The Joshua Project

By Deane Barker on August 30, 2003

I’ve been involved with Web development work at my church for several years now. In that capacity, I’ve been confronted with (1) the huge need churches have for Internet development, and (2) the general inability of churches to pay for it. Good Web development is expensive, and churches have much more pressing needs for their discretionary funds.

For about 18 months, I entertained the idea of running a class at my church to train people in Web development skills. I was looking for computer geeks, but not necessarily Web geeks. I wanted people who were quite computer literate, but not in Web development, the area that my church (and I’m sure many others) need most.

I’m happy to announce that everything came into focus last Thursday when I led a class of five students in two hours of instruction on HTTP, Web servers, Web clients, DNS, and URL structure.

We’re meeting once a week, and this Thursday we tackle basic HTML. The week after that will be CSS, and I’ll review our progress at that point to see where we go next. We’ll eventually end up writing PHP. I’m shooting for eight weeks of instruction, provided the students do quite a bit of study outside of class.

There is “tuition” for this course. The students must each complete a Web project for a faith-based ministry within 90 days of the last class. During the class, they’re challenged to find a ministry that needs help, work up a proposal explaining exactly what this ministry needs and how they’re going to accomplish it, then — with help and direction — deliver the completed project.

So, why did we call it “The Joshua Project”? When Moses died, Joshua led the Israelites through the desert to The Promised Land. There’s no image that better illustrates the state of church Web programs than a bunch of people wandering around in the wilderness trying to reach this great benefit that was promised to them.

Joshua pulled it off, and perhaps so will we.



  1. Very cool idea. I’m about to help my church set up Movable Type so the pastor can have a “Pastor’s Corner” on the web site. And I’m adding Movable Type support to weblog tool to make it even easier on him.

  2. The internet can be such a useful tool, can’t it? I love what you’re doing. It not only helps younger people develop a skill, but is also a discipleship outlet that teaches them ministry with their gifts and interests. Great idea! I hope it grows beyond your expectations!

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