my point of view (programming stuff mostly)

Social Networking for Your Church


Starting around mid- to late-2006, I started a little project for my church. The idea was to rewrite our existing online membership directory to make it more searchable and to take a stab at creating something somewhat social, where people can easily communicate with each other and also see their interests and such. Plus, I was dying to build something significant with Ruby on Rails, my new favorite web framework.

As the application got closer to completion, I started showing friends and family my creation and getting feedback. The application grew. And grew. At the time, I was heavy into using Facebook to meet up with old friends and new, and started to see the value in connecting people online in ways that just don’t happen offline. And the application grew. And grew.

The application went online the very first day of 2007, and it was a hit. The tech-savvy people in our church got it right away. While others took awhile.

For the past year, the site has been humming along, and we’ve made several big changes as we got feedback, complaints, etc. We worked with people, classes, and small groups in our church to teach them how to use the site and got more feedback.

I’m very proud of the product we have today, and I think it’s time to give it to the community. This week, I have worked to get OneBody out on the web and ready for use by other churches.

I’m praying for a strong, friendly community to grow around OneBody so it becomes the absolute best of its kind. Though I have to say, I still haven’t found anything quite like it, especially not free!