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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.

August 2, 2010 0 6 comments
Discussion Topic

Yesterday we added the Facebook widget as a slide on the CRCNA home page. It still throws me for a loop when I see my friends on CRCNA.org (when I'm logged into Facebook, that is). But it's certainly attention-getting - and that was the point.

Most of the work was in getting the design...

July 27, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

The Christian Reformed Church wants to assist your smaller church in utilizing technology effectively and efficiently so that you can focus your energy on growing your church instead of figuring out how to operate equipment. To do this the Sustaining Congregational Excellence (SCE) program established two grants, the first provides up to $1,000 US for equipment in your church. The second provides up to $500 US for training on equipment in your church.

July 12, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

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.

July 7, 2010 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic
I've been thinking a lot about utilizing social networking in ministry and church life. Things are at the point where virtually everyone is connected to some social network (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc). Are we adapting our communication to fit the trends? Businesses of all shapes and sizes...
July 7, 2010 0 6 comments
Blog

Recently I had an interesting experience on Twitter. While it's not revolutionary, it is simple and effective at finding people in your area that have similar interests, are looking for a new church, or just searching.

June 28, 2010 0 6 comments
Resource, Type Not Listed

To show your association with the Christian Reformed Church and its agencies, you can include these logos and graphics on your website.

June 22, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

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

June 14, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

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.

June 5, 2010 0 2 comments
Resource, Book or eBook

This white paper by Church Juice explains 7 key areas to consider when starting or revamping your website.

June 1, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

Two aspects of the web that are driving innovation are collaboration and lowering costs, of which almost any new web service or site provides. Recently Microsoft started the
Technical Preview of Microsoft Office Web Apps
which includes both of these. Office Web Apps (OWA) enable the editing, sharing, and storing of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote files online, through most browsers and any operating system.

May 25, 2010 0 5 comments
Resource, Website

This Flickr group is a pool of images for special events, sermon series and other items at churches. Browse the images for ideas to spice up your marketing material or website.

May 15, 2010 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

There are many functions and workflows that traditionally done by hand were teadious or cumbersome. There are many ways that these are easier and more efficient online or in the 'cloud'. How has your church benefited from transitioning a function into the 'cloud'?

May 11, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

Over the last couple of years it seems just about everyone is either a social media consultant or offering seminars. To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, I wanted to pass along one that I have heard good things about. This next Friday WiredChurches.com is offering a one day workshop on Social Media & Web. The workshop will focus providing valuable content on your site, the best way to present it, and how to use social media for marketing. If you check out their site, look at the other events they offer and you might just come across another one that interests you.

May 10, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

Part of living in community is sharing needs, and abilities. As part of a church community, you probably share these needs and abilities through bulletin announcements, or someone tracking and matching up people to help. While this can be effective for some churches, it can limit the potential of helping each other by limiting it to only dire needs. 

May 2, 2010 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic

We're starting to make plans for Synod and wanted some input regarding the Synod webcast. Specifically:

Should we allow real-time chat? We did last year and it was used a bit.Should we stream it as a Facebook live event (i.e. it would appear on the CRCNA Facebook page)? Anyone with experience...
April 20, 2010 0 3 comments
Resource, Article

Location, location, location. Everyone knows that choosing a great location is crucial when buying real estate. The same is true in the digital world: choosing a domain name is an important choice for a church's online presence. If your church is just starting a website, this is one of the first...

April 12, 2010 0 3 comments
Resource, Type Not Listed

The CRC maintains a list of its social media presence and blogs on this page so that you can easily follow or friend them on platforms like Twitter, or Facebook. Also, you can read the blogs written by different ministries.

March 29, 2010 0 0 comments
Blog

A couple of weeks ago I read an article on the NY Times blog section of their website written by one of their columnists. I was shocked to find the post rife with spelling mistakes. Not only was this distracting, but immediately led me to question the writer’s credibility.

March 29, 2010 0 4 comments
Blog

The privacy concerns that accompanied the announcement of Google Buzz illustrate the importance of scrutinizing every option, feature, and aspect with a rollout on your website. Even though your church won't announce anything that will be as widely used or talked about as Google Buzz, there is a lesson to be learned.

March 9, 2010 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic
One way we at 12th ave. use the internet, is to use skype to communicate with our Missionaries around the world. It is free and easy to use, supports fairly descent video and it is 2 way communications. Use it as a teleconference tool. We did this for the first time tonight we one of our...
March 7, 2010 0 7 comments
Discussion Topic
With the world population nearing 7 billion and given the rate of population growth, it may be that somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of all the people who ever have lived on this earth are alive right now. What a HUGE time in the history of the world for Christian missions!!! The internet has the...
February 27, 2010 0 1 comments
Blog

Remember when websites used to have flash intros (frequently made in Adobe Flash)? Personally, I am glad when websites don't, and get straight to content. What about other websites that are purely flash like most restaurant or band websites? Flash enables a website to have rich dynamic content, however it also has several drawbacks.

February 23, 2010 0 1 comments
Resource, Article

Were you recently appointed or volunteered to manage your church's website? Are you daunted by the idea and not know where to begin? Don’t worry; we will get through this together! While it’s not possible to include all the steps or to predict the problems you will encounter when developing your...

February 15, 2010 0 5 comments
Discussion Topic
I thought it would be cool to have a spot here where we share some great web site components and helpful resources.
February 10, 2010 0 3 comments

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After being spurred on by this discussion to be more careful with private information, we have been posting our order of worship as a publicly-viewable .pdf and the announcements as a password-protected Word document. The password is the same for every week. And it is something that is (hopefully) easy for members of the congregation to remember. Obviously the password-protected Word document (with an simple password) isn't the most secure way to protect private information, but it seems to strike a good balance between being private and being accessible to those who ought to have access. I also delete the documents after a month.

I found no solutions for having a "members only" portion of the site that were easy to deploy with our set-up.

You can see how we've done it here: East Palmyra CRC.

We cut private information out of the site including bulletins, sermons and any other format.

Our bulletin is in a member area which uses a simple username/password that everyone shares. We figure this level of access is the same as someone walking into the Church and grabbing a bulletin.

I've managed the technical side of our site for years and it has gone quite well.

Our church is contemplating the same issues of privacy and what information to include on the website. We are also interested in reducing our use of paper and in sending information electronically to our congregation. I am just learning to manage our site, so I don't know all of the legal or even technological risks involved. My questions are: Do most churches utilize a secure login for their member information area? Is there any reason a church would not want to utilize a feature like that?

Another approach: because we're familiar with Blip.tv, we've just begun uploading sermon audio files there using Blip's quick-and-easy iTunes link on our site--as well as individual MP3 download links. Blip offers straightforward download stats and the ability to upload files via its website, ftp, and a stand-alone app.

I forgot to mention also that if you're going to resize a photo to be displayed on your website make sure you make a copy and don't resize the original.

Ohh, and I love Flickr! Especially now that I have a gps and I am geotagging my photos.

Another great part about Picasa is that it is quite cheap to backup all your high-res photos online using Picasa Web Albums. You just sync your local version of Picasa with your online account. I love not having to mess with DVDs anymore for offsite backup.

I use a free program called Picasa. This allows you to download and share photos very easily when you install their software. It is available at Google.com, photos. When you upload photos they are lower resolution, but you can click on them and get higher resolution. We use this a lot for sharing family pics. Yahoo has a similar program called Flickr.

Someone's been looking at my code!
Thanks for the feedback. I'll take a look.

I would agree with others' comments in regards to this. We do not use Google Apps (Sites, Docs, etc.) as a public portal; it's our internal collaboration tool. It's working well for us and getting better as more people start using it.

Our pastor and the worship leader have become very regular users of Google Docs, sharing a document for planning worship together. They even use Google Talk within that so they can chat as they work together.

Our deacons and elders are using it to share some documents. And I am the chair of our worship team and have shared a folder with the team so that as I create meeting notes or run across articles to share or whatever, all I have to do is put it in that folder and the team has access.

Gmail's been useful, too. I've created some groups such as Council, Deacons, Elders and some other teams, plus an "all church" group we use for important communication to everyone.

As someone else mentioned, the calendar is great and I have made that public and show it on our website. I also have all our various volunteer schedules on Google Docs, as public web pages (no last names, emails, phone #s or anything are used), with links to those from our church website. I've also got a link to the home page on the public website so everyone has just one thing to remember -- www.sjcrc.org -- to get to anything they need.

We use Squarespace for our website and it's been a great tool, easy to use and yet full of features and very customizable. You don't have to install any software, and their support is excellent.

Hope this helps!

Mavis

I would agree about Google Sites. I created our church's website (epcrc.com) with Microsoft Office Live which has significant limitations, but produced a somewhat attractive website easily and quickly. I've played a little bit with Google Sites, but it seems like more of a headache than its worth.

Google Calendar, however, is an excellent tool for a public calendar, I've found. And Google Docs are always useful when collaborating. (We're beginning to use a Google Docs spreadsheet for our worship schedule so that we all have the same up-to-date information about who is preaching, what the offering is for, etc.)

Both Google Docs and, more commonly, Google Sites allows you create 'public' pages. But I wouldn't use it as a public church website. It's not nearly as flexible as even the most basic blogging tool.

Having said that, we use it for our CRCNA intranet (for staff). Because, for that internal site, we wanted staff to have the most convenient access possible and Sites gives us that (once logged into email, they're automatically logged into our intranet - no need for another login).

In rare situations, we'll also make a Google Doc public and link to it from our main site (e.g. small audience, design not important, constant updates needed by staff who aren't trained in our CMS).

So, as a rule, I wouldn't use Google Sites or Docs as a 'real' website. But in very specific situations, it can fit the bill. Hope this helps.

I'm curious, if you're trying to steer your people to your web page, will google apps sub pages take a way from that?
I set up google apps pages for Student Senate stuff at Calvin Seminary the last year I was there, but we didn't have an extensive website like our church does.

[quote=dteitsma]I don't know about you but domains are addictive to buy. I'm up to my third personal domain now. I have several others that I want to secure, but I haven't convinced myself. What about you?[/quote]

Absolutely. I bought two this week actually. Most of them are usually for ideas I get for the next Twitter or something like that, and then I never actually do anything with them. I've gone through a couple "family" domains too. The hard part for us Dutch is that we've got all the tech-savvy Netherlands folk fighting for the same ones.

I'm not too familiar with the details of webcast licensing, but here's a helpful link:
http://www.christiancopyrightsolutions.com/dn2/pt/blog/default.aspx?id=8...

...from the people who sell WorshipCast. I couldn't find anything on CCLI's site about it, which seems strange.

I would be interested in what you find out about the copyright issue. Currently we record the entire service but cut out the sermon, for posting on the web. The only reason is because of copy right challenges. If anyone has more info in regards to this, I would love to hear about it.

We have just started streaming our services via Ustream. We are fortunate in that we have a Tricaster Pro into which we feed video from 3 cameras, PowerPoint slides from the projection computer and sound from the sound board. The Tricaster makes mixing all these inputs feasible. The Tricaster also uses Adobe Flash Media Encoder to stream live to Ustream.

Our experience with Ustream has been good so far. The stream has ads on the lower part of the screen occasionally but they haven't been too obtrusive.

Some of our shut-ins have quickly grown fond of the streaming feature of our web site and have asked us to please continue doing it.

One of our challenges is dealing with copyright issues. Special music often uses pre-recorded accompaniment. We are still researching ways to deal with that.

www.calvary-crc.org

Great input. I skipped my mind about how many churches do have the same name. This definitely makes having prominence in search results difficult.

I don't know about you but domains are addictive to buy. I'm up to my third personal domain now. I have several others that I want to secure, but I haven't convinced myself. What about you?

Great article, David--can't really think of anything I'd add. My approach is to think of my mom and dad. For example, they don't understand the difference between .com, .org, etc. so even though we web people wish everyone followed the guidelines, to them it's not real relevant. If a domain name is good for the non-tech folk, that probably means it's just good.

And you're right about the memorability of a domain. Lots of churches aren't going to be easy to find in Google, especially considering how many duplicate church names there are. It's great if church members can actually pull the address of the site out of memory--not going to happen with first-c-r-c.net.

That said, I'd almost treat domains as if they don't cost anything. $10/year is a good benchmark and it's not hard to get them significantly cheaper than that. That's worth it if it will get even a few more people using your site. If you think people going to mistakenly enter your url a certain way, there's not much downside to registering the mistake and putting a redirect in place.

One more thing--telling the registrar to auto-renew the site can save lots of embarrassment.

[quote=dkklein]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/[/quote]

Duane,

One quick change you could make to improve readability would be to remove the bullets from the navigation menu on the left. This can be done by adding the following line to the file called "maincss.css" in the "css" folder on the web server:

div#left ul li {list-style-type: none;}

Not a big sweeping change to be sure, but quick and easy. If you're not able to make changes on the server yourself, it should be pretty straightforward for anyone who is.

Chris

I have to admit that a friend just emailed me with a spelling error in this post. I knew that I would have a mistake that I would glance over. I knew this would be a dangerous subject to write on because of the strong likelihood that I'd make a mistake.

It's now fixed.

Yes, You're is a common error also. I was hoping that in an article about spelling errors that I didn't make any myself. I think it's clean... :)

I read another article on the Chicago Sun Times and I was surprised there were errors in there too. I would think that newspaper articles still have editors right?

About a year ago, the CRCNA switched to Google Apps for all of our staff (in North America and around the world). It's been a great move!

The search committee here at East Palmyra used Skype to do the initial interviews with me and other potential pastors. From my end, it was a much better way to meet the committee than a simple phone call, and I know the search committee found it very helpful as well.

You could have also thrown "You're" in the title - that's one of my favourites (and no, that's not a second typo, I'm Canadian ;)
Our website has a similar mix of staff postings so I've tried to review the site every so often to see if I can spot any typos. We have a date stamp on pages so I'm hoping to use that to see who has updated things recently, once I've done a good sweep of the site. Thanks for the article.

Dave, your title is very clever! I like it.

Actually, I've updated it quite a bit now--it's better, but still needs work...., http://www.zioncrc.ca

Good recommendations. I'll add some of these to the resources on the Network.

posted in: Handy Web Resources

Great question! I know there's some sites like this, but I can't remember them at the moment. I'm going to have to do some digging to remember them.

I know there's some good video series that aim to do this but aren't online.

Good ideas. I was thinking along the same lines of featuring a new website each week and point out some interesting/intriguing features. I'll have to start planning this out.

Your second idea would be someone that benefit from collaboration all across the CRC. Maybe we could start another topic in the forum for this? Especially with Easter I'm sure people have a lot of media projects that they're preparing.

We decided to put our bulletin on our website protected by a username/password which members are aware of. We figure this level of security is the same as someone walking into our church and grabbing a bulletin.

http://www.inglewoodcrc.org

Be sure to check into Ustream.tv (or Watershed, their ad-free paid version) or LiveStream. The latter is what we've used for the Synod webcast the past couple of years.

Both are easy to use and have free versions. So you can just sign up and test it out with your camera. If you have a USB-enabled camera that will stream (my 6-year old Sony camcorder does it, so I imagine many do), you can try it out at home before trying to figure out how to patch in the church audio, etc.

Both allow for recording content and downloading it after it's been recorded. If you decide to use a paid service and the archive hosting fees are too expensive, consider downloading and re-uploading to a different service (we use Blip.tv for the Synod archives for that reason).

Ustream even allows you to webcast from your iPhone. My dad did this for a funeral so that overseas family could 'attend'. Sounds crazy, I know, but to those people it meant the world.

Any other churches using Ustream for their services?

I had started looking into this a few years ago, but dropped it when other items came up. I had written a note to a neighboring church who does a healthy amount of media work and asked him about how they have their media streaming service set up. He sent me an e-mail which I have pulled pieces from and list below.

The basics seem to be if you want to host this yourself, or use a service. You will need an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to make you basic connection, and the ISP may be able to do the hosting of the web site, or help set up the streaming. Any way, here is a part of my neighbors response:

Live streaming is really not all that difficult. Here are the basics:

·You must have a source. Audio is easy since most churches have some sort of PA system already. Just tap an output from it and plug it into your computer. If you want to do video as well, that requires at least one video camera that can connect to the computer. Most modern digital video cameras have a usb connection that will send the live picture to the computer.
·You will need a computer capable of audio (and video if you do video) input(s) and a high speed connection to the internet. For audio, the computer need not be especially fast. For video, the faster the better.
·You need software to receive the inputs and compress them and send them streaming. Here are two choices, RealNetworks program called RealProducer or the Windows counterpart. More information on this can be found at RealNetworks program at www.realnetworks.com .
·Finally, you need to contract with a service that will receive your compressed upload and rebroadcast it to your subscribers. There are a bunch of folks offering this service, for example, www.streamguys.com.

The alternative to using a contracted service is to load the Helix broadcast server software on your server. Helix is another RealNetworks product.

As far as archiving, the RealProducer software can be configured to not only broadcast, but to also save a file to the hard drive, at the same time. This file can then be used on your website for streaming recordings. The easiest way is to just provide the file as a link and it will download and play on your user’s computers.

Now, if you do not have your very own server with administrative rights for the website, but are contracting with an ISP or something, you may not have the option of loading Helix on the server. In this case, I think you can contract with the ISP or your streaming service to stream your files for you. Having your own server is cheaper and better and just a matter of setting up a computer with Apache and Helix and maybe a mail server like Mercury and your all set.

I am checking with both the web hosting company and my ISP to see what services they can provide or recommend. I'll post what I find!

We used it in church to communicate with missionaries a few times. It was great when one of them asked "Is my grandma in church today?" and the in-sanctuary camera swung around so grandma could blow her a kiss.

It has been very well received and a great communication tool.

Hi Duane,

Our church too is starting the research for the tools, software, and methods to stream live audio and video on the web. We are also reworking our website (not evident on line as yet) so that it is more of a a portal to our community of faith and would like to include podcasts and RSS feeds.

Our technology budget is not large and so we are trying to get the most for the least.

If you don't mind, could we share our research so that each of us doesn't have to spend inordinate amounts of time on this phase?

Thanks,

Greg B
Third CRC Administrator
www.third-church.org

When using skype it helps to have a hi speed connection on both sides. If you have a projector for power point, an internet connection, I use wireless, and a way to hook into your sound system, you can make this work for you.
The next conference I want to do is with a Missionary in West Africa. When I get done I will leave feed back on how it went.

Mike

Hey Dave......

I'm sensing that we need some real "lightening rod" topics to keep people's interest in this here "Network", so I have a suggestion for you.

What if you hosted a first-annual CRC web design Awards? Any church or official CRC office could be entered. If you didn't want to page through the hundreds of them, you could simply ask for nominees. Then, maybe allow people to vote, if the Network is capable of polls?

You could also do something like this for church-produced media projects, like short films or advertising schemes that are virtual in nature. Something like an online film festival?

Just a thought.......sounds like it could be some good iron-sharpens-iron stuff.

It seems like I've been seeing "via Skype" more and more on the major broadcast networks. Especially in crisis situations (e.g. Haiti) but even for regular interviews. We're thinking of using it to enhance some of our CRC news stories as well.

For real-time video conferencing, I like a combo of video chat for the visual and a plain-old-telephone for audio. At least that's what we use with my kids and their grandma and grandpa :-) Audio blips/delays/echoes are terribly irritating. But if you've got good audio, the video is a sweet bonus.

I've been thinking about something like this for our church too. It would come in handy sometimes especially with our missionaries in Zambia and Nigeria and elsewhere.
What type of webcam is best? Or should I ask, if even the cheap $20 webcams work well?

While I haven't seen it used in a service, I have seen it widely used. I've used it personally in my small group to include a member in our meetings who was in China for several months. I seen / heard about churches doing this, but it was either recorded or they used satellites (that was at Willow Creek)

Also, TWiT is a popular tech podcast network that conferences their hosts in via skype.

It's crazy how you used to need a satellite uplink or other means at huge costs now I can use Skype for free!

When we decided to re-do our website we looked for this type of solution, one that was all on the web and did not involve any installation of software. We also wanted this setup so that a member who is more technical and knows web design could login to do more advanced things, while I, knowing less about web design, could do the bulk of the work.

We narrowed it down to either Squarespace (http://www.squarespace.com/) or Gutensite (http://www.gutensite.com/), both of which we'd seen used by other churches whose websites we liked. We ended up going with Squarespace because it seemed to offer a little more flexibility. It's worked really well for us.

Mavis Moon
San Jose Christian Reformed Church

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.

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