Friday, November 11, 2011

Authority Online: Church Relevance

This week I have chosen to focus on the case study of Church Relevance and its connection with online religious authority. Kent Shaffer founded Church Relevance in March 2006 to help churches become more effective and efficient. He has also helped out with ministries such as and is opening a nonprofit this year called Open Church that will equip church leaders with free resources to download.

According to Cheong’s theory of "Logic of Continuity and Complementarity," Church Relevance is a vital resource that helps to “complement” offline churches and their authoritative figures within the church. Complementarity refers to “the acts of interrelation of socio-technical developments that co-constitute and augment authority….In this view, offline religious authority is reframed as shaping, sustaining and being sustained by online practices” (Cheong, 2011, pp. 12-13). Church Relevance’s mission is “understanding culture and responding to hurts and needs with the gospel, sacrificial love, and selfless ministering.” Through design, technology, leadership, management, marketing, and ministry Church Relevance has become a valuable resource for all church ministries.

Church Relevance provides church leaders with inspirational resources which include top church blogs, top churches to watch, and top church logos. These all serve as resources to complement authoritative offline figures that might be searching for new ways to keep up with a dynamic environment that could pose as a threat to their authoritative stance in the church. By looking at this case study, it is evident that some digital media resources such as Church Relevance are seeking to help churches grow and maintain authority in the church, online as well as offline.

Works cited: Cheong. (2011). Authority. Unpublished manuscript.

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