Member Only Section

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I'm wondering what other churches post on a "members only" section of their church website.  Online directory? Prayer updates? Bulletin? Newsletter? Any other suggestions?

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Schedules - volunteer schedules for greeters, coffee, nursery, children's church, sound booth, etc., etc.

We've kept part of our bulletin, namely the schedules and the prayer concerns, on the 'members only' section. However, many people forget their passwords or find this too cumbersome, yet I'm reluctant to put the entire bulletin on the public website. Does anyone else put their entire bulletin on the public site, and if so, have there been concerns about privacy, etc?

Wendy, we do post our entire bulletin on the website and have been doing that for several years. Before posting it, we delete all last names (replace with last initial) and all personal contact information except for official church contact info.

I have been creating the bulletin myself for the past year or so and have found it pretty easy to quickly do this "scrubbing" before saving it as a .pdf and posting it to the web. A couple regular items in the bulletin that include last names (such as a listing of our elder-deacon teams) I just copy and paste the scrubbed version in each time. As I create the bulletin, any time I'm putting in contact information, I try to put it at the end of the announcement so it's easy to find. 

It seems to work all right.

We've just always posted our entire bulletin online. Never had any complaints or issues about privacy, maybe it's just a part of our culture, but I think if it isn't made a big deal of, it'll probably never come up.

 

Personally, I don't like members only sections. It can be a tough issue because I feel like churches are being exclusive to outsiders. 

I find that prayer updates are best sent through email. People aren't frequently checking the church website, but they do check their email!

Also, bulletins can be helpful for visitors to look and what your church is like and what events occur. 

I can see where it might sound exclusive even though it's not meant to be. Our bulletins are not in the members only section. Our members only section has links to volunteer schedules and some other parts of our Google Apps pages which would be of no interest to non-members but are a handy way for members to get to places they need to without having to remember another separate website url. We could be more subtle, maybe, with just one "Members" or "Login" link or something.

When we redesigned our website three years ago we really struggled with this issue.  In the end, we decided that the privacy of our members needed to be protected in many cases.  Therefore, we have a "members only" section (called MY FCRC) ... for meeting minutes, our "focus" section of the bulletin (which contains names, phone numbers, e-mails and other things that should be kept private), budget reports, our prayer line (again, some private information).  I disagree with the statement that e-mail is best for prayer updates ... I don't think there is a "best" anymore.  For a lot of our membership, e-mail is best; for others, the webpage is best; for others, an unpublished phone line with a recording is best.  In March, for example, we had 114 visits to our member-only Prayer Line webpage -- I don't know how many people that represents, but that's between 3 and 4 visits every day -- all by our church members (since it requires a log-in).

We just updated our website, hoping to make it, primarily, a site for visitors ... there is plenty of stuff there for visitors: our bulletin (i.e. our order of worship), pictures, videos, our history, our ministry plan, our floor plan, most of our policies, etc.  But, we also wanted to have a member section for communication purposes.  See www.friendshipcrc.org.  Also, our website stats for Jan. thru March of this year can be viewed at http://www.friendshipcrc.org/files/Misc/jan_mar_2011_website_stats_summary.pdf  I think it's a good idea to know what your web traffic stats are -- we've been surprised at what gets looked at and what doesn't.  It's often good to have data.

Every church's situation will be different, so it's good to hear the different ideas and thoughts on The Network!

FYI, I would recommend FaithConnector if you want some good Content Management Software for your website.  Easy to use.

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