My three sons and Web 2.0

In our household, there are three growing boys aged 13 and under. That makes for a lot of growth – and a lot of energy! We also have two computers. And one cat… Well, enough about the cat.

My three sons are quite efficient and natural at navigating their way around our computers, even on two different operating systems. (“Hi, I’m a PC and I’m a Mac.”)

As sure as my sons have outgrown last year’s winter clothes, so their need and knowledge of technology is growing beyond our current household limits. They complain that the computers are too slow or that they can’t save a project – we need more memory and storage!

The Canadian Conference of MB Churches is also experiencing growth and change. We’re different than we were 10 years ago. Many churches have been born or revived, and some have been put to rest. Our national leadership structure has changed significantly, from having multiple boards to a single governing board.

We’ve launched many new ideas, propelling us forward in new and exciting ways. These include our redesigned conference website (www.mbconf.ca), a new logo, and the Short Film Festival that took place at Gathering 2008.

So why did we introduce these changes? Overall, we want to better utilize current technology to connect churches from across Canada and around the world, and share stories of how God is at work.

A new logo

Since we’re a growing and changing organization, we felt this was an excellent time to renew our logo and refresh our look. We want to reflect the changes that are taking place in the lives of people, our churches, and our denomination.

The logo was developed by arranging four abstract shapes, creating a cross in the negative space. The shape of the cross is instantly recognizable and also conveys a key value of the conference – Christ-centredness. The logo also includes visual elements of leaves, as well as the colours blue and green, all indicating growth and life.

Through our new look, we want to bring strength and connectedness to the ministries we provide for the local church. In the coming months, we hope to introduce a more visually uniform appearance for our six service areas (Faith and Life, Stewardship, Communications, Church Health, Leadership Development, Reaching Out). We’re all part of the same team here at the conference and our look should reflect that! A shared logo means people will be able to easily recognize emails, letters, and brochures that come from Canadian conference ministries.

Web presence

Changes have also taken place on the internet. Our new website includes some Web 2.0 capabilities that allow users to control or have direct input into the content they want to see on a particular site. For example, the “My Links” section at the top right of our homepage allows users to choose their favourite links within the site. In the “Find A Church” section, each local church can update their own information, from making basic text changes to uploading photos and podcasts.

Perhaps one area of the site poised for the most attention and growth is the “Multimedia” section. Here, we have the ability to more effectively and creatively tell stories of how God is at work in the lives of people and churches across Canada. We’re excited to feature many of the submissions from our Short Film Festival on this page. And we’ll be looking for more stories, videos, and audio clips in the coming months.

Relationships still important

Recently I helped my oldest son, Harrison, with his homework project on the computer. (Yes, from time to time, my boys still need a little bit of help from dad). It was fun to work on a technology assignment together. But what was really special was that we worked together.

As amazing as technology has become, it can never replace relationships. Our goal at the Canadian conference isn’t just to keep up with technology, but to use technological advancements to strengthen communication and better foster community in our denomination.

Cam Rowland is director of communications for the Canadian conference and lives in Winnipeg.

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