Some things never change. Fostering relationships involves building trust, developing rapport, and sharing experiences. But some of the tools for accomplishing this have changed. This is especially true when using technology and the web to accomplish this with kids and young adults.
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Who doesn't love a good deal? There's that shirt you found hidden on the clearance rack or the coupon you used at the restaurant for dinner. In the same way your church can get deals on technology services and software. Is your church taking full advantage of all the available discounts and freebies that it can?
Over the last year I have had the chance to share with you what's on my mind, write some useful how-to guides, and even almost go off on a couple of rants. I've enjoyed the chance to share these items, hear your feedback and try some of your suggestions myself!
Years ago my church switched from mailing church items (newsletters, flyers, forms, and more) to putting mailing a mailbox at the church where with the idea that each home could pick up their mail each Sunday. This took a lot less time for church staff since they didn't have to stuff envelopes and address labels, and they didn't have to pay postage.
While it is easy to debate the importance of some social media sites like Linkedin, Myspace, and Last.FM for connecting with your community, I believe it's almost impossible to argue that Facebook is an important platform to use in communicating and connecting. Church Marketing Sucks explains how and why to connect with your church through status updates on Facebook.
If you have any doubts that technology is helping people and communities in ways that haven't been done before, check out this story. A preacher cancelled the Sunday worship service because of inclement weather. However this didn't stop him from having a service since he streamed the service from his house onto the church's website via Ustream.
An advantage to working in a large office or in a large company is that you are usually part of a team that has overlap in responsibilities or knowledge. This makes it easier to collaborate and to seek out advice and ideas. Unfortunately this isn't the case in most churches which makes it more difficult to get fresh new ideas, and sometimes just get it all done! Here are some great resources if you're stuck.
Imagine having an additional source of funds to help your church. On top of that, imagine you don't even have to do anything once it's setup in order to receive a check each month. You could do this by adding text or banner ads to your church's website which could bring in money that could be used to help pay bills, fund programs and more
My previous blog post focused on using Google Voice at your church to minimize costs, and provide important features, especially in small churches. Now we'll talk about ways to save money and provide functionality usually only found in large telephone switches (PBXs).
If you are part of a small church or even run one, there's many ways that you can leverage technology to save money, be more efficient and provide consistent service at the church. This is part one of a two part blog post focusing on telephones and telephone service to help your church. This first part provides tips to using Google Voice at your church.
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. Services like Google Calendar allow you to embed a calendar easily into your website. ..
I'm sure at some point various titles of blog posts or articles on different networks have piqued your curiosity and caused you to click to read the full post; it has for me. Even though this Network focuses on your church's website and online presence there are some posts on different networks that involve areas relevant here. I'd like to point out several different posts that would be valuable for you to read, or would be great areas for you to provide your insight and experience.
Do you expect your website visitors to know how to do Boolean searches? What about expecting them to search your site using the built-in search tool of your CMS? To help visitors search your site, you can use the power of the big search engines (Google and Bing) to provide custom search boxes for your site.
One of the most common reasons to visit a church's website is to find the church's address, worship times, or phone number. In fact, it is probably on the home page of your website so that it is easy and quick to find. It should not only be listed on your website but on Bing Local Listings, Google Places and Yahoo! Local as well.
Even if your church doesn't have a website or will never start using Twitter or Facebook, I'm sure your church records sermons. With tape players obsolete and CD players common, it would be good to make the switch to recording your service digitally if you haven't yet. Not only will this be more compatible with your church listeners, but will allow you to easily podcast your sermon.
A while ago I wrote an article detailing several items that every church website should include no matter the size of their church or website. Mick Mel's recent post "Don’t be like a “University Website"" details many of the items I mentioned along with several items that are unnecessary on your church's homepage. Most of the items are aimed at presenting a good impression for your church, but also help with not frustrating return visitors.
More and more software programs are becoming available online or 'in the cloud'. Currently, there are several popular services like Google Docs or now Microsoft Office Web Apps that make working in the cloud advantageous. Recently, Intuit unveiled Quickbooks Online which allows an organization to manage their books, run reports and more online. Now those who keep track of the church's finances and books can do so in the cloud.
Another simple and quick way to add value to your church is to have email addresses at the church’s domain. Many times church staff or leaders create email accounts with the provider of their internet service, or through free providers like Yahoo (Yahoo email), Google (Gmail), or Microsoft (Live Mail, Hotmail).
Over two decades ago Nike coined the phrase "Just do it". While this has taken on numerous meanings, the original meaning still rings true: even if it's not going to be perfect or close to perfect, just do it anyways. If you are waiting for the perfect moment and for everything to come together perfectly, it's probably not going to. Instead, take the first small steps, and go from there.
Look up; at the top of the window. Up in the address bar is the URL of this website. Have you looked at the addresses that your website is using? Your church is probably using a system (CMS) that automatically creates the URL for a page based on a template. Usually the default is for ugly unusable URLs. However, with most of the popular CMSs there are options to change the way URLs are structured.
A month ago Blizzard (a video game developer) announced they were going to require users of their online forums to use their real names with a hope to reduce trolling, flame wars, and other non productive comments. This was a bold move by Blizzard which shows the severity of their problem. Immediately, many users complained, and Blizzard ended up cancelling this requirement.
Not only is there a sample bulletin announcement and other ideas on this page to spread the word about The Network, but there are two images that you can post on your church website. This not only showcases your support of The Network, but helps us get the word out so that we can add to the number of voices on the site and share the knowledge and wisdom for the many different roles in a church.
Endless solutions exists to make your church run better, faster, and more efficient. As with any solution, there's a trade off between using a new technology since it's faster or cheaper, and the usefulness of it. Dan Hotchkiss explores the difficulties associated with new technologies and the shift to digital in an article from The Alban Institute, titled When to Adopt New Technology
Ever wonder what operating system other churches are running on their servers? What they use for email? What solution other churches use for their staff intranet? What their IT budget is? The Church IT Survey is a survey that provides responses for these questions and forty others from over 150 churches.