Yesterday, I received an email from leader in the mission field with some feedback about the value of trying to define a standard of excellence for ministries’ online activities. What he described was a reluctance among mission (and probably all non-profit) organizations to embrace standards because doing so would mean committing to doing what it takes to live up to those standards. As he put it:
We have not had much traction in finding groups looking to set more standards that they would then have to adopt/invest effort to measure up to. Â It is a particularly challenging time for mission organizations trying to do as much as they can, as well as they can with shrinking resources.
The current period of declined giving and constrained resources has taken a toll on the strategic outlook of ministry leaders. The current conditions seem to be overwhelming some organizations and as a result they are content just doing what it takes to get by. According to another leader in a missions organization:
Our organization is just trying to get something semi-useful up on the web. Â We do not have the expertise, finance, or skills to do it in a highly professional fashion.
I by no means think that these or other missions leaders are giving up. I know that commitment and sacrifice that these men and women make in their lives. It is amazing the level of dedication that you will find in all levels of missions organizations and it is an honor to get to know and work with them.To me the whole point of the Online Kingdom Excellence project is to address this very problem. One of my desires is to be able to say to these leaders, “Excellence does not mean a highly professional website. It means doing the most with what you have. It means elevating glorifying God and serving others to be our top goals and engaging your audience thorough an intentional web strategy.” I believe that such a standard relieves the frustrations of economically challenging times by pointing to a comprehensive web strategy that not only is suitable for the condition of the organization but will maximize both the Kingdom impact and organizational benefits in the process.
What do you think? Is excellence online somehow related to the amount of resources at your disposal? Or can an organization be excellent even in this period of budget cuts? And if so, how do we convince mission leaders who are just trying to get by that there is more? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
And I invite you to join with us as we explore these issues in greater detail. Visit us at the State of Ministry Online website to learn more about the Online Kingdom Excellence project and to explore ways that you can be involved.