Friday, January 11, 2013

Seminary J-Term Project: Effective Church Websites

Wartburg Seminary in the Snow
An update on what I've been up to recently: Just in case you missed it, I'm now a Master of Divinity student at Wartburg Theological Seminary, located in beautiful and hilly Dubuque, Iowa. The school is basically a castle, as you can see in this picture. I've finished my fall semester, and I'm now a week into January term. For J-Term, I'm doing an independent study on effective church websites.

Since moving to Dubuque, Christin and I have been looking for a church, and as part of that, we looked at a bunch of different church websites. Disappointingly, although perhaps unsurprisingly, there are a lot of really bad church websites out there. Many churches don't even have a website, and some that do don't have what I think should be basic information on them, like what time the services are, how to contact the church, or even what city the church is located in! Of course, many churches do have good, effective websites, and frequently, those are the ones that are growing. So, with my interest in technology and ministry (remember, my Luther College degree is in computer science and religion), I'm working on a J-Term project to study what makes church websites effective.

So far, I've visited every church website in Dubuque (approximately 72!), read several books on the topic, and started a website about my project with a blog and tips for church websites. We'll see where this goes!