What's Going on? Using Google Calendar on Your Church Website

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There is a feature that almost every church has on their website, is difficult to navigate and doesn’t integrate into other services easily. This feature is a calendar or listing of events. Usually using the features built into a CMS or other platform on your website integrate well and provide an adequate user experience, however most calendars do not. Services like Google Calendar allow you to embed a calendar easily into your website. 

On a church website the calendar is the most updated page. With a Google Calendar embedded on your page, staff do not need to learn how to update calendars in your CMS, but can use the very user friendly interface of Google Calendar. In fact, if your church uses Google Apps then they will be used to using the calendar since they update it the same as their calendar and anyone can be delegated to make changes to the calendar. Allow, it’s easy to print the calendar, and can be subscribed to through Microsoft Exchange and all smart phones.

To embed it in your website, create a calendar in GC and then click the calendar name in the list on the left side and click on Calendar Settings. Here you can grab the code to embed on your site or customize the color and other settings. Below the Embed section on the settings page is the address for the ICAL feed which allows users to subscribe to it all smart phones, or any Microsoft Exchange compatible platform. Would having your church’s calendar of events on your phone or computer next to your own calendar cause more involvement? It definitely would for me!
 
If you're church is using Google Calendar, provide a link in the comments so others can see how this works!
 
This is blog post in the continuing Feature Focus series. This series provides you with quick tips on how to refine your church’s website and online presence. Look for these posts about every other week and visit this Topic for a list of past Feature Focus posts.
Posted in: Church & Web; Blog Photo courtesy Google - http://www.google.com/calendar Image: See Credit

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We use Google Calendar for our church web site (calvin-crc.org), but when I looked at Google's options for embedding the calendar there was nothing that really integrated well with the site's minimalist approach. The HTML provided by Google wasn't very customizable, both in specifying what data to pull and how to show it, and it didn't support the hCalendar microformat. Supporting the microformat was important to me because it makes it easy for search engines to find and link to our events, making it more likely internet users would be able to find our information.

Consequently I wrote a Javascript library, UpcomingJS, that talks with Google Calendar to get the list of upcoming events but displays it on the web page in a very flexible format. The library is very easy to use, as most sites can get up and running in three steps. On the other hand, it is also customizable, making it very easy to integrate the generated list of events into your existing site.

Thanks for sharing. That's a great resource.

I like that you still make the full calendar and iCal feed available on the bottom. 

We are trying to get our calendar up right now, and it's still a bit rough around the edges, but you can check it out here:

Crossroads CRC website - http://www.crossroadscrc.com/Church_Life/calendar.htm

One of our members implemented this at the Christian school in our area, so we were inspired to try it ourselves. Their calendar is here (and not so rough around the edges!): http://www.calvinchristianescondido.org/calendar.htm

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