Have you considered … a church WIKI?

The WIKI we’re rolling out

Perhaps a better first question would be – what IS a church WIKI?

It’s pretty simple, especially if you’ve ever used Wikipedia – it’s a central location for all of the knowledge/information you want to be able to access for your church, and so any of your members/volunteers/staff can access the parts you allow them to, and also edit the parts you likewise allow them to.

But WHY would you want to do this sort of thing?

  • If you have a sequence that has to be followed when powering up for Sunday morning? Add a checklist for the tech team (or get them to do it, even better)!
  • You have a system for ordering office or coffee supplies? Write out your system in a post!
  • Need to keep a to-do list for a few of you to always be able to access? A checklist is easy!
  • Want a place for some of you to be able to write down thoughts/action points from each Sunday? Setup a topic for weekly debriefs!

It’s a great way to centralise your “write once, read many” information (like weekly lists) and also a solid way to communicate more long-lasting things than fleeting thoughts that you can send via a messenger app (and you can send a link to the WIKI via IM). I’m also collecting tutorial videos and starting to write training ideas/material in it for things like audio, lighting and so on.

We are just starting to implement one at our church (only 100-odd people, out in the bush in Western Victoria, Australia) and I can see it being really really useful as it does away with needing to find the people who know stuff, and puts all your critical/useful information in one place.

Here’s our current sidebar, to give you some idea of the possibilities (bear in mind this is basically purely my work, setting up a framework for others to change/build on):

WIKI sidebar

You can see from the top there’s the church team name, my personal home page, the main home page, my drafts for posts not yet published that I’m working on, any templates I’ve set up (like for the weekly feedback post), the content map (see below), personnel groups (which you can add people to as they join, which will automatically give them access to the parts of the WIKI that you have assigned to that group).

You can favourite posts/topics, which is also really useful for the parts you access most often.

Sections can be expanded or collapsed in order to keep it as clear as you like.

One section I do love for keeping track of how the overall site looks/is organised is the content map.

Slab content map

We use Slab, which is kinda new, but I like how clear and concise it is, AND as we’re a church they give us free access to the lowest paid tier, which is fantastic.

As a result, we can be fairly fine-grained with our permission structure, and you can setup various access levels – give groups access only to certain sections, entirely hide sections (you can see the crossed out eye against some sections in the sidebar above, which tells me I can see them but it’s not a generally-available section) and so on (keeps the UI as clean as possible if you hide the stuff they don’t need to see – always reduce the friction wherever you can to make it as easy as possible to use).

The search function is fantastic.

Inviting people is simple – you can have a permanent link, or invite people on the fly.

Unlimited levels of nesting, so you can get as specific as you want.

If you tag other users in a post/topic, it will email them to alert them.

They have native clients for Windows and Mac.

I’ll be the first to admit that this sort of thing is hardly sexy tech, but it IS incredibly useful as a way to centralise and make accessible your information, and keep in contact with others across (semi-)permanent things like todo and idea lists. A real timesaver is well-used.

Any questions or suggestions – fire away. Please, especially reach out if you’ve run one of these for a while and have ideas 🙂

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