I have been trying to use mychurch.org over the last couple of months. Without much success to be honest. This is because I have failed to encourage anyone else from my church to sign up. As a church of only 30-odd members, this means there are relatively few households with adequate internet access. It seems there ought to be a critical mass of members, which should enable the community features of mychurch.org to be useful. (Holy Trinity Brompton only has 4 members on mychurch.org, with a Sunday attendance of in excess of 4,000).
When I made a suggestion on the forum about correcting the Google Map, so that non-US churches were correctly shown I was given the following response by the mychurch team;
We only have a handful of international churches now, and most of them have just 1 member. When we start getting more activity internationally, we’ll globalize the google map.
Sorry for being so US-centric, but that is where 99% of our users are right now…
You can help by getting more members from your own UK church online.
Clearly they have their priorities, but can they tell me what to do, or how I should use the service? It is their website, and they are free to prevent certain uses or users but is it in their best interest?
They see themselves as a web 2.0 outfit and as a possible replacement to myspace, but what if the users want to use it for something else, is that a problem?
Clearly it is good for a church to be listed, so that people searching for the church or a church in the area and using mychurch can find it, but what if the church cannot (because of the lack of members) use the site for the purpose set out?
When websites decide that they know best how users should use the service, will this help them long term? Or should sites like mychurch.org listen and accept that there are different types of users with different needs and that allowing them to use the site in a more limited way may ultimately lead to greater participation.