The internet is a continually changing environment. There are always new websites and technologies launching on an almost daily basis; the pace of change is that quick! And as adoption of the internet as a part of ‘normal’ life continues unabated, it’s a good idea to look at the need to stay current.
Take, for example, websites. While recently planning a night out with my wife, I checked out the website of a restaurant near the cinema we were going to. According to the website, everything was looking good – the food, the location, the prices: all were on target. Even the design of the website impressed.
However, upon calling to make a reservation, I discovered that the restaurant had gone out of business. I was more than a little surprised! Such a professional looking site, still up and running like nothing had happened.
While, thankfully, the Church doesn’t close parishes on a regular basis, the number of Church organisations that have websites that have not been updated for months or even years is astonishing. This is almost as bad as not having a website presence at all! Almost.
For parishes in New Zealand, there really isn’t a technical reason why they cannot have an easily updatable website. Free content management systems – like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal – provide the ability to establish websites that can be updated by non-technical folk without too much trouble at all. In fact, in Auckland, the Spoke Project (www.spoke.net.nz) was established a number of years ago specifically with the mission of bringing this technology to our parishes and Church organisations.
It’s strange, therefore, that even with the ease of use and low cost of these options, some websites are static snapshots of the history of a parish, rather than dynamic pointers to the present and future.