The Common Good
April 2006

Slow Connection?

by James Ferguson | April 2006

A January report on Internet use among Protestant churches, conducted by Ellison Research, found that most churches are riding in buggies on the information superhighway.

A January report on Internet use among Protestant churches, conducted by Ellison Research, found that most churches are riding in buggies on the information superhighway. Twenty-seven percent of Protestant church offices have no Internet connectivity at all. “Historically, evangelicals were early adopters of technology,” Diana Butler Bass, author of The Practicing Congregation, told Sojourners, “whether it was extemporaneous preaching, newspapers, radio, TV, or the Internet. However, vital mainline Protestant churches are picking up on the technological possibilities of being connected, and more are embracing the Internet as a way of doing spiritual formation and creating Christian community.” But it’s a slow process.

Among Protestant churches:

• 47 percent maintain a church Web site.
• 58 percent provide Internet access for church staff.
• 91 percent of Protestant ministers have access to the Internet, many of them outside their church.
• 92 percent of Presbyterian churches use the Internet, the highest of any Protestant denomination.
• 23 percent use e-mail prayer chains, 18 percent have an e-mail church newsletter, and 4 percent have an online member directory.
• 2 percent of church Web sites contain a mechanism for online giving.

Source: “Churches aren’t making full use of the power of the Internet,” Ellison Research, January 2006.

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