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What guidance do children and youth need from parents and the church in navigating the internet?

July 23, 2014 0 1 comments
Q&A

There are so many choices out there. I was wondering if anyone had either used, or could recommend a good Admin software?

July 14, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

The technological side of designing and building a website can be intimidating. But choosing to ignore the web isn’t a smart option. Here are a few reasons why.

July 9, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

Because we know it can be intimidating to try new things (even more so if the results will be published on the Internet) we created two short tutorials that demonstrate the simple steps of starting a new post.

June 17, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

In this webinar, we discuss a multi-media approach to communicating with members and your surrounding community. We look at websites, social media, email, in service announcements and more.

May 21, 2014 0 1 comments
Resource, Video

Are you thinking about creating a new church website with WordPress? This video has 6 things you should look for in a theme.

May 20, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

So many different church website options can sometimes seem overwhelming. These three questions are foundationational for figuring out which option is best for you and your church.

May 14, 2014 0 0 comments
Resource, Book or eBook

Having a hard time keeping up with all the changing layouts of social media sites? Not to worry.

May 12, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

If the change of seasons motivates you to do something new, here are five tips for sprucing up your church website.

April 16, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

How to make the most of Twitter's new design.

April 9, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

I just finished reading Justin Wise’s The Social Church: A Theology of Digital Communication. It was a great book that actually achieved its subtitle’s goal. It created a pretty comprehensive case (practically and biblically) why churches should engage in social media. This has got me thinking about how my church uses social media and in particular Facebook...

February 11, 2014 0 4 comments
Blog

They (whoever “they” are) have been saying for a while now, “The world’s going mobile,” and it sure seems they are right, doesn’t it? Wherever you look, people are peering, or talking, or singing along, or listening as they walk, ride, fly -- whatever. What about you and your church? Are you going mobile?

January 25, 2014 0 0 comments
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Looking back on technology in 2013, tablets were a pretty important item. The first Apple iPad was released in 2010, so the tablets have been around a while now, but it seems to me that they were still quite newsworthy throughout 2013. If not newsworthy, they were at least penetrating more and more into our lives, including our work lives. Have you found this to be true? Are you or those you know using tablets at work? At home? How about at church?

January 14, 2014 0 14 comments
Blog

A new year is a great motivator to do something better. For many of you, church communications is on that list. Looking ahead, here are five areas where you might want to focus your attention in 2014.

January 6, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

As the new year starts, it is also the start (well, restart) of my stint as a guide for the Church & Web Network. What would you like to talk about? I don’t have nearly all the answers, but I can definitely pose questions, find some information or sources of information, and solicit discussion. See the list of topics in the blog - pick from there or come up with your own! Let's talk.

January 2, 2014 0 0 comments
Blog

So, I'll tell you my story, then you tell me yours. This is the story of the trials, tribulations and travails we experienced at my church as we went through the process of upgrading our projection technology. After you read it, I would love to hear your story.  Have you gone through similar trials and travails as you move into new solutions and technologies?

December 9, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog

This is Mavis Moon, signing in again as the guide for the Church & Web Network. Many thanks to Jerod Clark, who’s been the guide most recently. We won’t say good-bye to Jerod because we’ll be reading some of his work as part of the content for the Church & Web Network in the future.  I look forward to connecting with you on anything related to technology and your church. What questions do you have? What topics would you like us to discuss?

December 9, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog

Botnets were created to hack into WordPress sites using brute force attacks. You would be shocked at how many attacks are taking place as you are reading this article. Their goal is to gain access to your site! Let’s make sure you are doing the simple things you can to protect your WordPress site. Here are five simple things you can do...

November 12, 2013 0 0 comments
Q&A

Hi

We are considering using (infrequently) some YouTube videos that have contempory songs put to lyrics...idea is to use them to help the congregation learn new songs with the words displayed on our video screen.

My questions are;

Are there any copyright/licensing...

October 26, 2013 0 1 comments
Blog

Over the last few years, WordPress has become one of the top content management (web design) systems.  One out of four websites today is created using WordPress. Here are the top 6 reasons why WordPress is so popular and why you might want to consider switching to a WordPress platform for your church's website...

October 23, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog

Web design is always evolving.  Aesthetics shift and new technology lets developers create websites that function in different and exciting ways.  If you’re involved in creating or maintaining your organization’s website, here are three design trends you should be familiar with.

September 23, 2013 0 2 comments
Blog

The Juicys are rewarding churches who are doing great communications work.  See how you can apply to recieve a $2000 grant for your next communications project.  

September 18, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog

Facebook announced a new photo-sharing feature that will help you be more collaborative.  Here are three thoughts on how to use this new feature well.

September 10, 2013 0 0 comments
Blog

You’ll often hear people say custom designed websites will always be better for an organization than using a template. There’s an argument to be made for that, but often the reality in many churches is the lack of budget for something custom. A quality template based site can be an option, but it takes work to pick the right one.

August 14, 2013 0 2 comments

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Understanding who your intended audience is to be will help determine what your web site should contain.  Our focus has been to provide information to both the congregation and community.  Based on our visitation statistics, and comments from members and visitors, our most frequently viewed pages besides the home page has been the weekly bulletin page, followed by "who to contact," then our church activites page.  These pages give visitors some idea of what the church is doing, and what is important to the congregation.

Our site is in the midst of a recontruction itself, so we will be making adjustments to content as well.  A web page does need to be dynamic, so you should be able to review site activies and be able to make adjustments to better serve you congregation and community.

posted in: New Church Website?

Thanks for the info. I just started the 30 day trial period. BTW: though I am well versed with SW usage, I have no background in database, CRM or accounting SW . From what I have seen so far I see we could use it for membership tracking and tithes and offerings. I was wondering if there is a way to use it for tracking expenses and reconcile the books.

Blessings

Matt

Those look good. Perfect timing, as my church is looking at making a change. Thanks for the blog post, and for this particular lead.

I love studiopress, it is SO flexible. I use it on several of my blogs and websites.

Great walk-through!

If starting from scratch still seems a little overwhelming, we would love to help.

Bridge Element helps churches and ministries share the love of Christ through awesome websites that are affordable and easy to edit. 

Check out our designs - http://bridgeelement.com/church-websites

 

Let us know if there is anyway that we can help. 

@Mark, You're right context is make a huge difference. We mainly work with younger churches and churchplants and for them, their website is everything.

We recently did a report on the web activity that we see across all our sites (millions of pages views) Check it out for a little more info. <a href="/%3Ca%20href%3D"http://bridgeelement.com/blog/3-things-visitors-love-to-see-in-church-websites.php" rel="nofollow">http://bridgeelement.com/blog/3-things-visitors-love-to-see-in-church-websites.php"> Church Website Usage Report </a>

One of the most suprising things that we found was that there was a 30% increase in traffic on Sunday mornings and over half of those visitors were on the website for the first time!

It just goes to underscore what Justin said "if [your] church can’t be Googled, it doesn’t exist."

 

 

Thanks Jerod keep these info bits coming.

Quite useful to note and apply

 

Hi Jerod,

Thank you for passing on these tips for more effective use of social media.  I especially appreciate your advice to keep tweets shorter, for easier reading and more interaction. 

Thank you!

--Leon

We are migrating over to Faith Websites which has a feature like this. I wonder if people have advice on how to use it well.

For web hosting check http://www.bigrock.com/. They are providing the most streamlined and cost-effective online solutions. They are an ICANN-accredited domain registrar with successful enabling of over 6 million websites to come live.

For anyone who wants to learn more about how to use Twitter, I would suggest reading Claire Diaz-Ortiz's book, Twitter for Good. It is especially helpful for organizations who want to tweet, but also helpful for individuals.  I will likely refer back to it occassionally as a reference tool as I seek to #twitter4good. 

--Leon H. Johnston

A couple of quick questions. What Operating System are you using? Are you using special calendar software already? What internet browser are you using?

If you have already solved this problem, let me know.

Malcolm

 

 

I'm not sure I have an answer for everything, but here are some thoughts.

I did a quick Google search and found a variety of examples: http://goo.gl/rEjqn.  Most of them are fairly formal.

I've seen other churches that have just included an opt-out line on registration forms for things like Sunday school or VBS.  It was as simple as a couple of sentences saying how you might use the photos and giving on option to not be a part of it.

In general, for adults, you have the right to use pictures that you take on your church's private property without permission as long as it's not for profit.  Of course considerations should always be made for adults with special needs.  

It's never a bad idea for a church to talk about why they want to use pictures.  Whether it's the pastor from the pulpit or something in the bulletin, it's good to explain why the pictures are used.  It helps put a real face to the church.  It shows the congregation in action.  They paint a better picture of God at work than a list of facts.  

Hopefully this helps.  

 

 

Thanks for the tips! Very helpful to get your ideas on how this will practically affect our Facebook presence.

I handle social media for both my ministry work and my other for-profit work. While I understand the need for Facebook to monetize, and don't mind it as much for the for-profit world, it's been frustrating to see that non-profits are treated the same as for-profit businesses when it comes to reduced visibility, even among people who have already opted in as fans by liking our page. 

Hi Jerod. 

Thank you for writing this helpful blog post on getting started on Twitter.  I've been tweeting for about a year now.  I really enjoy it!  I like your angle on service/mission.  How can I serve/encourage others and proclaim the Good News through Twitter?  I'm still thinking about that.  For now, I like to post a #verseoftheday and also reveal (in appropriate ways) the life of a local church pastor.  Anyway, thanks for giving me some things to think about regarding social media. Peace to you! 

--Leon H. Johnston

We've grown up with the technology in some way or other, even myself at 65. In 1980 I walked into the workplace to a computer on my desk top and have watched things evolve as a librarian on the frontlines, as well as, initiating the roll out of social media on a corporate level. 

Sometimes I feel the "world" possibly gets it right. I also have reservations about the insertion of social media into the communal worship/preaching process. 

When you walk into the concert hall, movie theatre, board room, council room, staff meeting, etc. people are required to turn their devices off and engage with heart and mind on the task at hand. 

We may need social media, but I'm not sure God does. Since worship is "communal" and not a lecture, tweeting, etc. to interact with the sermon is probably distracting to both the pastor and the body of Christ.  

posted in: #helphimjesus

It would be interesting to hear from those who have grown up with technology. I'm part of the in between generation (30 something) and I have a much different view of things than I see presented here. I did not grow up with social media. However, I do use my smartphone for reading the Bible, check in with Foursquare when I get to church, and occasionally take a photo if there is especially interesting artwork or something visual going on during worship. I have been to conferences where people are tweeting with a specific hash tag during a main speaker and it actually helps people to pay attention - you can retweet a quote that struck you, read what others are thinking, etc. Multitasking is second nature and rather than detracting from what's going on, it can enhance one's experience of it. 

posted in: #helphimjesus

Thanks Scott for this foray into today's social communication realities.  One of those realities of having people using their smart phones during a service is the ease at which disctraction sets in.  Seldom does one check facebook or tweet for just one specific thing.  There is always the few more moments of quickly seeing what else is going on out there.  I would rather have the phones all left in the purses and jackets and turned off and have a more interactive portion of the message (perhaps the congregational prayer time could be about application in lives of the message just proclaimed, seeking from the Spirit "so, what now, Lord").  Seeing how texting, tweeting, facebooking, all cuts off in-person communication while one is actually doing that, I think the medium tends toward isolating each other at a time that God's people need to be together in the Word.  Seems today, honest and deep in-person conversation is becoming quite counter-cultural.  

Before and after the preaching event has intriguing possibilities, but during proclamation, where the Body meets with her Lord?  He's just not going to tweet back but meet people directly.  Social media in some sense is another mask we wear these days when we interact with others through it.  

That being said, what if during the service of reconciliation, we had opportunity for people to tweet or otherwise in real time write in confessions of sins they need healing from, and then we pray for forgiveness and healing for those things righ then?  Just a thought.

Colin.

posted in: #helphimjesus

Excellent post, Scott. I wonder if the proverbial pendulum has swung from the "sage on the stage" to the "sage in the seats."

posted in: #helphimjesus

Jerod,

I recently had Graph Search enabled for my Facebook account and I would have to agree about one of the issues of Graph Search is a concern about privacy.  

Based off a couple of searches I was able to do find people who liked a fan page that I also liked but I could also refine it down to people who I was not Facebook friends with.

Some of these people and I had mutual friends but for some we did not share any mutual friends  In essence they were complete strangers and the only connection we had is that we liked the same fan page on Facebook.  Previously I could go to a page I liked and only see the my friends who like the same page.  With Graph Search this ability seems to be expanded to everyone who likes a particular page.
 
Perhaps there was a way to find this info before but it does seem easier now with Graph Search. I'm not sure if this is a net positive or net negative thing. There is a greater "discovery" aspect to Facebook now with Graph Search. As you mentioned it all depends on your Facebook user settings, but I think this is opens up a new area privacy concerns that did not previously exist and the majority of people will not be aware of it..

I have just found www.wufoo.com  I think this might be our answer.  Easy to set up a form and the back office looks like it is exportable into Excel.  I'll let you know how it goes.

I've used a few different survey tools, and SurveyMonkey is a fine one. Not cheap, but also not terribly expensive if your church will use it a lot.

Another option is Google Forms. It's much more basic than something like SurveyMonkey, but it's also free. And their feature set is slowly improving. For example, they now have page routing based on response (i.e. if someone answers X, show them additional questions. If they answer Y, skip those additional questions). Check it out.

It all depends on your questionnaire and how complicated it is. If you're able to post a link to it, that'd be great to see what it looks like.

Anyone else with experience using SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or other similar tools?

Hi Jim!
You have a couple of options here. First of all, Back To God Ministries International have a program called Church Juice http://churchjuice.com/ who can provide you with a Consultant who will walk you through a process as well as provide some training. So check them out.
Secondly, we at ServiceLink www.crcna.org/servicelink can also work with you in recruiting a volunteer to do this work. We've had a few other such requests and are willing to post it for you. Just let us know.
Hope that helps!

andand  and
 andan  

It can be a great medium....but....

Many insurance companies are requesting that churches (who wish to have "Safe Church" coverage) create a protocol c/w guidelines for "Using Social Networking with Young People".  As "lifted" from a sample policy I've viewed...

"All social networking sites have the potential to allow leaders to communicate with young people on a one-to-one basis.  However, we would strongly advise that any one-to-one communication made via a social networking site is kept in the public eye so as to safeguard both young people and youth leaders. On Facebook, this communication can be  made using the “wall function” and it is recommended that this method is used for communicating with young people individually on Facebook and for replying to private messages which young people may have sent to youth leaders."

Later, the policy recommends:

"The use of instant chat on Facebook, Myspace and Bebo is to be avoided since such communication method provides no log of conversations and could potentially leave a worker open to unsubstantiated allegations."

Users of services such as Facebook should be made aware of how to avoid the thin ice BEFORE they're out walking on it.  I recommend that our CRCNA Safe Church ministry communicate sample guidelines...

By the development of mobile technology WiFi uses is increasing rapidly day by day. Therefore making secure of our personal or official WiFi source is becomes crucial. Thanks a lot for giving out helpful tips of securing WiFi network. I'll look forward to read more interesting and educative posts.

surveillance camera Miami

I would agree with what Justin said. You do have to do some customization since it's not made specifically for churches. I cover what customization I did in my two articles.

We use Salesforce's mass mailing capabilities pretty frequently and it works well. We have all our members in there and can easily select who we went to send mail to. I created a simple template with our church logo and we use that to write messages.

As far as what it can't do, it's not a solution like ChurchSocial or others that are far more extensive in what they include, and specifically created for churches.

Hope that helps!

I have not found a way for it to serve communion or set up our cafe on Sunday mornings.  Sorry, i couldn't resist.  
Core areas that I have wrestled with mostly deal with customization and the time / training / resources needed to customize it to my particular "way" of doing church and what we measure or use it for.

Email-wise -I have not found a connector that it uses well for email marketing and follow up, but as noted above, I have limited time to stretch out and approach it from other angles.

We will begin using it in the short term to manage our bookeepping at the church - I am not aware of all my needs for it, but am  going to try to apply it (in a limited sense) to a Quickbooks like application - Expenses and Donations.  

I'm happy to connect with you off-line about it, too - I have found it extremely helpful for myself as a way to measure and track the things most important to my leadership and way of doing church, mostly because I can customize it to focus on what is most important to me.

justin at wcvc.org

I am searching for a solution for our church (I've already posted elsewhere, and now revisiting this as an option.) 

Here's my question about SalesForce - the price is right, but what CAN'T this program do that churches might need it to do?

Anyone?

I, too, am trying to use Salesforce for our church - if you have any success or are still pursuing it, would you drop me a line?  I'd be interested in how people use it in different scenarios.  Thanks!

When creating and updating websites, good webmasters will work to remove barriers in design as well. Accessible web design is not that complicated, and sends a message to people with visual impairments, "You are welcome at our church."

Amen to that. Especially to your last point.

Facebook posts that include hashtags and tweets that are cut off mid-sentence are equivalent to spam. At best, it says "I have no idea what I'm doing." At worst, it says, "The audience here isn't worth the effort it takes to talk to them."

I'll play along. :) Admittedly, I have not been the best at actively posting to our page, but I did put up a new cover photo earlier this summer that I rather like. Feedback welcomed! https://www.facebook.com/CrossroadsCRC

Great suggestions and ideas. I rather like the cover photos that are a collage of images, a great way to show various facets of worship and church life.

Thanks for the many comments. We are now studying the photos we were thinking of using and identifying those whose faces show clearly, and will seek permission. I am not sure of local law on the use of photos, but I think we can take some reasonable precautions so that we will not mistreat any of our members or visitors.

Richard,

I don't have the answer to your question specifically.  We generally ask for permission for photos that highlight particular people unless the photos were submitted by family (We asked for photos of church life a while back).  We haven't gotten written permission but it might be great thing to do.

I have found some other sources to get good quality images for church websites and other publicity items that you can legally use.  I compiled a list in a blog post I wrote on a different site.  WIll just put a link to it rather listing them all again here.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Brad

Good point Mark.  It's always important to know your audience.

By the way, you're website looks good!  Nice work.

Good article. It provides a great reminder for churches to be excellent in how we present ourselves.

One caveat that is missing from the article is that context makes a huge difference for the importance of a church's website. I pastor a rural congregation where the vast majority (I would estimate 75%) of people don't use email or the internet in general. These aren't just older people who never wanted to learn about computers, these are people who work in fields, barns, warehouses and shops during the day and don't see a need for the internet. So, consequently, the website isn't that valuable to them.

This doesn't excuse churches like ours from having outdated websites, but it does mean that the amount of time I spend working on the website should be relatively small.

(If you'd like to check out our site it's http://sumascrc.com)

Kimberly provides a good link. Best to check with appropriate state or provincial legislation in the area of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation. Signed consent forms by adults and guardians should be standard practice.

Great question Richard.  At my church whenever there was a planned time to have pictures taken; there was a general announcement made to let people know that there would be a photographer taking photos.  I hope others chime in with their experiences at their church.

Richard,

Check out this link: http://network.crcna.org/content/church-administration/photos-church.  I'm sure there's more info about church photos but this can help to get you started.

Sorry for the delay. Here is a link to my google doc 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1odHFUd2zMAMFtzyE3BbeasfHFBuxcKnxw4dk...

It has all my notes including scripts, when I get a chance I will update them to clarify all the steps needed to make a functional system.

Thanks Andrew

posted in: Video Record 101

Hey Pete.  I just talked with a guy from Faith Street today.  I'm really excited to hear what they're doing.  Seems like it's actually helping people connect with churches. 

Andrew, precious greetings. Could you please send me a copy of the script and a how to setup a web server?

Many thx for your labor of love.

Tony

posted in: Video Record 101

Question: Are there any 'template' vision, mission, policy, procedure, legality, guideline etc.  documents out there regarding the whole area of worship service audio-video recording and web streaming (did I miss anything!)?

We'd love to hear from you!!  

Ray

It is surprising, especially since it seems like every church would have at least one budding amateur photographer who would love to volunteer to take some more candid photos. It could even be a fun youth project - images of our church, or something.

Something I've noticed in similar website roving is that churches often use 'stock' pictures of people who look happy enough, but a) looked so professional that they likely were originally ad pictures or studio pictures and b) don't look anything like the people form the church represented.

Jerod, I thought of your article on wireframing when someone I was working with used the software program/app called balsamiq (like the vinegar but with a q instead of a c). If you or someone reading this does a lot of wireframing, this could be a very useful app. And for nerdy people it's very fun! Check it out! :)

Wireframing also keeps everyone on the same page - as they say, "A picture is worth 1,000 hours of meetings with your web developer."

I would definitely say posting through a 3rd party is better than not posting at all! 

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