc.)? In what ways? Did they empower readres/viewers to learn/do/experience more?

Was there content that managed the community’s affairs? If so, how useable were forms and other automation tools? Would you want to take advantage of these sign-ups, etc.?

How image-rich was the website? Did it show the community in a positive and accurate light?

(These links require a Google account. They will prompt you to make a clean copy of the document that you can then edit according to your needs.)

Speaking Faithfully cover

This activity cites guidance from Jim Naughton and Rebecca Wilson’s excellent handbook Speaking Faithfully: Communications as Evangelism in a Noisy World.

Background image: “Info” [cropped] by Samm Escobar via Unsplash (CC0)