I spent some time on PBwiki.com this morning, thinking through the possible uses of wikis for ministry. It seems like it could be a pretty useful service for youth workers.
A wiki is a type of website that allows the visitors themselves to easily add, remove and otherwise edit and change some available content, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative authoring.
In case you didn’t know, youth ministry really should be a type of collaborative outing. We should be working with a team of people (including volunteers, student leaders, and parents). The setup of wikis makes it useful to collaborate with people on different things. Off the top of my head, a few examples of how you could use a wiki in youth ministry are right here:
- Trips: The details for mission trips, camps, and retreats could all be easily handled and reported with a wiki. On a wiki, you could include updated information on where you’ll be going, things to bring, who’s going, and all that other stuff you usually hand out in a parent’s information packet. This information could be available to parents as you get it, if you update the wiki as you plan your trip. Students ans parents both will know all the details easily by going to the wiki page. Also, if you have a team planning these things, all they have to do is update the wiki page when they get their part of the planning done. You’ll have all the info right away.
- Events: If you have various staff members working on an event, you can get them to collaborate through the wiki. For example, the games guy could explain the games they will be using at an event. The worship leader and pastor can collaborate on the theme together, placing the worship order right there for all to see. The snack people could decide who’s bringing what, etc.
- Staff: At staff meetings, there are always jobs handed out to different members of the staff. These jobs could be tracked based on a wiki. When a job gets finished, the staff member reports on the wiki what they have decided and how it affects the rest of the members.
- Sunday School teacher helps: Sunday School teachers can collaborate on the things that work in their classes and different learning activities that are good to know for the other teachers. The research they are finding on topics can be shared with the others, too. This can be applied to small group leaders, too.
- Newsletters: If you have a newsletter that is collaborative, various people can work on sections of the newsletter at the same time. It will all be up in one place, and the finished product will be available to all.
I’m not sure of other applications, but it could be a useful tool. With PBwiki, it is a very simple process. Pretty much anyone can make and edit the wiki page from that site. Check out a video with the creators of PBwiki.com right here.