A long time ago (almost 18 months ago), I was looking into what Web 2.0 is and I found this video which gave me some concerns. I started blogging about it but never finished writing the post because I just couldn’t put into words how I felt.
However, Web 2.0 does have some things to teach us about the Church and… well, let me explain (with a huge over simplification):
Web 2.0 is the next generation of web usage. It’s not an entirely new Internet rather it is a new way of using the Internet to communicate.
Look at any website and you are seeing two things (hopefully):
There is a distinct difference between the two.
- Design is aesthetics, visual appearance, it’s all about looks.
- Content is information you are trying to communicate.
Until now, most of the web has been taken up by sites which define both the design and the content. People spend a lot of time and effort on making the site look good, in fact the design can be almost as important as the content.
With Web 2.0 however, content and design are largely separated and although you will still find the content on designed sites, you will also now be able to access it completely free of any design.
Take this blog for example. You may be reading it at http://blog.hafchurch.org/peter whereby you are seeing both my design and my content. However, I know that quite a few people read this through a feed reader and rarely ever view my site. These people are reading the same content as you but are viewing it on a screen which has a design of their choosing. Different people use different feed readers, which each display the text in a different way. Some people may even be seeing this content displayed on another website which has been designed by someone else.
Design and content are separated. You are free to read the content without the restraints of my design. I am quite happy with this. It’s not the look that is important, it’s what I say, the content which is important.
As I have been thinking about this, I have been thinking about different church fellowships, different expressions of the church.
You can walk in to our home church and get the same message about the need for salvation as you would get if you walked into the Hanford YMCA where The Oasis meet or into the old electricity office in Rosamond now called The Praise Inn or into one of thousands of other church fellowships around the world.
You see, the design of the expression of the Church is different but the basic content is the same.
I think God is more of a Web 2.0 kind of guy. God is very concerned about the content, He has given us the bible which tells us what to teach… but how we teach it, well, that’s more flexible.
God is inspiring people to ‘do church’ differently. That means that one way is right for some people while other ways are right for other people.
Of course, there are always things we need to modify, things we need to tweak, no church fellowship is perfect but I think it always comes down to this… content is more important that design.
What are you more concerned with? The content of your church fellowship or the design?