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There is some library software programs that you can hook up with your churches web site. The softeware I use is called resourcemate by jaywil software. We have not hooked up our data base with the web site because our churches website is not up and running as such to do this yet. It is a goal of mine to get us online. 

Dialogue from the library or such can be done via a blog as well. 

posted in: Library Ministry

Nick, thanks for sharing (haha - pun intended). Looks like you've got some good information and expertise. I've got your website bookmarked.

Ken, this is a good suggestion and I'll definitely see what I can come up with. I have a few ideas already, and some sources for more. Thanks!

Well Mavis, there is one thing that would help people like me. If you have time could you look into vitual worship where shut-in's could particapaite in corperate worship via web connections. That would be pretty cool. Don't waste your time on this if the tech is to cumbersome or expensive. Thanks Ken

Thanks! I'm excited to see what's in store!

Thanks, Ken. Let me know if there's a topic you're specifically interested in.

I look forward to spending time on this network. Our church is looking to update our website and I am sure this will be extremely helpful. Thanks!

Welcome Mavis, I look forward to getting to know you and read your posts.

Thanks

Ken

Jo, this is a good question -- and a good idea. I have a Facebook friend (also my cousin) who has created a Facebook page for her church's library. (It's at: http://www.facebook.com/DCClibrary.) She posts information about new books that have come in and events such as a summer reading program with a prize. You could certainly link the library's Facebook page to your website.

When we redesigned our website a while ago, our pastor put together a section on books where he listed books he recommended for various categories such as Explore Christianity, Relationships, Grief and so on. In our case we connected it to links to Amazon for purchasing the book, but that kind of concept could work, too, for recommending books in the church library.

I've always thought an online book discussion would be fun but any time I've tried, it really hasn't made it. Not to say it can't be done but I haven't seen the magic formula for it yet. The Facebook page can be used for discussions of a sort, and there are other tools such as a Google group for group discussions.

I did a search of "library" on the network and I see you've posted your question in some other forums and have gotten some responses. Looks like you're doing a thorough job of looking for input and ideas. Please update us in the future on how your library ministry is doing.

posted in: Library Ministry

Thanks Ken and Tim. I appreciate it, and I'm excited to see things continue to develop on The Network!

Yes, thanks David! You've made a big contribution not only to The Network but to the use of technology for church ministry!

Thank you, and we look forward to your continued participation as part of the The Network community.

Thanks David for your service. I never personally talked to you but I hope God blesses your future in all aspects.

Thanks

Ken

You're right, Picasa is a great program. I am thinking of doing an article on photo sharing and Picasa is right up there. I especially love the way it quickly and easily corrects red-eye. Thanks for bringing it up!

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!  I would love to have the CRC develope a site like the One Year Bible Journey. It would be awesome to think about reading the same thing as our fellow CRC brothers and sisters at the same time. Commentary  explaining the passage istorically and culturaly and advice for promoting actions in our life  would be a tremendous help. I would love to see ideas such as "this passage speaks about Social Justice or Stewardship" and give ideas about how to put this into practice in our daily life. Imagine if the whole CRC church were reading this at the same time!! Wow.

The Mission Support Committee (MSC) of Ridgewood CRC sends the monthly newsletters from supported missionaries and mission causes to the members of our congregation.  "Blind Carbon Copies" (bcc) are used for e-mail addresses so that they are not disclosed; and all letters are sent in "pdf" form with file sizes less than 1.5 Mb.  The letters are sent by a member of the MSC, with copies to the Pastoral and Office Staff so that "hard copies" can be made for distribution to members without e-mail.

Our current approach:

1. Encourage and ask all organizations and groups which tries to contact us via regular mail to do so only via e-mail and attachments.

2. Keep all incoming mail (except those that are very private), on our gmail account.

3. Allow all members and only members access to the gmail account where they can see all the mail we get.

4. Label all incoming mail appropriately (News, letters, events etc) and put a one liner in the bulletin (ie CRC (Haiti, Calvin College) for all the e-mails we get.

5. Remove all old and expired e-mails and allow one e-mail per organization. Max # e-mails kept are 100 (results to keep items for 6 weeks to 2.5 months)

6. Send e-mails to the congegation only if a member likes to provide some important information that can't wait until the next Sunday. (Error in the bulletin, Health information etc).  Happens about once every few weeks.

7. Keep an information table for items that are printed and sends it anyway rather than e-mail. Happens often if a member is an active member of an organization.

8. Forward e-mails we get to particular people if the e-mail has a very important item for them to actually do something.

Note: we rent our worship area, so we do not have room for mailboxes.

Great Advice!

I know on Facebook you can really drill down to who your ad get's displayed too. In addition to choosing users from your area, can you choose user's that Like your page or another page?

David,

This really rocks.  While we do have a very good website, we've created a FB presence and want to use it more.  This will really help.  I've seen some pages like World Vision on FB and it is an excellent example of how you can design a very attractive FB page.

Just a note, I decided to try short spurt advertising on FB.  I created two ads and ran them for only two days each.  One was for our theology pub meeting  and the other for Sunday morning worship, especially because I was starting a new sermon series.  I targeted specifically for our area and "voila" we attracted new people from both our ads.  And the cost was very minimal -- about $8 each for the two days.

Allen - In addition to Ustream.tv, check out Livestream.com (which is what we've used for the last couple of Synods). They recently launched the ability to integrate a live broadcast into your church's Facebook Page...something I'd like to try for this year's Synod. Tim

David,

I've been thinking about something like this for awhile now and brainstorming all the possible ways to use it.  I just wasn't sure about what platform to use.  I checked out UStream and was pretty pumped at what I found. 

You got my brain going now.  I can see using this in the future at our church just to reach into our community and wherever else.

Thanks for the connection.

Thanks Robert, I do appreciate your openess.

Warning, I have a vested interest in this answer, but I'll offer it anyways.

Faithwebsites.com is a powerful and user-friendly CMS made specifically for churches, and modified slightly for Christian Schools. We have over 700 organizations using the system, and many CRC churches and Classes. Monthly hosting and support starts at $35/mo.

You can contact me for more information, or check out faithwebsites.com

Blessings!

Bob

Thanks Mavis and Nathan for the suggestions.  I just wanted to add that if anyone is thinking about using Google Apps for their church, Mavis wrote an article about How to Start Using Google Apps on the Chruch and Web Network. Check it out.

For hosting, I highly recommend www.justhost.com , which is the cheapest I've found (yet reliable). I also often use www.000webhost.com , a completely free(!) host, for test sites I'm developing and for small sites for freelance clients. In my experience its uptime is not as good as it claims, but for small sites it's a good option--it's free up to 1.5GB of storage, which is plenty for the majority of church websites. This is the only free host I know of that does NOT place banner ads at the top of your page. (They try to sell you on switching to their paid hosting via www.hosting24.com, which is another fine option; no better or worse than justhost, bluehost, or godaddy.)

For a content management system, WordPress is the best, but for more basic, user-friendly options, see http://designm.ag/resources/simple-cms/ .

I'm working on a simple, basic, WordPress template for church sites that I'll offer via creative commons; contact me if you'd like to see what I have so far.

Google Apps is probably a good option for churches too.

Hi Marieke,

I used the regular (NOT the non-profit) package. I checked out the non-profit version but found it didn't work the way I wanted. If I remember right it kind of combined persons and households, and it seemed geared toward large non-profits who are tracking donations from companies and that kind of thing, rather than the way I am using it as an internal directory of our households and people and their offerings.

Mavis

I just came across your articles and I am intrigued.  I was going to try the free trail but there are 2 option - one labelled the Non-profit starter package.

Which one did you start with to customize for your church?

Thanks, Marieke

Thanks for sharing. That's a great resource.

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

You're welcome, Ken. (Although Tim is the one that deserves the credit) It's always nice to get encouraging feedback.

As you know, the purpose of the captchas was to keep spammers out, but it was a pain for our real users and the spammers were getting through anyway. Now our system is a little bit smarter. :)

posted in: Thankyou

I always felt like a navel aviator with capcha. It was like after a mission or comment post I still had to land on the carrier(Get passed capcha) before the job wwas done(posted)

posted in: Thankyou

Karen, we use www.squarespace.com. You design the whole thing online so you don't need software. It's got lots of templates you can choose from and change to look how you want. You can do most everything with "what you see is what you get" but you can also use raw HTML if you want. There are videos and excellent documentation, plus tech support via email that they usually answer within around 10 minutes. I think it's a great solution.

Our website is www.sjcrc.org or if you go to squarespace's site you'll see samples. Email me if you'd like me to set up a web conference and I'll show you our site in detail.

Ranmavmoon@moonfamily.cc
Mavis

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

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.

You did not mention Picasa. I use this application a lot to post and share photos. You get 1 Gb of free storage, and you can buy more. You can download the Picasa program, and it rapidly organizes all the photos on your computer. You can share all or some with whoever you want, and these can be in high quality. It is better than Facebook in this regard.

Also, a comment about gmail. I use Yahoo mail, and have not changed to gmail because I don't want to change my address. But gmail has a lot less pop up advertising, and is cleaner.

Hi Thomas,

If I understand your question correctly, the answer is yes.

Do you mean that you'd like to host your church website with another provider and still use Google Apps and GMail? That actually is what we do. When people go to www.sjcrc.org they see our public website. People wanting to log in to their Gmail or Google Apps go to a different address, or use the link I put on that public website.

For both things the domain name can be the same, so your Gmail addresses would have the same domain name as your church's website. When you set up Google Apps, if you already own a domain it will prompt you to do some steps that prove you own and have access to that domain, and then you can use that domain name for your Google Apps and Gmail.

Hope this helps.

Mavis

Thanks for the informative article. I have a follow up -

Can you have the website hosted with a different provider (considering Advanced Ministry CMS) and email with Google (through Apps for Non-profit)?

Thanks and appreciate your feedback.

God bless-Thomas

If your not streaming to the public and it is for educational pupose, it is ok. People also don't look good going after church;s with lawsuits. By the way has anybody questioned the need for copyrights for material that is supposedly designed to help people find Jesus? I'm sure glad God didn;t copyright the Bible.

I was\am not too familiar with "fair-use."  After reading through the Wikipedia article, I did a little additional searching.  There is an artcle on this up at the US Copywrite Office web site, http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html as well as another helpful article at the Stanford University web site, http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/.  These make me lean more towards the idea that there may not be as much latitude on this.  The proof in such a case seems to reside with the defendent.  This means anyone who see's something of their work that was streamed without prior consent, could take you to court, even if they knew the case was "iffy." 

I think I'll need to do more research before we start streaming anything.

Hey guys, What your talking about is fair-use of copyrighted materials. YOU ACTUALLY HAVE A LOT OF LATITUDE with fair -use. Go to wikipedia under fair- use it explains how it works in the USA and Canada. Basic rules are not written in stone, but are based on common sense.  Wikipedia is completely free so Quote away.

To be honest, it is still not clear to me ho the laws work and it may be different in USA compared to Canada, which where we are. Currently we record the entire service. Members can get a copy on CD/tape/mp3 upon request. The sermon part is posted on the internet. We currently do not post the entire service behind username/password anylonger and it seems to be OK. I am to afraid to run in to trouble with copyrights etc.  You can see it at www.fellowship-church.ca

I've been thinking about the copywrite issue.  Do the requirements change if you don't do a general broadcast, but only do one that is available to members through a login\password?  If the goal of the webcast is to reach a broader community, both local as well as remote, then getting whatever licenses you need makes sense.  However, if you are limiting your broadcast to a selected audience, your shut-ins for example, would you need to meet the same requirements?

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

posted in: Member Only Section

[quote=al.kuiper]One more tip: use 72 dpi resolution for web display. For printing, link to the high-resolution version at 300 dpi.[/quote] Actually, you can set your mind at ease about this one! When creating web images, DPI doesn't really matter as there is no such thing as an "inch." A pixel will be different sizes on different monitors and browsers don't account for that when displaying images. So if your thumbnail is 150x150, it will always display at that size regardless of the DPI setting.

Admin Note: Closed because this topic is already being discussed here.

posted in: Captcha

One more tip: use 72 dpi resolution for web display. For printing, link to the high-resolution version at 300 dpi.

How about live video feed of the service on the net to member shut-ins? You could take this to you tube also which would be a great way bring the Word to internet masses.  Another is a closed church net (The World) like my wife's clinic uses in the medical field.  Thanks for the dicussion.

great idea! I know friends who are expecting would love this, so I'm not sure this really fits under "deacons."

Love the concept of common.org

Try http://www.christianvolunteering.org

I haven't used it, but have heard others who were very impressed and pleased.

At Synod, I heard about a competing service being run by a relative of one of the delegates (if I remember right). It sounded like that service might have some advantages over theCommon.org and it would be nice to be able to compare them. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the other site. Does anybody know what it might be?

I think that amateur photos are fine, as long as they are in focus! Candid shots make it seem more authentic. 

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