Monday, June 11, 2007

Using Web 2.0 as an Evangelization Tool

This article by Diana Macalintal originally appeared in Today's Parish Minister, Vol. 39, No. 4, April/May 2007.

2.0 technology can be used with those who are not part of the parish: inquirers, persons estranged from the church, the local neighborhood, other faith communities. The way the parish leadership treats “outsiders” and their efforts at building relationships teaches a powerful lesson to those on the “inside.” God’s essence is to be constantly communicating with all persons—to be self-revealing and in relationship with humanity.

Start with the parish Web site. If an “outsider” went to your home page, would they immediately feel welcomed and invited to become an “insider” of your parish? They will if:
  • They can find your church’s complete address and phone number on every page.
  • They understand you because you avoid church lingo that only “insiders” understand, such as “RCIA” and other acronyms, and you list room names for meetings and provide a map of your church grounds showing where these rooms are located.
  • They find clear links on your home page if they want to become Catholic, learn more about the Catholic Church, or become more involved in your parish, and they easily find the name, email address, and telephone number of a person to contact to take the next step.
  • They can quickly see your upcoming holy day schedules, especially for Christmas, Holy Week, and Ash Wednesday when they are searching for a church to attend.
  • They see pictures of parishioners who look like them (important for young adults), they can read or listen to podcasts of recent homilies, and they find consistent language on every page inviting them to participate.