What Church Web Version are we on? Seriously?
Yesterday was a day of great conversation as I had the opportunity to twitter-chat with @gregatkinson about Church 2.0 / Church 3.0 / Church .5 which began out of discourse from my post on Church 3.0 as Open Source.
I suppose most all of this entry will be to clarify my position: I’m coming from a developer, product development, and software perspective, and with a motivation to make communication of “nebulous” truths as easy as possible.
Please know that I like and agree with your blog post – it’s just that what you’re talking about IS Church 2.0.
As I’ve traveled the country speaking to Church leaders the last 8 years, I’ve found that most of the Church is at 0.5 – it’s a HUGE stretch to get them to 2.0.
But in what we (myself, Tony Steward and Cynthia Ware) are calling “Church 2.0″ is the value and philosophy of open source.
The one thing of note is that the vernacular of Web 1.0 and the more important Web 2.0 is being assumed, translated (naturally), and adopted into what people are calling “Church 2.0”. But, Web 2.0 isn’t (classically) about Open Source, especially from a product and web app perspective.
One doesn’t have to do any research to see this: Just take a look at some of the biggest web applications and social software created in the last few years (minus 2008). These are not open source, and many are SaaS type-sites leveraging social phenomena, platforms, and psychology.
And if the business model is the product, that’s NOT pure open source (services associated is a different thing entirely… and is a biz model for OS).
It’s only been recently where Open Social has become a mainstream idea, and where open source is being a prized product offering. Don’t have an API? Don’t “talk” to me (because you obviously can’t) with your web app. I want to be able to mashup this app with this app to have this functionality to microwave my toast.
So, if this is the understood lexicon that we use to describe the 2.0-movement, when applied to the Church, shouldn’t we keep the same dictionary? Do we do a disservice by attempting to create a new language? Shouldn’t it inherit the understood meaning (especially if we’re trying to lower the bar of adoption, understanding, and education about digital mediums and social tools)?
Now, unlike Greg, I haven’t traveled the country, I haven’t done extensive research in the area of social media and the church, and (obviously) I haven’t spoken at conferences. But what I do have are years of product development in web applications, software development, and social platforms in Fortune 50 companies. I also highly value making the “educational bar lower” and love translating technology to the masses in an easily digestable form.
If the Church “doesn’t get it” and “isn’t there yet”, why make it even harder?
And I don’t believe that Greg and team are looking to do that either.
Greg, Tony, and Cynthia (am I missing someone) are writing a “Church 2.0” book due out sometime in 2009 (which should be awesome). I’d probably recommend getting some classical technologist’s and software developer’s perspective as well.
(*EDIT* talking with Greg over the phone and he told me that he’s got some industry experts in the mix – SWEET!)
So is this just all semantics? Perhaps. But I think it’s a conversation worth having.
As the Church begins to drink deep the cool-aid of online technology as a medium for communicating the Gospel, we have to make sure that the so-called cool-aid isn’t the stuff laced with something not-so-good-and-healthy. That means making it as easy as possible for laity and laymen to understand online media constructs and concepts.
So, glad for the conversation with Greg and I’m rooting for him and the new book 100%! I think it’ll be a great starter for much more to come and even better conversation as we move forward. There’s a lot happening out there, and we need to be a part of it!
Oh, and finally, probably the best thing I’ve heard all day is what Greg read this morning in his time in the YouVersion Word: “Don’t assume that you know it all.”
Whatever I think I know, I probably don’t.