Ok, I am still here and still focusing on church websites. I wanted to start off this new year by laying down my predictions for the online church in 2011. I think 2010 was a great year for the online church, lots of innovation, churches moving towards real design, and integration of social media. This year will be more of the same, but I think there will be a few standout items. Check them out after the break.
Flickr Photo Credit: just.Luc
Live online services will fail miserably.
Most of the big churches in 2010 launched live online services. Most notably Lifechurch.tv has made a major push in this technology. I think 2011 is going to be the year the rest of the mid-size churches follow suit and sign up for live sermon services. Not only this technology fail miserably, but churches are going to waste a lot of money and time investing in these types of services in 2011. Call me pessimistic, I prefer realist, but I just cannot recommend any church investing heavily in live online video. This technology is a flashy new toy for the church and I fear that pastors will sign up with little to no thought.
Online community for churches will become popular, will fail almost as much as live online services.
I keep going back and forth on this, but after looking at a few options like The City, online communities for your church just seem like another waste of money and resources. The problem I have is not with the concept of the service, but more with how a church has to use it. I always promote churches to go where their members are at and right now, that place is Facebook. I would recommend that churches take a look at tools to grow your Facebook community and presence rather than a social network that will attempt to pull users out of places they are already visiting.
League Gothic will continue to be the new black.
This has been a running joke in the design community for awhile now, but churches will see it much more in 2011. League Gothic, a great font, and one I use on a regular basis, will continue to be used to death over the next year. Will will see it in everything from websites, letter head, and Powerpoint slides. League Gothic will be like the Tom’s Shoes of 2010.
Sermon video will grow and move to the TV.
I really think churches are going to get with the video movement this year. While I do think that live internet services will fail, sermon video will be well accepted as more users take Internet content to their TVs. With the push of Google TV, Boxee, and Apple TV I see a real benefit to churches adding their content to services that will allow users to download and use this content on their TVs.
Someone will develop a CMS for churches that blows our minds.
Wordpress, Drupal, Expression Engine, and LightCMS are only a few of the content management systems I use for websites. There are hundreds of choices, all varying in prices and function. I think 2011 will be the year that someone realizes the churches are still in need of an easy to use system, has features built for the church, that is great for designers, and is affordable. This might be wishful thinking on my part, but I really want this to happen in 2011.
I will get my act together and make the Church Website Ideas awesome.
My life has changed so much in the last year that I have been too busy for some projects, and unfortunately CWI has had to take a back seat to my main projects. No more! 2011 will be the year this blog really makes an impact on churches.