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A Study of Church/Ministry Internet Usage

TitleA Study of Church/Ministry Internet Usage
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsStevens, RE, Dunn, P, Loudon, DL, Cole, HS
JournalJournal of Ministry Marketing & Management
Start Page23
KeywordsChurch, Computer, Contemporary Religious Community, cyberspace, internet, Internet access, Internet use by churches and ministries, Mass media, national survey, network, New Media and Society, new media engagement, New Technology and Society, online activities, online communication, Online community, religion, religion and internet, Religion and the Internet, religiosity, religious engagement, religious identity, Religious Internet Communication, Religious Internet Communities, religious organizations, sociability unbound, Sociology of religion, users’ participation, virtual community, virtual public sphere, “digital religion”, “media and religion”, “media research”, “online identity”, “religion online”, “religious congregations”, “religious media research”

This manuscript reports the results of a national survey of Internet use by churches and ministries. The mail survey to a random sample of 500 churches and ministries sought to determine the proportion of churches/ministries with Internet access, how the Internet was being used by their organization, and organizational characteristics. A total of 448 questionnaires were delivered and 113 were returned resulting in a response rate of 25.2%.

About 93 percent of the respondents surveyed reported using a computer. Of that 93 percent, about 70 percent reported they had Internet access. When asked about how the Internet has helped their church, respondents reported communications with others as the most important benefit, followed by staying better informed on products and services, and as a research tool for sermons and Bible studies.

Among respondent churches who had Internet access, about 37 percent had a webpage. Of those who did not have a webpage, 58 percent plan on having one within a year. The most common ways churches use their website were found to be (1) describing features of the church such as service times or scheduled events, (2) creating a way to communicate with others about the church, (3) providing a way for people to contact the church by e-mail, and (4) image creation.

Respondents cited several benefits of having a website: (1) improved communication, (2) increased member knowledge about church programs and (3) increased attendance at church services or activities.