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A little shameless self promotion here: There are several hosting/content management systems available as well. They combine the software, the hosting, and all of the ad-ins you mention above (plus support), but in a neat package for a monthly fee.

Faithwebsites is one such package that you can read about on my website www.ministry-tech.net

Bob Felton
Ellsworth Christian Reformed Church

I've used Qik from my iPhone before. It allows you to stream to the web, but also keeps the video available afterwards. The quality isn't the best, but it gets the point across.

Dave, may I suggest we host a discussion on the impact of ICT on society and our personhood? I've read 'The Church of Facebook', Jesse Rice, who's positive on this stuff. Now there's Jaron Lanier's very recent 'Manifesto': 'You Are Not a Gadget'. Whoa! Very sobering for me, an ICT enthusiast like most on this blog!

PS can the web people automatically collapse these text boxes to fit the size of the reply? There's a lot of emptiness to scroll through! Just a suggestion, thanks.

I'm almost embarrassed to give you the URL of our church web site (www.covenantcrc.ca ) but it works- sort of!
It's become the 'go-to' source for our church members.
Using Dreamweaver (a.k.a 'dreamwrecker'!) two of us faithfully upload the bulletin and other stuff and have done so for the past three years.
But it's time to move on and get something dynamic and this is under way.

Also, our Council has adopted the use of Google Docs, and that's working extremely well. Gone/going are the thick binders that would get passed (often not!) from retiring to incoming Council members.

Slowly, we are 'ascending on the clouds'!

Yes, used the http://www.ustream.tv/ in Dec 2009 from my laptop to stream a local church funeral to relatives in Europe. It worked well and the overseas family was delighted to be able to share in real time.

I could have used my iPhone (that works well too) but was concerned about the quality of sound/video etc.
The only problem with http://www.ustream.tv/: it does not permit uploading a video afterwards.
Any suggestions about uploading video?

I agree with all of this, but I think the financial factor is possibly the biggest one.

When I worked as a contractor, I saw too many occasions where an organization didn't have the internal resources to maintain its Flash content. Flash development is a very specialized skill. Having Flash on your site means that you will most likely need a Flash developer eventually for maintenance, and they can be expensive and hard to find.

When you consider that most of what Flash is used for can be achieved with what's already possible with HTML/CSS/JavaScript, I think it makes much more sense to go with what will be the easiest and cheapest to maintain.

Our church web site has been up for a few years, and gone through a few changes. Most of the site was written and still maintained with a text editor (Notetab Light.) There are not too many folks within the congregation that have done much web work which means to pass along the upkeep means we need to do some training or consider outsourcing.
It has only been in the past year or two that guests have mentioned that that they found the church and decided to visit because they had found us on the web. Our idea is to provide information to the congregation about what is going on through postings of the bulletin and calendar, and information for the visitor such as our history, activities, and Mission and Vision.
One suggestion for anyone who wants to post calendar events is that you may want to consider Google calendars. We're able to create and post information fairly quickly, and integrate it into the web site easily.
http://www.sussexcrc.org/

A web site can be compared to a church building. Most of the suggestions and advice show how to build a simple cathedral with fancy doors to attract non believers. How about a web site like a house church with limited funds?

Consider: http://fellowshipcrc.awardspace.com/
Cost: $0.00
Accessibility: From any type of computer linked to the internet including slow dial up.
Update process:
-- Any html editor such as Microsoft Word
-- Edit files on own computer
-- upload files by browsing and clicking

"dull"? yes, if you consider text dull.

We use google sites to generate a secure site for members to house directory , e-mail information etc.

New members? well, not likely via the web site but hopefully via invitation by members and signage.

Yeah, ours needs some help. http://zioncrc.ca It's too static, it's too hard for our fairly luddite-ish staff to update, too boring, too ugly... you name it, it needs help.

Your suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Dan.

Our IT director alerted me a Google tool that will evaluate a web page and let you know what is likely to be seen, or not seen, by users.

Here's the main page:
http://browsersize.googlelabs.com/

Click on the blue text "About Browser Size" at the top of the page for more info.

posted in: Handy Web Resources

We're still in progress, but it's slowly coming together. we use slightly larger type because we have a number of active seniors on the web who don't necessarily know how to enlarge the font or web page in their browser.
Thoughts and ideas are always helpful.

we are using the CMS Joomla and will be switching all to K2 component style. right now it is laid out between standard Joomla and enhanced K2

www.alamosacrc.com

As I remember, the Rochester NY site posts the order of worship publicly but the full bulletin only in the members area. That strikes a good balance,

WordPress and other blog/CMS tools also have podcast plugins. I was just looking into that for a friend's podcast, but haven't implemented.

On a related note...I've wondered whether we try to encourage all the CRC pastors/churches to post to a central repository like SermonCentral, SermonCloud, etc Not only does that provide a nice feature set, I think our pastors have something good to offer people who cruise those sites. I haven't researched them enough to be able to promote one vs. another. Has anyone done some head-to-head comparisons?

I've fallen in love with Posterous.com for easy posting; they say you can podcast with it; I haven't tried it but it sounds worth a try for churches: http://posterous.com/faq

Just got this hooked up into our site,
Logos refTag -- shows bible references in a little popup window when you do a mouse over. Great in your blog and anywhere else on your site where you reference scripture. http://www.logos.com/reftagger

Also YouVersion.com has some great badges to put on your site to connect people to the Bible online. You can also connect to it via smart phone as well. It has many different Bible versions to choose from.

posted in: Handy Web Resources

Very good advice. With free image editing software such as PhotoScape, you can resize multiple images very efficiently.

We are working on putting our bulletin on our website, but it will only be visible to registered members as well as anything else "in house" only. We also respect people's wishes to keep their names out of the bulletin or online.

I'd like to know the laws regarding all this stuff. I've heard so many conflicting things I just don't know what is kosher anymore.

It surprises me how often webpage designers/programmers do this. With super-fast internet connections and/or ridiculously high bandwidth, maybe they don't even notice. ...Though it comes in handy if you'd like a copy of the little picture and then discover after saving it that it's at a high quality resolution!

we simply put a note in our bulletin asking those who objected to having their names in the bulletin to let us know, those names are removed. we also tried to bury the pdf file for the bulletin and only keep it up for a couple of weeks. names still come up on searches, but since it only stays on for a couple weeks, the chances of a hit are pretty slim.

it is a difficult subject to discuss, and requests for privacy need to be honoured. different laws between Canada and the US also make it difficult. Canada actually has really strict laws about what information websites can post about people.

not perfect, but we found that very few people actually objected to having their names on the bulletin online, especially for a short period of time.

Interesting topic and a great one for an article.

Privacy / security is a complex problem especially when you consider all the generations in a church.

Thanks for the feedback!

Great suggestion. I added it to my roster of items to post.

There is a lot of wisdom in the article that is worth passing along!

Thanks for highlighting the importance of keeping the website up-to-date. My husband and I enjoy visiting a different church every time we drive out East to spend time with relatives. Last time we found that the summer worship schedule wasn't the one listed on the website for the church we hoped to attend. We arrived just in time for the benediction! Not a big deal for someone passing through, but it would be disheartening for a guest who was looking for a church home.

Dave, nice work so far.

Here's a suggestion: address privacy concerns. I'm thinking specifically of posting bulletins and announcements online. At one church I attended, they used to hide people's full names when items were posted online to protect privacy. We recently had a discussion about privacy at our church, and eventually concluded that since the bulletin is offered publicly in worship, it shouldn't be a problem to post it publicly online.

However, people are likely to disagree about this (especially people from different generations). Some won't care if announcement mentioning them makes its way into Google search results. Others might be angry that their privacy has been violated. Could advice for navigating these concerns be addressed in an article?

Dave, am wondering if you think this article has value, as found in the Alban Institute newsletter this morning: "Faithful finanaces: when to adapt new technology." Found at http://www.alban.org/conversation.aspx?id=8901,

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