Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Father's Workshop

Mike Burns had a neat idea.  We brainstormed it a bit and he said I could write it up here.  Hopefully we will find a way to do this.  Mike calls it "Father's Workshop", but I'm not sure that name will stick long-term.  :-)

The idea is that we would establish a wiki-like site for each church.  Each church would have an administrator, probably in the congregation care ministry.  That administrator would be responsible for creating user accounts for members who wanted to participate.  That would be the only way to get into the system--so it would be limited to believers.

People could get onto the site and post their ministry project ideas/needs.  These could be anything from plumbing to web work.  Whatever a minister/ministry needs.

People could "bid" on doing the work, or volunteer to do the work for free.  But even for pro bono work there would often be supply costs, either initial costs or on-going costs.  But people who are interested in a project could post notes describing how they think it could be done and stuff like that.

People could also fund the ideas.  That would include the whole gamut of micro-donations to fully funding.  Maybe the donors would have the option to give anonymously.

The site would allow interested parties to discuss and plan the project, set dates, assign tasks, etc.  As the work was done there would be status updates.  When the work was completed the project would get marked "done".

Each church would have a local site that included only people and projects for their local church.  Churches that chose to might connect their local sites in order to broaden their resource pool--I'm thinking especially of churches that start other churches.  And there would be a system-wide site where churches could reach out to any/all other churches for big projects.

Think about Haiti.  This would have made it much easier for many churches to connect up quickly and coordinate their work.

This might also be a perfect way to get my 'Praying with Friends' Facebook application built.

So, what are the next steps?
* Look around and make sure that someone isn't already doing something like this.
* Look at some bid-work sites like Amazon Turk, Odesk, and Scriptlance to develop an appropriate feature set.
* Talk to some ministers to see if they would be willing to participate, and get their feedback on the design.
* Work up a budget for v1 and look around for someone to fund getting it built.

I don't think of this as a money-making endeavor.  Some people would need to get paid something for doing the work of building this.  There would probably be some ongoing expenses for hosting and technical support.  That might be covered by donations or advertisements.  I don't see charging a membership fee to either a church or to individuals.

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