Blog
If the change of seasons motivates you to do something new, here are five tips for sprucing up your church website.
April 16, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog
How to make the most of Twitter's new design.
April 9, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog
I just finished reading Justin Wise’s The Social Church: A Theology of Digital Communication. It was a great book that actually achieved its subtitle’s goal. It created a pretty comprehensive case (practically and biblically) why churches should engage in social media. This has got me thinking about how my church uses social media and in particular Facebook...
February 11, 2014 0 4 comments
Blog
They (whoever “they” are) have been saying for a while now, “The world’s going mobile,” and it sure seems they are right, doesn’t it? Wherever you look, people are peering, or talking, or singing along, or listening as they walk, ride, fly -- whatever. What about you and your church? Are you going mobile?
January 25, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog
Looking back on technology in 2013, tablets were a pretty important item. The first Apple iPad was released in 2010, so the tablets have been around a while now, but it seems to me that they were still quite newsworthy throughout 2013. If not newsworthy, they were at least penetrating more and more into our lives, including our work lives. Have you found this to be true? Are you or those you know using tablets at work? At home? How about at church?
January 14, 2014 0 14 comments
Blog
A new year is a great motivator to do something better. For many of you, church communications is on that list. Looking ahead, here are five areas where you might want to focus your attention in 2014.
January 6, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog
As the new year starts, it is also the start (well, restart) of my stint as a guide for the Church & Web Network. What would you like to talk about? I don’t have nearly all the answers, but I can definitely pose questions, find some information or sources of information, and solicit discussion. See the list of topics in the blog - pick from there or come up with your own! Let's talk.
January 2, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog
So, I'll tell you my story, then you tell me yours. This is the story of the trials, tribulations and travails we experienced at my church as we went through the process of upgrading our projection technology. After you read it, I would love to hear your story.  Have you gone through similar trials and travails as you move into new solutions and technologies?
December 9, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog
This is Mavis Moon, signing in again as the guide for the Church & Web Network. Many thanks to Jerod Clark, who’s been the guide most recently. We won’t say good-bye to Jerod because we’ll be reading some of his work as part of the content for the Church & Web Network in the future.  I look forward to connecting with you on anything related to technology and your church. What questions do you have? What topics would you like us to discuss?
December 9, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog
Botnets were created to hack into WordPress sites using brute force attacks. You would be shocked at how many attacks are taking place as you are reading this article. Their goal is to gain access to your site! Let’s make sure you are doing the simple things you can to protect your WordPress site. Here are five simple things you can do...
November 12, 2013 0 0 comments
Q&A

Hi

We are considering using (infrequently) some YouTube videos that have contempory songs put to lyrics...idea is to use them to help the congregation learn new songs with the words displayed on our video screen.

My questions are;

Are there any copyright/licensing...

October 26, 2013 0 1 comments
Blog
Over the last few years, WordPress has become one of the top content management (web design) systems.  One out of four websites today is created using WordPress. Here are the top 6 reasons why WordPress is so popular and why you might want to consider switching to a WordPress platform for your church's website...
October 23, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog
Web design is always evolving.  Aesthetics shift and new technology lets developers create websites that function in different and exciting ways.  If you’re involved in creating or maintaining your organization’s website, here are three design trends you should be familiar with.
September 23, 2013 0 2 comments
Blog
The Juicys are rewarding churches who are doing great communications work.  See how you can apply to recieve a $2000 grant for your next communications project.  
September 18, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog
Facebook announced a new photo-sharing feature that will help you be more collaborative.  Here are three thoughts on how to use this new feature well.
September 10, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog
You’ll often hear people say custom designed websites will always be better for an organization than using a template. There’s an argument to be made for that, but often the reality in many churches is the lack of budget for something custom. A quality template based site can be an option, but it takes work to pick the right one.
August 14, 2013 0 2 comments
Q&A

Hi everyone,

    We had a website a while ago, but that has deceased at some point and now we're working with a local fellow in making a new church website.  We seem to have a decent handle on what we all want on there, but I was just curious about what have you heard people say was...

August 13, 2013 0 1 comments
Blog
If you manage any sort of social media accounts for your church or organization, you’ve probably had that moment where you realized you sent a personal message through a corporate account.  Here are a few things to consider when trying to make things right.
July 22, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog
Facebook is rolling out a redesigned Insights analytics for your church page. The first change you’ll notice right away is it’s visually different. Overall, you’ll also have access to more detailed information about your audience.  
July 9, 2013 0 1 comments
Blog
Long-term website maintenance seems to be an issue for many churches. A lot of work and discussion go into the creation of a site; yet there’s not always a commitment to keep it up-to-date. When you aren’t thinking about the ongoing needs of you church website, there are plenty of opportunities that are missed.
June 6, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog
Using social media well is more than setting up an account and pushing out information about yourself or organization.  By nature it’s relational.  Whether you’re new to social media, or someone who’s been doing it for years, here are five things to consider that could make your online relationships stronger.
May 20, 2013 0 2 comments
Blog
I joined a church just after graduating from college a few years ago and suddenly started receiving emails from a number of people all at the same time. I wondered what was going on and then realized my email was published in the directory.Without giving consent I was immediately subscribed to the church “weekly update”, prayer chain, and social justice club list.
May 15, 2013 0 1 comments
Blog
Churches have always had data.  In the 21st century there is more to it than just being able to put address labels on envelopes or send out yearend giving summaries.  Like it or not, churches need to be aware of cyber security issues. 
May 7, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog
Visiting your website should feel like stepping onto your church’s physical property. This is especially true when you’re thinking about catering to a first time visitor. 
April 15, 2013 0 0 comments

Pages

RSS

Thanks, Brad! Your response reminded me to pass this info about Onsong on to my praise team. I meant to do it when Allen mentioned it but had forgotten. It's great to learn about different apps and technologies that are helping us lead worship or do other "churchly" activities.

posted in: Tablets in Church?

I agree with Allen Onsong is a great app.  I preach from my Ipad too and encourage my folks to read their Bible from it.

posted in: Tablets in Church?

A little shamelss self promotion as well, I have created a new set of guides to help congregations figure out which many church websites option are the best for them.  You can find it here. New Church Website Guide

Today, I had two of my pastor friends who aren't currently involved in social media tell me that they watched this Justin Wise interview. One bought the book. Both felt convicted to start and empowered to take next steps! LOVE IT! It has some great take aways for you and your church. http://www.churchwp.net/social-media-and-the-church-interview-with-justin-wise/

I agree with Wendy.  I think you should create a FB page that is view as another online connection point for your church and the outside world.  We have a closed prayer group that is closed/ private to accomplish for private inhouse matters.  Links and those kinds of things would be great for potential visitors to see. 

Janet, I would consider adding a facebook page in addition to the group that you have set up. The page is for public updates and is where people would look if they were looking for churches to visit/attend or if they want to quickly find event dates (if you are using that feature . . . which I recommend because that's how a lot of people keep their calendars these days).

The group could be clearly labeled as only for church members. You might also consider changing the settings to closed so that it doesn't show up in searches. That way you are not being elitist - if they are not a member, they don't get in.

Our church has a fb page but so far it has been a "closed group". We use it to update members on events, sickness, prayer requests, deaths and such information. Privacy for our congregation is the big reason for being a closed group. It also helps to build a community within our regular attenders. I will also attach links if they pertain to the current sermon series or current events.  We have a separate church website which is open for all. What is your thoughts on keeping the entire FB page a closed group? I sometimes feel guilty in ignoring "friend requests" from strangers who have no affiliation  to  our church. Usually these requests come from places like Nigeria, Rwanda or other far off places. Are we being elistist? Should this be an open group?

Are there any guidelines or policy regarding privacy  regarding live stream, video or photo on church website

Great infomation.

8 years! Let's hope it doesn't take that long! Maybe your husband should consider being the driving force - he could go for it and show everyone what it does and why it's a good thing, nothing to frown about. And if the technology helps him because of his visual impairment, all the better it seems to me.

I hadn't thought of using it for children's messages, but that is a really good idea. 

Thanks for sharing, Jane.

posted in: Tablets in Church?

I used the tablet a few times for the children's message because pictures can be accessed and shown for the message.  They connect to technology and pay attention to it.  My husband is visually impared and if he were not so conscious about it, he would use the pad to read the Bible passage.  Too many people frown on it yet so we must get them educated on these points. Another 8 years ought to do it!

posted in: Tablets in Church?

Nice, Richard! You'll have to share if/when you start using Logos for the parishioners. I know -- hard to keep up with all the good things out there!

posted in: Tablets in Church?

Google's terms of service for non-profits may present interesting problems for Christian services not in thrall to the Zeitgeist:

- My organization does not discriminate on any unlawful basis in either hiring/employment practices or in the administration of programs and services.- My organization does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring/employment practices.  In Google's terms of service, the latter requirement was once part of the former. No longer. Google not only doesn't allow organizations to "unlawfully" discriminate based on sexuality (the former requirement), but now can't discriminate in any way whatsoever regarding specifically one's sexuality. It's interesting that this is the sole area where Google is asserting requirements beyond the law.  Technically, this certainly seems to allow for hiring homosexuals who are celibate. Indeed, it would require that no policy of preference for heterosexuals is in play. Personally, I suspect that Google would frown on any "celibacy" clause, however.  Churches already using Google Apps aggressively might want to consider the implications if Google rescinded licensing for Apps based on any finding they might assert. The worst case scenario would be for churches with liberal account policies, because reverting to a business use of Apps would become prohibitively expensive where there are high user counts.   In short, the more dependent a church becomes on this asset, the more catastrophic the consequences if Google phones this in. There's a certain sense of "rope-a-dope" to this. If a denomination maintains that homosexuality is disordered, I have little doubt that activists will one day raise public red flags, such that the Googles of the world will feel pressure to act. And it won't much matter whether they call in their non-profit grants of use, or merely change the terms so that churches exercising integrity will be forced to revert to business use.   Personally, I don't think this is a matter of if, but of when. 

Hi John, that's cool you guys are already doing it. How nice the technician can enjoy being with the congregation. Thanks for the comment!

posted in: Tablets in Church?

We use a tablet to control our soundboard.  For simpler services (like our evening service) this allows the sound technician to sit with the congregation.

posted in: Tablets in Church?

I use ShowDirector to change PowerPoint slides during the sermon. I have the entire service uploaded via Box.com as a PDF to my Android tablet. No more printing everything out on paper. It reduces the amount of stuff I have in a filing cabinet... but you really have to be diligent in maintaining one central place for all your electronic files and keep them up to date.

I'm considering how to use Logos software with parishioners for not only Bible study, but for sermon preparation. I won't tackle that one for awhile. Too many other good things to juggle at this time.

posted in: Tablets in Church?

Great information.

We had a guest praise band last week that had all their music and songs on tablets, too. Seems like a great way to go. I love the story of the sound controller being accused of gaming in church. I can totally see how that could happen!

posted in: Tablets in Church?

Hi Smitty! Sounds like you get really good use from your Kindle. I still prefer the iPad for some of the other apps it's got that the Kindle doesn't, plus I can still use the Kindle app on it. But the Kindle is a better price and it's adding features all the time. 

I love using Kindle for highlighting, as you mentioned. When I read a book for a book club, it's so nice to be able to quickly find my highlighted areas for discussion.

I also love books, though, and even converted a bedroom in my house to a library. I love the feel of books, the smell of books, the look of them, the whole deal. So I feel too guilty to do all my reading on my device. As a compromise, right now I typically read non-fiction in Kindle, and fiction in "real books." It salves my conscience anyway! :)

posted in: Tablets in Church?

I'll have to check out the gadgets and apps, Allen. They sound cool! My pastor would like your comment about Apple making "life even better." He's a true Apple guy. :) Thanks for the input!

posted in: Tablets in Church?

My wife Ellen and I play weekly in our "Grace Gospel Band". We play in a different Senior facility each week combining worship, instrumentals and group singing. I have all our music scores and lyrics on my tablet and placing it on a music stand, I can swipe to the next song easily. Since  these facilities are kept quite warm there are fans blowing. Having our music on a tablet avoids paper sheet music from blowing away.

You raised the possibility of controling sound and lighting from a tablet. That is already being done from anywhere in church. I heard of one sound person controling the sound from a seat well forward in the sanctuary. After the  service as he was walking down the isle to exit with the rest of the visitors, an elderly lady chastised him loudly for playing games on his game pad during a church worship service. His explanation did not "fly" with her!

posted in: Tablets in Church?

I use my Kindle during Workship for notes and Hi-liting the scripture...Also use it to compare versions, and to use comentaries ....epecially when using the Bible Gateway ( www.bibllegateway.com . )  More than 90% of my personal reading is done on my Kindle, including news, seminary classes, and e-mail..

posted in: Tablets in Church?

There are a lot of great apps to use in worship as well.  I recently bought an iPad 2 for just a few simple but important uses.  One is to preach from.  I tried my Kindle Fire but the screen is just a bit too small.  Great for reading but that's about it. A second app I use regularly is OnSong which lets me keep all my sheet music on and display set lists when I lead worship (I plan on doing a review of this software for the Worship page on the Network).  I'm also in another band and keep all our songs on there.  I have an iPad holder that mounts to my mic stand so no more music stand in the way.  It's sooo versatile.  I'm an Apple guy now so all my devices sync which makes life even better.

posted in: Tablets in Church?

Thanks for sharing. This is awesome info. Im a new, upcoming salesforce admin and I am trying to learn all I can. I want to build a "practice app" for a "pretend" church. I typed in "salesforce church" on Google and this page came up. Very good information. Thanks!!

Yes,  CVLI for most - you will have to double check to make sure that they are covered under that particular licence.  Since your church has the most popular blanket licences, you should be able to cover most of the songs.  

As a church music director, I would hesitate to use a YouTube video to introduce songs.  Having the praise team or choir learn the song is much more realistic.  Because you will never sound like the youtube video, unless you have the exact same people playing using the exact same instruments.

 

Parallax scrolling. Now I finally know what that's called! Thanks.
S.

I used it successfully to manage expenses, sunday service attendance, expenses and a few other items I wanted to track.  I also used it for email marketing via Vertical Responses' 10000 free emails / month.  Post if you'd like more info.  We are no longer running the church (we closed the church plant I was leading), but I am still passionate to see how Salesforce can help nonprofits reach their mission. jb

Understanding who your intended audience is to be will help determine what your web site should contain.  Our focus has been to provide information to both the congregation and community.  Based on our visitation statistics, and comments from members and visitors, our most frequently viewed pages besides the home page has been the weekly bulletin page, followed by "who to contact," then our church activites page.  These pages give visitors some idea of what the church is doing, and what is important to the congregation.

Our site is in the midst of a recontruction itself, so we will be making adjustments to content as well.  A web page does need to be dynamic, so you should be able to review site activies and be able to make adjustments to better serve you congregation and community.

posted in: New Church Website?

Thanks for the info. I just started the 30 day trial period. BTW: though I am well versed with SW usage, I have no background in database, CRM or accounting SW . From what I have seen so far I see we could use it for membership tracking and tithes and offerings. I was wondering if there is a way to use it for tracking expenses and reconcile the books.

Blessings

Matt

Those look good. Perfect timing, as my church is looking at making a change. Thanks for the blog post, and for this particular lead.

I love studiopress, it is SO flexible. I use it on several of my blogs and websites.

Great walk-through!

If starting from scratch still seems a little overwhelming, we would love to help.

Bridge Element helps churches and ministries share the love of Christ through awesome websites that are affordable and easy to edit. 

Check out our designs - http://bridgeelement.com/church-websites

 

Let us know if there is anyway that we can help. 

@Mark, You're right context is make a huge difference. We mainly work with younger churches and churchplants and for them, their website is everything.

We recently did a report on the web activity that we see across all our sites (millions of pages views) Check it out for a little more info. <a href="/%3Ca%20href%3D"http://bridgeelement.com/blog/3-things-visitors-love-to-see-in-church-websites.php" rel="nofollow">http://bridgeelement.com/blog/3-things-visitors-love-to-see-in-church-websites.php"> Church Website Usage Report </a>

One of the most suprising things that we found was that there was a 30% increase in traffic on Sunday mornings and over half of those visitors were on the website for the first time!

It just goes to underscore what Justin said "if [your] church can’t be Googled, it doesn’t exist."

 

 

Thanks Jerod keep these info bits coming.

Quite useful to note and apply

 

Hi Jerod,

Thank you for passing on these tips for more effective use of social media.  I especially appreciate your advice to keep tweets shorter, for easier reading and more interaction. 

Thank you!

--Leon

We are migrating over to Faith Websites which has a feature like this. I wonder if people have advice on how to use it well.

For web hosting check http://www.bigrock.com/. They are providing the most streamlined and cost-effective online solutions. They are an ICANN-accredited domain registrar with successful enabling of over 6 million websites to come live.

For anyone who wants to learn more about how to use Twitter, I would suggest reading Claire Diaz-Ortiz's book, Twitter for Good. It is especially helpful for organizations who want to tweet, but also helpful for individuals.  I will likely refer back to it occassionally as a reference tool as I seek to #twitter4good. 

--Leon H. Johnston

A couple of quick questions. What Operating System are you using? Are you using special calendar software already? What internet browser are you using?

If you have already solved this problem, let me know.

Malcolm

 

 

I'm not sure I have an answer for everything, but here are some thoughts.

I did a quick Google search and found a variety of examples: http://goo.gl/rEjqn.  Most of them are fairly formal.

I've seen other churches that have just included an opt-out line on registration forms for things like Sunday school or VBS.  It was as simple as a couple of sentences saying how you might use the photos and giving on option to not be a part of it.

In general, for adults, you have the right to use pictures that you take on your church's private property without permission as long as it's not for profit.  Of course considerations should always be made for adults with special needs.  

It's never a bad idea for a church to talk about why they want to use pictures.  Whether it's the pastor from the pulpit or something in the bulletin, it's good to explain why the pictures are used.  It helps put a real face to the church.  It shows the congregation in action.  They paint a better picture of God at work than a list of facts.  

Hopefully this helps.  

 

 

Thanks for the tips! Very helpful to get your ideas on how this will practically affect our Facebook presence.

I handle social media for both my ministry work and my other for-profit work. While I understand the need for Facebook to monetize, and don't mind it as much for the for-profit world, it's been frustrating to see that non-profits are treated the same as for-profit businesses when it comes to reduced visibility, even among people who have already opted in as fans by liking our page. 

Hi Jerod. 

Thank you for writing this helpful blog post on getting started on Twitter.  I've been tweeting for about a year now.  I really enjoy it!  I like your angle on service/mission.  How can I serve/encourage others and proclaim the Good News through Twitter?  I'm still thinking about that.  For now, I like to post a #verseoftheday and also reveal (in appropriate ways) the life of a local church pastor.  Anyway, thanks for giving me some things to think about regarding social media. Peace to you! 

--Leon H. Johnston

We've grown up with the technology in some way or other, even myself at 65. In 1980 I walked into the workplace to a computer on my desk top and have watched things evolve as a librarian on the frontlines, as well as, initiating the roll out of social media on a corporate level. 

Sometimes I feel the "world" possibly gets it right. I also have reservations about the insertion of social media into the communal worship/preaching process. 

When you walk into the concert hall, movie theatre, board room, council room, staff meeting, etc. people are required to turn their devices off and engage with heart and mind on the task at hand. 

We may need social media, but I'm not sure God does. Since worship is "communal" and not a lecture, tweeting, etc. to interact with the sermon is probably distracting to both the pastor and the body of Christ.  

posted in: #helphimjesus

It would be interesting to hear from those who have grown up with technology. I'm part of the in between generation (30 something) and I have a much different view of things than I see presented here. I did not grow up with social media. However, I do use my smartphone for reading the Bible, check in with Foursquare when I get to church, and occasionally take a photo if there is especially interesting artwork or something visual going on during worship. I have been to conferences where people are tweeting with a specific hash tag during a main speaker and it actually helps people to pay attention - you can retweet a quote that struck you, read what others are thinking, etc. Multitasking is second nature and rather than detracting from what's going on, it can enhance one's experience of it. 

posted in: #helphimjesus

Thanks Scott for this foray into today's social communication realities.  One of those realities of having people using their smart phones during a service is the ease at which disctraction sets in.  Seldom does one check facebook or tweet for just one specific thing.  There is always the few more moments of quickly seeing what else is going on out there.  I would rather have the phones all left in the purses and jackets and turned off and have a more interactive portion of the message (perhaps the congregational prayer time could be about application in lives of the message just proclaimed, seeking from the Spirit "so, what now, Lord").  Seeing how texting, tweeting, facebooking, all cuts off in-person communication while one is actually doing that, I think the medium tends toward isolating each other at a time that God's people need to be together in the Word.  Seems today, honest and deep in-person conversation is becoming quite counter-cultural.  

Before and after the preaching event has intriguing possibilities, but during proclamation, where the Body meets with her Lord?  He's just not going to tweet back but meet people directly.  Social media in some sense is another mask we wear these days when we interact with others through it.  

That being said, what if during the service of reconciliation, we had opportunity for people to tweet or otherwise in real time write in confessions of sins they need healing from, and then we pray for forgiveness and healing for those things righ then?  Just a thought.

Colin.

posted in: #helphimjesus

Excellent post, Scott. I wonder if the proverbial pendulum has swung from the "sage on the stage" to the "sage in the seats."

posted in: #helphimjesus

Jerod,

I recently had Graph Search enabled for my Facebook account and I would have to agree about one of the issues of Graph Search is a concern about privacy.  

Based off a couple of searches I was able to do find people who liked a fan page that I also liked but I could also refine it down to people who I was not Facebook friends with.

Some of these people and I had mutual friends but for some we did not share any mutual friends  In essence they were complete strangers and the only connection we had is that we liked the same fan page on Facebook.  Previously I could go to a page I liked and only see the my friends who like the same page.  With Graph Search this ability seems to be expanded to everyone who likes a particular page.
 
Perhaps there was a way to find this info before but it does seem easier now with Graph Search. I'm not sure if this is a net positive or net negative thing. There is a greater "discovery" aspect to Facebook now with Graph Search. As you mentioned it all depends on your Facebook user settings, but I think this is opens up a new area privacy concerns that did not previously exist and the majority of people will not be aware of it..

I have just found www.wufoo.com  I think this might be our answer.  Easy to set up a form and the back office looks like it is exportable into Excel.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Pages