Johan Roeland, Stef Aupers and Dick Houtman
Tetske van Dun, Peter Versteeg and Johan Roeland
Christian Harwig, Johan Roeland and Hijme Stoffels
This study is a qualitative study into the meaning that visitors derive from participating in the Dutch online church Mijn Kerk (litt. My Church). By focusing on the experience of the individual visitors, the everyday context of visitors is taken into account. What people are looking for online is determined by their relationship with the local church as well as further offline circumstances. This can be roughly divided into two categories: connectedness (with other people) and sustenance (inspiration for everyday life). Within Mijn Kerk visitors both offer and search for fulfillment of these needs, resulting in four typical behaviors: to vent, to encourage, to inspire and to recharge. Being very approachable, relatively anonymous and non-committal, while at the same time offering stability, real personal contact and durable relationships, Mijn Kerk is a unique community online in which people try to overcome the tension between individualism and the desire for connectedness.