One of the constant challenges in our congregations is to assimilate and learn to use well the profusion of electronic tools—websites, databases, email, chat groups, podcasts, and meetings by conference call. And perhaps on to scanning paper files, content management systems, social networking, video clips, and a new web site.
We in the Central Midwest District would like to learn from your experience and to discover what shared challenges we might have to work together. As many know we in the district have taken the important step of creating a virtual district office. We have now moved on to set the goal of virtual accessibility of some part of each of our important public events by the time of District Assembly this spring.
We want to leverage this work (if I am still allowed to use that word!). Towards this end, we want to let you know about four opportunities:
• Online survey. Many of you have told us that you would like to know about the experience of other congregations in this area. We set up an online survey and distributed the results to all who completed it.
• Telephone conversation. As we tour the district we find that most people who are doing the electronic work of our congregations do so with little connection with those doing similar work in other congregations. Some have expressed interest in meeting their counterparts in other congregations. Any who do and who would be willing to share with us their experience please join us for a conference call. The call was the evening of December 1, 2008.
• Website assistance. Many of you have expressed the opinion—sometimes with considerable irritation—that with seventy-odd congregations in the district all needing roughly the same things in a website, it should not be necessary for each congregation to reinvent this wheel. And, when you do invent something, there should be a better way of sharing this innovation with other congregations. We are looking for a group of small and emerging congregations who would like assistance in creating basic website that is both member-friendly and newcomer-friendly. We are especially looking for congregations who feel they need websites but do not have access to specific website design and maintenance skills. If we can recruit such a group we are willing to help them create basic websites if they, in exchange, will share with us their experience. Our aim will to create “small congregation tested” elements to share with other congregations.
• Media team. The district is looking for volunteers who are willing to assist us in recording events in exchange for training in using our very simple, basic audio and video-recording equipment. Those without prior recording experience are welcome.
For more information, please contact one of the members of the CMWD technology team.