Mennonite.net was founded in 1998 with a vision for helping Mennonite churches and organizations develop an effective web presence. At that time, few Mennonite congregations had a presence on the World Wide Web, so the initial thought was to help Mennonite Churches secure domain names and build a collective presence on the web. By building a database of all Mennonite churches and related organizations in North America, a directory structure was built.
This structure formed the basis of a simple content management system (CMS) for congregational use. Congregations were encouraged to enter information onto their own directory sites and supported Mennonite.net with yearly donations.
Around 2002, as Mennonite.net moved from being a sponsored to an independent non-profit organization, a more flexible content management system was developed which allowed for use by organizations of all types as well as churches. Eventually named Caravel, it became not only the basis for a new directory structure for Mennonite.net, but the CMS of choice for a network of Mennonite churches, organizations, and a college, as well as many other organizations, businesses, and personal sites within and outside of Mennonite circles. The Caravel CMS was supported by membership in a Caravel Technology Co-op which entitled members to a higher level of support and enabled ongoing development of Caravel as well as support for an array of additional services such as email accounts and mailing lists.
With the rise of new CMS’s supported by thousands of persons, Mennonite.net has again shifted its focus to serve the Mennonite community and others more effectively. In the latter half of 2013, Mennonite.net invested in new hardware in order to support the hosting of a growing number of websites. Mennonite.net is now recommending the use of WordPress, which has grown from a blogging tool to the most popular Open Source CMS in the world. To allow the effective use of this powerful and flexible web-building tool, Mennonite.net developed a new level of Managed Hosting services, along with three WordPress themes especially useful for Mennonite Churches.