Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

I've seen the future of church websites and it's...

Jacob's Well

Located in Kansas City, Jacob's Well is a small church that was started seven years ago. The Jacob's Well website is the best example I have seen of what a Web 2.0 church site would look like [via Creative Church].

The site is incredibly clean, uses very soft, friendly colors, and features high-quality, original photographs throughout. In fact, you can count the number of actual graphics on one hand.

The community piece is where things get really interesting. When you create an account and join the online community, you can add your bio, blog feed, and your Flickr photo stream to your account. The site then creates simple community pages that group all of this member content together.

So, you can go to a single page and see a Flickr stream of photos from everyone in the church. Then you can check out the latest blog posts, whether from people on staff or people who attend. There's even a bio page where you can get to know the people in the community.

Wow! I've never seen a church attempt something like this. What's exciting is that it's equally valuable to the curious as well as the committed. If you're just exploring the church, what better way to get a feel for the community than to step into the middle of it? And if you're already a committed member, you can easily get a window into the life of those around you.

If all of this wasn't enough, the site's even built using the 37signals web framework Ruby on Rails.

Does it scale? Would something like this work in a larger community or is it most effective in small church? I don't know, but I know they've created something very special here - the first online community that is truly an extension of the best community there is, the local church.