Moving Into Church 3.0

When the internet started, it began with Web 1.0. These were some of the first webpages that were up. Someone would put up a whole bunch of information for someone to consume and there would seldom be any interaction. For instance, if I wanted to write about Jesus or the Vikings, I would be the unequivocal expert on the topic. There was no comment section or any kind of feedback form. What one person says, goes. That’s web 1.0.

Web 2.0 was all about participation. It’s the social media version of the web. Facebook, Myspace, Twitter… All of these are centralized around active participation. The webmaster, instead of creating content for simple consumption, acts as more of an overseer of the content. Think of the relationship of Mark Zuckerberg to Facebook, the ever-well-known Tom to MySpace. Just so we have this straight:

Web 1.0 — Webmaster as authority.

Web 2.0 — Webmaster as overseer.

Web 3.0 is the webmaster as facilitator. We are really just getting on the cusp of this. Siri from iPhone 4s is an example of this. It takes information given and interprets it to give a different product in return. For instance, if I ask Siri “what are some restaurants in San Diego open on Thanksgiving?”. In a matter of seconds, a number of different results will come back with names of restaurants and phone numbers. Web 3.0 facilitates, interprets, and gives back.

This is how the web has progressed since its creation. And guess what? This is like church too.

Church 1.0 is the “standard” way of doing church. Pastor is the authority. What he says, goes. This leads to burnout like crazy. Also it’s entirely pastor-centric and pretty boring for everyone else involved. So church 1.0, not helpful.

Church 2.0 is pastor as overseer (catching a pattern?). This is probably the most common role of the modern church. Everyone in the congregation is empowered to do their thing and run the ministries, with the pastor as the overseer. The pastor doesn’t have to be actively involved in every little thing, but is still the centralized authority.

Church 3.0 is pastor as facilitator. In this model, the pastor is one of many decentralized authorities. The pastor helps identify different things that could help the community in articulating the shape and action of their faith journey. I think if the church has really any hope of surviving, this 3.0 model is what is going to have to become the prominent model.

What do you guys think of this? Where is your church in this spectrum? Does Church 3.0 sound like a feasible way of doing church? I’d love any feedback or experiences you have with these different ways of doing church.


For an excellent, yet briefly in-depth, study of Church 3.0, check out Doug Pagitt’s Church in the Inventive Age.

Please keep your comments positive. I reserve the right to delete rude or insulting comments. If your comment is critical, please make sure it is also constructive. Thank you.

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