From Website to Portal

Last night, I took some time to add a few items to my business card and it prompted me to ask myself a question that was asked to me earlier in the week: what is the point of a church website?

I was asked the question as the person was looking to inquire about what services MMM offers and we engaged into a nice conversation about those services and the goals for any digital engagement.

So, I did some tweaking to my business card, which is a combination of mobile web server, URL redirections, QR codes, and a funky phone skin, and it hit me – and later Twitter:

What if a church’s website was a small google map image w/times/contact info and a mashup of mobile/twitter/fb/etc. statuses of members; could such a mashup better demonstrate Christ stitched into your community’s life than a normal website?

Now, I admit that this would be a very hard initial technical endeavor, and it would take a lot of teaching and letting go in terms of letting the community drive what people who visit the “site” would see.

But, it would put into the hands of the community the literal structure and ownership of be website. And for those in communities where there is a signifiant slice of the population that is not digitally savvy, the goal would have to be mutual education so that there’s not a slant to the community based on those voices which might hit on the update a bit more often than most.

I’m really digging the idea, given what I am doing on my personal site. But, what mint I be missing in making this suggestion? Or, is it time to let go of the conventional idea of a website, and let the church site be a portal into the lives of it’s community members, just as we prescribe services, engagements, and evangelism to do in an offline context?