This week we look at A Church Near You the amazing national project which provides a search optimised web presence to every parish church in England. Today, How parishes can adopt or cooperate optimally with A Church Near You and the negative implications of ignoring this national platform.
This series is about Communications without budget or paid staff time. We call people who do this ’Communication Enablers’ because, well that’s what they do. Catch up with the start of the series here
View the video for answers…
- What is A Church Near You?
- How can I adopt or cooperate with this National Project as a parish communications enabler?
- What are the implications of ignoring the project?
So welcome to the second of my videos about being a parish communications enabler. In this video we talk about what is A Church Near You I ’m sorry it’s been delayed I had a brush with urgent care and a serious infection
So what I want to spend most of my time on in this video is how can I or you integrate A Church Near You into our parish communications strategy? So I have three suggestions. The first is that we can ignore it. The second is we can cooperate and the third is that we can adopt it whole heartedly. So starting with the last of those. Adoption.
If you are a parish with no web presence or with a web presence that you can no longer maintain or look after A Church Near You is the answer you have been looking for. It will do everything you need from hosting your events to news stories, to notice sheets, and through to all the pages you might need about your life as a parish church. And it’s free!
Now for some of us adopting the national platform might mean changing the way we work, perhaps quite dramatically as churches, because A Church Near You is relentlessly parish centric and although its got slightly better at handling benefice sand showing all the churches from one benefice on a benefice landing page and I have no doubt that facility will be growing out as the years go on; just at the moment its still very parish church centric
So there are benefices out there, my own included, where A Church Near You can’t be the only option that we use. However if you can by minor alterations to the way you work make A Church Near You work for your parishes then I urge you to think about this question: If we did it, if we no longer had to worry about managing a web host, managing a web platform, looking after a CMS, maintaining it, keeping it secure, and all the rest of it what other good things could God do with the time that we have saved?
I think that’s a profound test of whether our own independent web service is actually still needed.
So if you are running an independent presence alongside A Church Near You at the moment I want to talk about how that web presence can cooperate positively with A Church Near You So the way that we see it is that we can use A Church Near You, the national platform, as a specialised referral service so we see it, sort of as a social network. It’s not but what I mean by that is we use it to ‘drive’ people deep into the right part of our independent website —
So finally, the final option is just to ignore the A Church Near You Project. Keep running your own independent service, your own independent website, doing everything ‘your way’ and don’t put any updates into A Church Near You, don’t ever touch your profile in many cases. I can’t recommend it. It doesn’t seem like a great strategy whether you’ve got a congregation of 14 or 1400. Why do I think even the largest churches should be investing some time and effort into making A Church Near You work. First of all the more search rich information that’s arranged in A Church Near You the better the search rankings for the Church of England’s directory site across all search engines. So by supporting the national platform, by putting some time and efforti into looking after your profile you are boosting the mission visibility of the church in the United Kingdom greatly. So its a free and easy way of contributing to the mission of the church.
I think the inverse is also true. If you don’t put sometime and effort into this it degrades the usefulness of the platform for everyone and so you are disadvantaging your smaller neighbours if you don’t look after your profile. I feel quite strongly about that. I also think bluntly that it’s quite arrogant. This is a service that is offered freely by the central church and its an expression of communality that we all support it and if you don’t it makes you look like you’re special, you don’t need it, and that just feels really wrong within the church of God.
I just really encourage everyone as a minimum update your profile, make it look like you’ve actually curated it in the last six months. You wouldn’t leave a social network that you ‘owned’ untouched for six months, so why are you doing that to A Church Near You, It think those are the three options; Adopt, cooperate or ignore, and my preference obviously is to adopt or cooperate.
So next week I think we’ll be talking about deep time and and the things that we forget to remember as churches.
I’m Ian Wyllie, Its been fun, thank you