Open Source Church chapter outline
Task numero uno: make sure the outline works.The link above will take you to a copy of the outline I sent in with my proposal.
When I got word that my proposal had been accepted, I was also asked to think about a few things.
Does the book really have two sections?: Is the break between the two a strong one, strong enough to warrant merging them? I’m inclined to think so. You?
Should the book begin with the chapter on Wikipedia?: Again, I’m inclined to think so.
I like your proposal and outline. Well done. Hard to answer your question about is it really two parts without knowing your intended audience. Will the voice of your book be primarily to people who are in leadership in existing churches, helping them see the value of open source? Or will it be the average church member?
I think there are a lot of people who make a living as paid leaders in the church who like the ideas of open source but worry about how they will meet the financial needs of their families in an open source model. On the other hand, I think there are a lot of average church members who like the closed source, proprietary church structures for the same reason that a lot of people use closed source software. They don’t want to contribute, they want to consume.
There are a lot of people who love that they can get information from wikipedia for “free” and love the free beer side of open source. But few really want to contribute to wikipedia because it takes time and effort and … Then there are people who are part of the dominant closed system that don’t want people to use wikipedia at all because it threatens them as content providers. My children are not allowed to cite wikipedia as a source in their school work because the schools value depends on them being the only authorized provider of knowledge.
These systemic issues make it hard to talk about open source because you need to use a different voice to each audience. So I am just curious who your book is directed at. I think people will be more helpful if they know just who your trying to convince.
I for one really appreciate your efforts here. I follow your thoughts on these things more than you know and have learned a lot. Looking forward to learning more.
Thanks for the kind words. I’m just happy to know that there are others out there thinking along these lines!
You make a good point on audience. The primary audience will be congregational leaders (paid and volunteer), with a secondary audience being Professors and those in their classes. My conviction is that this kind of change needs to begin with those charged with the work to begin with.
You are exactly right regarding closed vs. open source models! There is a track record of incentive for a closed system – people know what to expect and come to expect that regardless of other factors. I think another reason implied in your comment comes into play as well – people don’t know HOW to contribute.
This is the hardest challenge I face at my church. People have been convinced that they have nothing to contribute so they come to rely on congregational leaders. Then, when they are asked to take a position themselves, they shy away because they’re “not qualified.”
It’s typical to start with a description of something embodies what you’re advocating, no? I’d start with the description of Wikipedia for sure.
I guess it’s incumbent on me to make it interesting then.