I’m pretty excited to see my friends at the Table Project have gone to the next step in their application development process, private beta.
What the heck is the Table Project? It’s hard for me to describe, exactly. At first blush it’s easy to call it a social networking site for churches. But it’s more than that. To label it as that would cheapen it. I’d called it a social networking utility for churches.
Most churches have an assortment of inter-connected people. There are people in the pews, an email list, a Facebook page, a website, a youth group list, a group of knitters who meet at the church but no one is sure why, and some sort of database for tracking member information.
These are all separate things that the Table tries to bring together to make life a bit simpler for churches.
Since the Table is a ministry launched from YouthWorks, I’ve gotten a chance to spend time with the developers… poke holes in their theories… and share Coke’s over head-spinning “what if” sessions.
Over the months, in my skepticism, we’ve tossed quips back and forth. I’ve said, “Are you guys just another Jesus-flavored Facebook rip-off?” And they’ll fire back, “What’s your solution? Create a forum and charge people to join?”
With this big milestone, I want to point out a few things about the Table and invite you to check it out.
- They have a stellar philosophy… they call it a manifesto. (The Unibomber would be proud)
- This service is free and open to others building apps on top of it to make it better. (Free and open… two of my favorite words.)
- They are a non-profit ministry. Some have said that the ownership thing doesn’t really matter. I think it does, and something tells me churches will think so too. (If money didn’t matter, how come all those investors invested?)
- They’ve got a great video explaining what the Table is all about.
- This phase of private beta is open to 50 churches, they have a fun little contest going if you’d like to join now.
My disclaimer: Youth Specialties and The Table Project are both parts of the same organization. But no one has asked me to blog about their project. I’m just doing it because they are friends of mine and I’m excited about it going to the beta test.