FaithVillage was a Christian social network that was operational from 2012 to September 2014. Here’s a screen shot of its home page and description—
FaithVillage is the new social network for faith experiences. Set-up your loft and meet some new friends. Watch an inspiring video or join a cause. Share a ministry idea or post a blog.
a farewell blog post from Brad Russell on August 14, 2014 [mirrored from archive.org]
UPDATE: Goodnight, moon — Goodnight, FaithVillage . . . not just yet
Cue up “Hear Comes the Sun,” “I’m Walking on Sunshine,” or “Tomorrow,” because FaithVillage will not be saying “goodnight moon” just yet. While Team FV seeks a worthy steward of our community and software application, we have decided to keep the lights on, bringing you more fresh content from our contributors each week. Our hope is that the community you have come to enjoy will continue in capable new hands.
We’ll keep you posted. Peace. — Brad
At midnight on August 31, 2014, the streetlights of FaithVillage will go dark, and our four familiar streets will be rolled up, digitally speaking. Team FV will cease editorial operations, and the site no longer will be publicly accessible.
A fun run
I have to say it’s been a tremendously fun run. I vividly recall sitting at my desk in late summer 2008 when the initial idea of FaithVillage first took shape in my mind: an online community, metaphorically visualized in a virtual village; a gathering of generous people who shared their art and ideas; easy access to a broad range of Christian content in one convenient place; all integrated with a Facebook-like experience for personal, small-group and church engagement using the latest tools for social collaboration.
Marv Knox, our Editor at Baptist Standard Publishing, and I had been engaged in a strategic planning process for the now 126-year-old organization. Our board had courageously challenged us to “think big” as we envisioned new ways to leverage emerging technologies to help churches be more effective in ministry.
Six years and a thousand decisions later, FaithVillage became an online space that we are all enormously proud of. After we launched in 2012, we were thrilled to have over 800 contributors share our vision and their art. We saw thousands register on our site from all over the world. We made friends across the country among church leaders, publishers, musical artists, authors, and cause advocates, but most of all, with everyday Christians who value a place to tell their faith stories.
An innovative response
Our FaithVillage journey has not been about media or technology as an end in itself, but rather about applying the latest technology to fulfill perennial ministry goals, to share compelling faith stories, to build community, to disciple and form faith, to disseminate art and ideas, to sharpen leadership skills, to build collaborations that advance Kingdom causes.
In a world with declining church attendance and institutional loyalty, myriad distractions from what’s truly important and cultural change that is exponentially faster than before, the church is challenged to engage people every day and not passively wait for the world to enter the church door.
All around us, religious institutions are challenged to respond to this dramatically changing world. Some are courageous; others are timid. Our technology was our courageous response. We will always be grateful for those who caught the vision and joined us.
I’ve long appreciated the wisdom of Eric Hoffer, who wrote: “In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.”
The only way to learn is to innovate. And as Peter Drucker says, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”
But we can’t be romantic about innovation. In the end, our most courageous efforts are subject to funding, timing, misperceptions, incorrect assumptions and a myriad other forces. As it’s oft said, if innovation were easy, everyone would do it.
Mind the gap
Through FaithVillage, we have learned a tremendous amount about applying technology to ministry. The challenges faced by the church are even more intense now than when we started, and the technological gap grows wider everyday between those who understand how to use new tools and those who don’t.
We hope the knowledge we have learned in the last six years will be entrusted to other innovative organizations that already recognize the enormous opportunities new technology offers for more effective ministry.
To all the friends of FaithVillage, we deeply appreciate you and wish you well.
Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.