In early 2015 a team began to research solutions to help us streamline our church communication and help people engage at a higher level in the life of the church. After taking time to examine our approach to communication in ministry we quickly realized that every major communication tool we used was one-to-many; one message, from one leader or staff member, to virtually the entire church. We did not have strong communication between the many groups within our church and, therefore, no matter how much one-to-many communication we did…it wasn’t very effective. Because The City is an online tool where people within the church connect and communicate, we believe that it will help us to be more people-focused and group-oriented in our approach to communication. Our hope is to make it easier for new comers to find ways to connect and serve, and easier for leaders to facilitate real-life, word-of-mouth communication between groups of people.
Typically, interaction on social networks starts and stops online. You post a picture of your lunch, your friends like and comment on it, and that’s that. This is a common objection that people have to social media, because it creates a false sense of connection by trying to replace real life interaction with a post, comment, or like. The City, on the other hand, is specifically designed to facilitate community and mission among actual groups of people within the church who meet, work, and pray together in real life. Simply put, we do not depend on The City to create a sense of digital community and mission, rather, we use it as a digital tool to help facilitate the real life community and mission that we are already doing.
You heard it here first, you will never be able to download your annual giving statement from Facebook. While The City is primarily a communication tool, it is not only a communication tool. It also allows the people of Franklin First United Methodist Church to do things like give online, meet other people from Franklin First UMC who live in their neighborhood, find volunteer opportunities based of their skills, and more. Because The City is just for Franklin First United Methodist Church, it allows us to do some powerful things that we simply could not do using other social media sites.