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Seeking to understand interactivity in church websites
Unformatted Document Text:  Seeking to understand interactivity in church websites if it provides a product at least as attractive as its competitors” (Flink and Iannaccone, 1993, p. 28). Campbell (2005) identifies four purposes for the religious online community. They are religious identity, spiritual network, support network, and worship space. Hutchings (2007, p. 257) found that deeper experiences of faith are possible through online communities and are attractive to users. Baab (2008) looked at three questions concerning church websites: a) how do congregations present their organizational identity on their websites; b) how do congregations exercise persuasion by encouraging and enabling engagement on their websites; c) how do these presentations of identity and patterns of engagement reveal aspects of the future church? Baab (2008) concluded that churches use their websites to reach visitors and to encourage current members by creating social patterns that mimic life situations. These social patterns are the big, busy family, the nurturing parent, and the trendy coffeehouse. While most of these social patterns are positive, Baab (2008) found that the idea of a church with thousands of members being a family was often seen as deceptive and irrelevant. The issue of deception was also seen in the image of the church as a social pattern of a coffeehouse. Campbell (2005) studied the Internet as sacramental space and found that a variety of motivations drove people to the Web. People turn to the Internet for faith-based reasons because of the way they believe the online world “does or should function.” Increasing numbers of people are seeking spiritual experiences online. “The Internet as a sacramental space model illustrates how individuals set apart Internet technology as a place where they can explore and engage with the spiritual side of life” Campbell (2005, p. 129). Religious organizations have retooled what was normal to include the Internet into their daily lives (Cheong & Poon, 2008). 8

Authors: Broaddus, Matthew.
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Seeking to understand interactivity in church websites
if it provides a product at least as attractive as its competitors” (Flink and Iannaccone, 1993, p. 
28). 
Campbell (2005) identifies four purposes for the religious online community. They are 
religious identity, spiritual network, support network, and worship space. Hutchings (2007, p. 
257) found that deeper experiences of faith are possible through online communities and are 
attractive to users. Baab (2008) looked at three questions concerning church websites: a) how do 
congregations present their organizational identity on their websites; b) how do congregations 
exercise persuasion by encouraging and enabling engagement on their websites; c) how do these 
presentations of identity and patterns of engagement reveal aspects of the future church? Baab 
(2008) concluded that churches use their websites to reach visitors and to encourage current 
members by creating social patterns that mimic life situations. These social patterns are the big, 
busy family, the nurturing parent, and the trendy coffeehouse. While most of these social patterns 
are positive, Baab (2008) found that the idea of a church with thousands of members being a 
family was often seen as deceptive and irrelevant. The issue of deception was also seen in the 
image of the church as a social pattern of a coffeehouse. 
Campbell (2005) studied the Internet as sacramental space and found that a variety of 
motivations drove people to the Web. People turn to the Internet for faith-based reasons because 
of the way they believe the online world “does or should function.” Increasing numbers of 
people are seeking spiritual experiences online.  “The Internet as a sacramental space model 
illustrates how individuals set apart Internet technology as a place where they can explore and 
engage with the spiritual side of life” Campbell (2005, p. 129).  Religious organizations have 
retooled what was normal to include the Internet into their daily lives (Cheong & Poon, 2008). 
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