Goodnight Gospelcom Alliance

I was pretty excited to have Youth Ministry Exchange join the GCI Alliance back in 2006. In fact, we made a big deal about telling people with over 100 guesses as to what the big surprise was all about.

I sensed in the last few months things weren’t going well… staff leaving for other places and not getting replaced, stuff like that.

Yesterday I got news that the Ministry Alliance will cease to exist in mid-December. For the 200+ organizations who look to GCI for assistance and encouragement this was a huge shock.

Here’s parts of the email I got.

As the result of a number of factors, the Board of Directors of Gospel
Communications has decided that the ministry of Gospel Communications as we
have known it is coming to a close.  This was, obviously, not an easy
decision, but our commitment is to carry it out in the best manner possible.
We are currently involved in trying to find good stewards for the various
ministries of Gospel Communications who will be able to carry those
ministries forward.

I wanted to let you know that the decision talked about above means that the services offered to Alliance Ministries (hosting, technical support, training, etc.) are coming to an
end. Although this is not the path that any of us would have necessarily
chosen, we are committed to making this transition as smooth and as
God-honoring as possible.

Right now it looks like our date for “end of service” will be December 15,
2008. We are contractually obligated to give Alliance Ministries 60 days of
notice. The December 15 date will make the transition period approximately
90 days.

Here’s my personal opinion. I think that the need for the Alliance may have passed. When it was created back in 1995 this thing was totally needed. Ministries struggled to find decent hosts, small ministries had no practical way to create an online presence without spending tons of cash, and there wasn’t a lot of technical support out there for people just learning. Boy how times have changed! Speaking as a member, having been to the conference, I just don’t see the need for this type of Alliance.

With that said, I do think there is a great need to keep ministries together. I think that things like traning events and sharing resources is always going to be needed. Further, I think that as ministries get more sophisticated and as high capacity people look for work in this field there will be a greater need for the networking that something like GCI could provide.

In other words, a retooled version of the Alliance could and will still work. Fewer hoops, increase the help, and loads of churches and ministries will flock to it. Hint: Make it for-profit, ask people to pay to be a part of it, but make it worth their while to pay. Another hint: Dump the hosting and technical support. No need to compete on that playing field with hosts that are so cheap and so reliable.

What about the Gospel Communication sites? All I know is that there’s no way sites like ThinkChristian.net or Biblegateway.com will go away. They are simply too popular to let go.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in Ahwahnee, California.

4 comments

  1. although i am usually not a fan of christian groups or clubs, i was a member of the gospelcom alliance for many years via my job at youth specialties.

    i think that what i liked the most about gcn was that they treated people with respect, they wanted the ministries to succeede, and it was still early enough in the internet/website world for the members to share and learn from each other.

    as you said, hosting was a difficult thing back then, as were countless other parts to getting a ministry set up online.

    as far as the community aspect of the alliance, it was a huge benefit. it brought people together, designers and developers consulted with one another and you never really felt alone or stuck in the midst of a project.

    i do agree that the time of the alliance is past. but it was a wonderful, fantastic thing, and i am grateful for all that it gave me.

    i hope that through links, facebook, and other communications, we can keep the linking and networking together. There is no reason for one single member to ever feel alone in the midst of today’s internet.

    and i hope the former alliance memebers can continue to share their experience with each other, and continue to learn and grow through communication and networking.

  2. totally agreed.

    I’m kind of excited to see what’s next for the Alliance members.

    It would seem that most of the core of the team has found employment… so that’s great too.

    Just my experience in the last few months… not a lot of that former resource/idea sharing. It just all kind of died.

    I hope that some energy is put into something new with a more sustainable structure.

    Think there is anyone out there?

  3. in a way, i think that connection is happening through twitter and facebook and other social networks. it’s happening almost automatically, which in a lot of ways is even cooler than the confines of GCN.

    Hmm. Something new with a more sustainable structure. Something to think about.

    And yes, there is always someone out there. 😉

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