Communication + Confidentiality: Web-based Tools

It’s been a  busy week here at Diving for Pearls…and such great fun meeting so many new friends who have stopped by! I’m so glad you were here.There’s still time to enter this week’s contest. Entries are due by 6 pm EST. I’ll announce our winner this evening…along with Five Facts for Friday.

As we wrap up this series, I want to share a few web-based tools that other ministry leaders use with their teams. Please have a look at these and see what might be of use to you and your team.

  • Ning     Mike Woods, Director of Special Friends Ministry at First Baptist Orlando uses Ning with his ministry volunteers. He says, “It’s a social networking site that for our ministry page is an invite only. We can talk, share information, post training videos and keep it only to members who are invited.”
  • Google+  Another way to create online group communication
  • Facebook  Facebook has an option for “closed” groups; this application might be helpful for GENERAL communication between parents, volunteers and Sunday School staff (e.g. posting Bible memory verses, links to curriculum activities or videos, outlines of plans, upcoming events.)
  • FreeConferenceCall   Another recommendation from Mike Woods: “We’ve been able to have volunteer or Buddy meetings from the convenience of everyone’s home.”
  • Yammer  Laura Haas who works in Children’s and Inclusion Ministry at Faith Family Church in Canton, OH recommended this resource (and, along with Mike Woods, helped with this series!)
  • Wiggio   Our friend and colleague Sara Moses suggested this tool; she used it for several groups, including an inclusion ministry.
  • LiveBinders  Recommended by Michelle Thomas-Bush, Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC. This site allows you to upload documents, power points, links, forms and other information to share with your team.
  • Google Docs  Another method of sharing information, including training materials, spread sheets, presentations, even brainstorming lists. Google also has a calendar feature that team members can access and edit.

Remember, you can use these tools for a variety of different reasons; one web-based tool need not fit all of your needs. As you peruse these sites, keep in mind that the privacy is paramount. In your ministry, you’ll be privy to sensitive information about children and their families. As such, you cannot rely not only on the privacy capabilities of social media sites…your volunteer and staff training MUST include in-depth discussions about handling information with care. (including a rule that forbids volunteers from sharing ministry site passwords with friends, family or colleagues who are not directly involved in the ministry.) Privacy settings are only as sensitive as the people who are using them.

This post is NOT an endorsement of any site or product…please use the information as a springboard for research and discussion.   Find what works in your church’s unique culture (and what doesn’t work!)…and then tell me about it! I’d love to hear what you’re learning.

One final note…God created people long before computers ever appeared on the scene. People first. There isn’t a high-speed connection anywhere that can ever replace human relationships…and while technology, used well and wisely, can enhance communication, it won’t ever replace community.

~Katie
Stay tuned: Contest winner announced tonight, along with Five Facts for Friday!

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One thought on “Communication + Confidentiality: Web-based Tools

  1. I experienced the “technology can’t replace people” idea yesterday. My friend sent me an email but then she picked up the phone to call me…to tell me that she sent me an email…and proceeded to tell me what she wrote:) i’ve done it too! I think our instict, need and desire for human connectionis very strong-we shouldn’t ignore it!

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