What Would Google Do

Facebook Home: Revisiting Jeff Jarvis And The Church as Platform

Yorocko.com started in 2010 with a series of posts on Jeff Jarvis’ book What Would Google Do? Jarvis’s central assertion was that Google’s success derives from its decision to function as a platform rather than a portal, allowing developers to do their mapping and book publishing work on top of Google’s own infrastructure rather than creating its own mapping and book publishing software. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how this approach might be applied to the church.

Just this week I had a conversation with a nonprofit executive who’s interested in partnering with churches to start community farms. Churches would offer up their property as a literal platform on which a local organization can do good work. A good thing–even a gospel thing–gets going at the church, yet the church doesn’t develop and run it; it merely functions as a platform for others to do it. It’s pretty exciting.

It gets tricky, though. Ownership becomes a critical question, and fast. Consider the announcement yesterday that Facebook is developing an app to run on Google’s Android mobile operating system, an app that will completely take over the device, transforming it, effectively, into a Facebook device. It’s a blatant exploitation of an open platform.

If a church wants to function as a platform and invite committed communities to do their good work on top of the church’s own infrastructure (both physical and relational), this ownership question is going to surface. How do churches maintain ownership of the platform? Should they?


2 thoughts on “Facebook Home: Revisiting Jeff Jarvis And The Church as Platform

  1. so, if potential is a curse and must be realized…
    Then the idea of church as a platform..well, platform=potential. If the church partners with this non profit and utilizes their real estate to grow plants, that is realizing the potential of their land.

    However, that is an exclusive realization of the land. That crop field cannot be used as say… a parking lot. And a parking lot is pretty important to a church community. it is not as appealing as a garden, but the lack of a parking lot could mean that the community of the church would dwindle.

    that’s the tricky thing about potential. You do want to use it wisely.

    But a church as a platform…What are the resources a church has? What does it have to spend and what must it maintain?

    platforms are usually an incomplete part of multiple things…like, every shoe has a few things in common. LIke, a sole and something that keept the shoe on the foot. So, maybe an incomplete sort of sandal could be created as a form. THat shoe form could be given to people as a starter, ugly in itself, but each person could modify it for the many many functions they need from a shoe.

    A unique design based on the platform. The trick to a platform being successful is that many people will take it, and add to it. It’s success is in the multiple unique uses. THe platform empowers individuals to create and utilize.

    How does the church empower the individual to make it their own? Are their hooks and tabs for individual adaptations?

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