Hi everyone,

    We had a website a while ago, but that has deceased at some point and now we're working with a local fellow in making a new church website.  We seem to have a decent handle on what we all want on there, but I was just curious about what have you heard people say was...

August 13, 2013 0 1 comments

If you manage any sort of social media accounts for your church or organization, you’ve probably had that moment where you realized you sent a personal message through a corporate account.  Here are a few things to consider when trying to make things right.

July 22, 2013 0 0 comments

Facebook is rolling out a redesigned Insights analytics for your church page. The first change you’ll notice right away is it’s visually different. Overall, you’ll also have access to more detailed information about your audience.  

July 9, 2013 0 1 comments

Long-term website maintenance seems to be an issue for many churches. A lot of work and discussion go into the creation of a site; yet there’s not always a commitment to keep it up-to-date. When you aren’t thinking about the ongoing needs of you church website, there are plenty of opportunities that are missed.

June 6, 2013 0 0 comments

Using social media well is more than setting up an account and pushing out information about yourself or organization.  By nature it’s relational.  Whether you’re new to social media, or someone who’s been doing it for years, here are five things to consider that could make your online relationships stronger.

May 20, 2013 0 2 comments
Resource, Article

I joined a church just after graduating from college a few years ago and suddenly started receiving emails from a number of people all at the same time. I wondered what was going on and then realized my email was published in the directory.Without giving consent I was immediately subscribed to the church “weekly update”, prayer chain, and social justice club list.

May 15, 2013 0 1 comments

Churches have always had data.  In the 21st century there is more to it than just being able to put address labels on envelopes or send out yearend giving summaries.  Like it or not, churches need to be aware of cyber security issues. 

May 7, 2013 0 0 comments

Visiting your website should feel like stepping onto your church’s physical property. This is especially true when you’re thinking about catering to a first time visitor. 

April 15, 2013 0 0 comments

In upcoming weeks, Facebook will roll out a redesigned, less cluttered News Feed to users, and there are some things your church needs to think about to be ready. While it’s hard to know exactly how the modifications will affect how you administer your Facebook page, here are a few things to consider.

March 25, 2013 0 1 comments

Our church is beginning to use Facebook more regularly, and it is clear that pictures are what members of the congregation find to be of the most interest.  

It is apparent, though, that our church needs to adopt a policy regarding pictures.  So we are looking for more input - especially...

March 13, 2013 0 2 comments

Twitter may not be the biggest social media platform, but it’s growing.  Its short-form, 140-character style of posting makes it a unique arena to quickly communicate with your followers.  If your church is thinking about tweeting, here are a few things to consider as you get started.

March 12, 2013 0 2 comments

There is an art to creating a social media page.  You have header images to make, background pictures to add and content to create before you can even start sharing.  Here's a free guide to help you figure out the sizing of all those different images so you can get the most out of your various social media sites.

February 28, 2013 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Wed, 02/27/2013 It's getting increasingly difficult to reach your fans if you're not in tune with how Facebook works. We'll take a look at recent changes and share some best practices for getting the most out of Facebook.

February 27, 2013 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Managing your church's Facebook page can be frustrating. Just when you think you have it figured out, something changes. It's getting increasingly difficult to reach your fans if you're not in tune with how Facebook works. This webinar will take a look at recent changes and share some best...

February 20, 2013 0 0 comments

Two weeks ago I was privileged to sit in on a consultation on preaching hosted by my colleagues. One theme we circled back to often had to with the use of social media in the preaching event. Many of us who were at the consultation had been pastors of congregations in the past and we admitted to each other that it's an odd thought to ponder someone in a pew Tweeting about a sermon even as we are delivering it...

February 13, 2013 0 4 comments

Last week, Facebook gave a preview of its new search feature that looks for answers by exploring your Facebook experience as well as what your friends have shared. While Google searches the entire web, Facebook Graph Search gives you results based solely on your Facebook social life. It’s personalizing search.

January 22, 2013 0 1 comments

Our church has recently begun using online sign ups via email for various needs. www.signupgenius.com   We have had great success with this.  We are realizing that people are willing to commit to things when then have a calendar in front of them at home.  

We are in the process of gathing...

January 8, 2013 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

We do not have a church web site and we need help to get a church web site started for Community CRC.  We do have an account and name with a host/server for our new wweb site. If anyone is able to volunteer and help us develop a web site for our church-please contact Pastor jim at fwcrc@hotmail....

January 8, 2013 0 1 comments

We may be doing everything right in terms of good communication, great Sunday worship and connecting people with the community, yet personal preference may keep someone from making a first (or return) visit to your church. It’s the classic relationship line, “It’s not you, it’s me.” So if we know that people’s preferences play a role in determining where they go to church, there are a few things I think we should always keep in mind ...

December 26, 2012 0 0 comments

Building and maintaining good, useable websites are a struggle for churches of all sizes. Large and small alike have websites that don’t accurately represent who they are and don’t help people better connect with their church. There are many reasons why websites don’t reach their potential, but here are three things I think churches commonly underestimate about the web.

December 13, 2012 0 0 comments

Managing a Facebook page has become a frustratingly depressing task for many. But like many things we do, managing a Facebook page isn’t easy.  You have to look at how all the features of Facebook work together and also understand the realities of how Facebook fits into your overall communication strategy. 

December 6, 2012 0 0 comments

Are you familiar with the concept of responsive web design? If not, then it may be time to learn a little bit about it. Responsive web design is a new way of building websites that eliminates the need to think about a separate mobile version of your website for each of a variety of platforms.  Instead, you spend time designing one site that works on any platform: desktops, tablets or smartphones.

November 14, 2012 0 1 comments

There's a great PBS short video that explored the art of web design.  It’s not only a brief look at the history of where the web’s been, but also a guide to what’s happening now.  As I watched, nine greats points emerged that I think are useful for both web design veterans and newbies.

October 23, 2012 0 0 comments

We often talk about the importance of a website acting as your church’s front door.  It’s a way to make a good first impression about who you are and what you believe.  Yet often times our websites are full of barriers that keep people from fully being a part of our congregations.

September 26, 2012 0 1 comments

Don't rely on your websites to protect your information – that's your responsibility. Your accounts are all linked because they belong to you and use your personal information, and that can make you vulnerable to a chain reaction. But never fear: there are some little things you can do to make a big difference in your security.

September 17, 2012 0 0 comments



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! 

Interesting - although, when one is managing multiple accounts, and time is  limited, is it better to be able to post through Hootsuite vs. not at all? I've not noticed that posting through Hootsuite produces less engagement, although I did notice that Networked Blogs was awful.

Wendy-while Hootsuite and other interfaces are great to monitoring all of your social media accounts, I recommend posting individually. While this maybe more time consuming, studies have shown significantly decreased interaction when posting from 3rd party interfaces like Hootsuite.

Just looking for some info online on what churches and individual Christians are doing with Facebook.  Wondering about using it to reach out to people in MANY countries all over the world.  Kind of like penpals in the past, but with a distinct spiritual purpose.

Yes, overkill is a concern.  That's why it's always inportant to look at your overall communications plan to see how things like your website, email and social media all work together.  Maybe you don't promote something on every outlet you have.

The multiple posting in one day really is more of a Twitter thing.  A single tweet can easily get lost.

You're right, the last thing you want to do is bombard people.  



To your point about posting the same information several times a day... is there concern with overkill especially if the tweet or fb post is more directed to church members (i.e church potluck this Sunday afternoon at 3).  If the church sent out an e-mail reminder about the same event I think doing that more than once would be too much.  Would the same advice apply to social media as it does to e-mail.

You might have covered this in a  previous post, but I've found Hootsuite to be a great tool for scheduling and keeping up with Facebook and Twitter. There are other social media dashboards that do similar things - sometimes it helps to have it all in one place.

These  are good ideas.  I think stories, pictures and navigation are some key elements. I would add to navigation that getting some statistics on how the site is used can help in navigation. Be sure to get direct links on the home page for the places people most want to see, or put them right out there (e.g. sermon links).

It is a puzzle what to put on the front page, because we want visitors to see what they need there, and to go deeper if they find an easy way to get where they want to go. Some home pages use a minimalist approach -- a welcome note, a friendly picture, and 5-6 choices for navigating to a more detailed page. Others treat the home page a short-hand site map. Get the five main areas out there in front of everyone, and give them some detail sub-links as well. 

Then there is the attempt to get a lot of visitors, so we include Bible Gateway links, a Bible verse for the day, the local weather, and links to local government or entertainment. These are attempts to make a the church's site a portal site. It is labor intensive and maybe works in small communities, but I doubt it works well beyond those places.

Our choices are in part determined by who we think our audience is. If it is newcomers and visitors, we want it to be simple and attractive, and get out a few key ideas and images that say who we are.  If it is our own members, then we want easy-to-find elements of our ministry -- information that members may need. And maybe one can do both, if members understand they have to go deeper into the site to get what they need.

Thanks for this post Jerod - an important topic when it comes to websites that the people take seriously.

I coordinate blogs for a few different companies and guest blog for others.  Generally writing for the web is different that writing for print.  When people read on websites they are looking for content that is easy to digest that they can get through quickly.  I'm not suggesting you write fluff that doesn't change people's lives.  I am suggesting that you make it easy for people to read and understand your writing, especially for complex topics. 

This is done by following some of the suggestions above such as, using plain English instead of abstract Christian language that the average person wouldn't understand without it being explained to them.  Other ways to make your reading easy to understand is by:

- using short paragraphs of 4 -5 sentences maximum, sticking to one point per paragraph

- using clear subheadings throughout so readers can quickly find the part of the post that they are looking for

- using lists to make points easier to follow (for example, this was a paragraph before I hit the publish button, then after reading it I realized a list would be easier for readers to understand) 

- use a compelling title that actually says what your post is about - not something abstract

- enslist the help of an editor, someone who can give you feedback and ask you questions about parts that aren't clear

Remember you are writing for your readers.  The harder your audience has to work to understand the point of your message, the more likely they not finish reading your post, an will click to another post that is easier for them to find the information they are after.

Awesome post, inspiring. 

My church youth group has been using a facebook group for a few years. It is a great way to communicate. However the problem is some people "do not do facebook". So that got me thinking what about the others? My solution was to use a wordpress plugin to read facebook groups and post them on the church website site check it out http://www.terracecrc.org

Thanks Andrew 

Our church doesn't currently have a Facebook page, but the Senior High Youth Group does (https://www.facebook.com/groups/crcssrhighyouthgroup/)  I'd like to know what folks would like to see their church Facebook page do.  Is this for internal chat's with associated friends just dropping in, or is it more an external meeting place?

Jerod have you noticed that when you post links on your Facebook page depending on the image FB will crop the ends of some images that appear on the post? 

Here's a followup story Christianity Today just posted this morning about it.

thanks for the great ideas!


I was really glad to hear Google Apps were free again to non-profits. In case others would like more details, some time ago I wrote an article about setting it up.



As an active Google Apps user, I was happy to see this posting.  Unfortunately, the non-profit program remains unavailable to organizations outside of the US, according to the eligability requirements found here (http://www.google.com/nonprofits/eligibility.html).

Until the non-profit program is opened up to organizations outside of the US, non-US churches may wish to consider using either the free version of Google Apps or paying for the business edition.  Differences between the free and business editions are doucmented here (http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/index.html).  The free edition is likely sufficient for most churches.

This is GREAT news! We have Google Apps at the free level for our church, and it's GREAT! Here's some of the ways we use it (just adding some examples to ways already mentioned!)

- Shared calendars. Our entire calendar is embedded on the church website, but individual ministry leaders have access to their calendar to update events for their ministry. The great thing is that once updated, the changes are immediately visible online, there is no additional step at the church office to keep the website up-to-date.

- Google Docs. This is excellent for sharing documents when more than one person needs to have access or update something, and everyone sees the changes immediately. For example, our Worship Director maintains a monthly schedule that includes everything from each week's song choices to who is serving that week. Our Secretary may access it anytime to update it with the Pastor's scripture and sermon titles, and viewing the information for creating the bulletins. You can set the sharing settings for any single document or group of documents so you know who has access.

- Email addresses with our domain name. All staff have an email address with @crossroadscrc.com. We use the same naming convention for all addresses, so that everyone knows they can reach someone using the formula firstname.lastname @ _________.com.

I work in ministry part-time and in my other part-time job, I use google docs at a for-profit company, so I'm using it literally every day somewhere. Highly recommended. :)

That's right Paul, non-profits get the business account for free.  Sign up information is here: http://www.google.com/nonprofits/.

In general it's good to keep personal and professional accounts seperate.  I'm sure someone much smarter than me could give you all the legal reasons to do it.  Google Apps for Business gives you more administrative control over what people can and can't do with their church email account and helps you have more access to employees data.  Here's some more info: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/details.html

Hi Jerod,

Thanks again for being the guide for this important area.

I have a request that maybe Mavis in a previous post addressed.   The request is more of trying to start a conversation on this site about content filtering tools- for not only computers, but especially for mobile devices that can access the internet.  In our church we desire to recommend or at least give our parents and other adults the links/resources for accessing these fitlering tools.  

Also - some ethical questions, since Apple is very proprietary about its mobile operating systems, is  'jail breaking' acceptable?  Some think that since the Mobsafety Ranger filtering app (for Itouch/Ipad/Ipod) is really modifying the operating system, that this is unethical.    Can we explore this issues?

Thanks again,


Greg Bode

Third CRC, Lynden, WA

Hmmm. Are you saying that churches can get free corporate accounts? Many pastors I know simply use personal accounts and so use all of the services for free anyway. What benefits are there to getting a corporate account? Where would you go to sign up for it? 

Thanks for the help Jerod! pvk

That IS great news! Warm & fuzzy feelings for Google again. :)

Great news, folks. Google has changed their eligibility guidelines and churches may again apply for the non-profit version of Google Apps!

Some links:

Enjoy, and spread the word!

Unfortunately, Canadian nonprofits still can't apply for this. Hope they change that soon! But in the meantime, you can still get started with their regular free version or their $60/user/year paid version.

Welcome, Jerod. Looking forward to hearing more from you. I'm working on boosting our church website, and have enjoyed following the Church Juice blog and the other resources there.

Thanks, Jerod! Great start. Looking forward to following this network with you at the helm.

Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier on this; missed it somehow. If you go to my profile, you'll see a "Contact" tab and you can email me from there.

-- Mavis

Hi Annika,

When I started Salesforce I did lots of training with the videos in their Help & Training site, the Learning Center. The ones under Setup and some under Reports and Dashboards gave me the basics  i needed to get things set up. Their help documentation is very thorough. I also used the little "Help on this page" links a lot as I was working inside the program. 

I also used the Answers section to post questions to the community. It's great the way people are willing to help you out. If I really got stuck, I would open a case. You don't get an immediate answer, but they do respond and work with you.

It sounds like you've got a good start already. Hope things go well.

Thanks for the article!

We just signed up for the free trial with Salesforce and I am learning how to customize the software to make it work for us. The first thing I came across is the need for funds, like you mentioned in your post. 

Do you have any recommendations for training sites? I was able to create an object "funds" and I linked it to "Donations" but this is my first time doing anything like this and I am very unsure if I did it right and if the data will be usable in reports and searchable, etc. 

Any links to more information on how to customize and use Salesforce for churches would be awesome!



Thanks for all your helpful insights and serving your fellow church members.

posted in: 'Til We Meet Again

Thanks, Tim & Greg. It's great to hear that the blog has brought you some practical applications, and furthered the kingdom. Couldn't wish for more.

posted in: 'Til We Meet Again

Thanks for all your work on this site.  Our communtiy of faith took away many nuggets that are now being implemented within our technologies.  You have furthered the kingdom! 

posted in: 'Til We Meet Again

Thank you, Mavis. Not only for your work as guide during the past year, but for your early and continued enthusiasm for The Network overall. I look forward to your continued participation!

posted in: 'Til We Meet Again

Thank you, Jan.

posted in: 'Til We Meet Again

What a great job you've done with this blog, Mavis! And I'm not just saying that because you're my sister. Thanks for your work in this forum.

posted in: 'Til We Meet Again

Full circle: coming back to a thread I started to offer tips. :)

I did start a church facebook page for us at https://www.facebook.com/CrossroadsCRC

Also, for Josh's question about interaction, that IS tricky. Facebook has these algorithms so that pages for organizations/businesses don't always appear in everyone's feed. These pages behave differently from our friends in feeds. Facebook may omit a business or organization feed if you haven't shown interest (like, comment, share) in the posts in the past. All that to say, you have to try and post compelling information that will engage people and encourage them to interact by liking, commenting and sharing.

Our page is small with just a few likes, so it doesn't see much traffic, but we are a small church. I also heard somewhere* that if you have page likes = 10% of your "customer base" that's a pretty good target. I'm well over that for our page, as our official membership number is around 160 and our average weekly attendance is something like 200-225.

*Somewhere = Facebook Marketing Solutions https://www.facebook.com/marketing There are a LOT of case studies, articles, archived webinars, etc. at that page that might be helpful for understanding how to engage your audience. They will try to pitch you on advertising, but I just ignore that.

One thing I did when I learned this was send  private Facebook message to a handful of friends at church who I know are active Facebook users and specifically ask them to go out of their way to like, comment or share because that helps with our page visibility.

Hope that helps!


Paul, I'm shut in this Sunday morning and unable to attend my local church (Winnipeg, Covenant CRC).

Thanks for providing the web stream link (and thanks to the Network!).
I was able to join your worship service web stream and hear Pastor W. Koopman. Wonderful!'

Thanks to your church and web stream team for providing a quality audio-video service.  It appears you are using the ad-free version of Ustream.tv.  We tried  the ad-version for our Jan 1 and 8 worship services, and the first pop-up ad promoted condoms to prevent STD-an important topic, but hardly a 'mood-setter' for Sunday worship!

I'll contact your 'church secretary  who can put you (me) in touch with those in charge of web streaming'.  

Thanks again for providing a great service for the ocassional (and especially for  permanent) 'shut-in'.  
Congratulations!  Soli Deo Gloria!



Hey Tim, we have just started posting our video, like Harkus we upload the sermon to Youtube and only if the leader gives permission. I would recommend going with a Pan Tilt Zoom camera rather than a stationary camera. I wrote a blog on the 123’s of our setup.
 Basically you will need

1 PTZ Camera
1 Computer running as a webserver
1 TV tuner card
1 box of ethernet cable
1 pair of balun connectors

We used a Sony SNC Z50 camera which cost approx $650 dollars, a donated computer which you should be able to purchase for approximately $200 - $300. The TV tuner card we used was a PVR-350, which you can get from ebay for $30.00. The box of cable should be around $120. Bulan connector from ebay are $10.00 or less.

The process is simple I have the youth running the camera through a web page.
The youth turns on the computer which opens the web page on start up.
They enter enter the information for the sermon, leader etc. Start recording the service, mark the sermon portion with a click able button on the web page. When the service is complete the computer burns the audio CD, uploads the sermon to you tube, burns the DVD and powers off. It takes the youth about 5-10  minutes after the service.

If you would like a copy of the script and a how to setup a web server let me know.

PS I am going to add a laptop to our system for the youth to use.

Andrew Nutma

Thanks, everyone. What great info!

Simcoe Immanuel CRC has been posting video to our website for just over a year.  We have a surveilance style camera that pans and zooms - adequate video quality for our purposes.  You can check out our website at www.imaginegod.ca and look for sermons at the bottom of the page (direct link:  http://www.imaginegod.ca/index.php/church-service/sermons )

We actually post our videos on youtube and link them to our website.  The editing (ripping) is done using Xilsoft software although I have since found other resources.  Ripping the DVD produced when we record the entire service takes only a few minutes.  Youtube restrictions require us to break the sermons into 15 minute segments although I think we could probably find other sites (vimeo?) that allow the entire sermon in one segment.  The uploading to Youtube takes the most time, but it doesn't need a "babysitter" while it is uploading.  I do this all at home within a couple of days of the service.

I can provide more specifices as regards equipment, (make, model, cost etc.).  Just contact me via the e-mail address given on our website (info@imaginegod.ca.)

A couple of other things to note:  We only post our own pastor's sermons (unless the guest pastor specifically provides permission).  We have, in the past clipped out segments that, in hindsight, were preferably not posted (ie:  referring to personal situations that were appropriate within the context of the congregation but not for public consumption). 

hope this helps.  blessings ... mark ...


Our church posts our services on the web.  I have included a link to our church's website.  You can contact our church secretary who can put you in touch with those in charge of the web streaming.



Have fun.

Mavis, Thanks!  These are some great ideas--both for personal worship and for building community by seeing and hearing other worshipers from other parts of the world. 

In our congregation I see people starting to use their Ipads for taking notes on the sermon. A while ago, someone ahead of me was googling pictures or articles related to the sermon topic.   Not sure how I feel about that . . . nice to have access to so much information, but Google isn't connecting God's word to their lives. 

Like so much else in this world--technology is a great gift, but we can choose to use it for good or bad purposes.   I'd love to hear how others are using technology in helpful ways in worship.

I blof for CHrist/God continuously...and have attracted some 230,000 spiritual seekers in the last few months, not nec. Christian but non-the-less seeking a spiritual awakening

Here is a link to the early Christian mystics known as the desert fathers spiritual principles that of all people, a hreat spiritual Jewish fellow made for us! This video is most impressive.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHcOPrRUYuk

Our website www.the-twelve-steps.com has these principles for all people of all faiths.

I might be Christian, with Pentacostal and Assemblies of God and Catholic roots, but I and our team are trying to save lives of drunks and addicts by making the spiritaul side of recovery  FUN!

So, our webpages bounce ecclecly from PRAYERS to Spiritual Tattoos! I know, that sounds funny, but people are flodding in!

God Bless, Bill Booth, author and project manager.

Here are some of our 12 Step MEDITATION videos too! Anf they are totall pro, and inspirational, geel free to use and re-post them at will.

1) From the edge of the universe (SIN) back to earth, form the Hubble http://youtu.be/tMKekFUcoiA

2) Meditation on the path to spiritual awakening, per the12 steps, set in Yosimite Valley and Big Sur


all from http://www.the-twelve-steps.com

posted in: Blogging for God?

That sounds like an interesting problem. Maybe a simple solution would be to to have a batch script to move the files on startup? I am curiuos what OS and capture card you are using? Currently I am using Ubuntu with ffmpeg which is an opensource program. There is a windows version as well http://ffmpeg.zeranoe.com/.


posted in: Video Record 101

Andrew, thanks for the post.  The church that I work as campus ministry director at just recently did a remodel and added video recording capabilities.  We are still working through some of the bugs and figuring out the best way to get things done.  Since we don't really have a programmer, I think some of  your ideas, which sound awesome are probably beyond us.  Anyways, that's not what my comment is about.  Like you, we also  use a Hauppauge card to record, although it is different from yours.  What I am wondering is what software you are using to do the actual recording.  Right now we are using the softward that came with the Hauppauge card.  However, the issue we have been having is that after we record three or four services it seems to "max out" or something and when we are done recording a service there is only like 4 seconds that get saved.  But if we move the recordings out of the default folder so that it is empty again, then the problem is solved.  I haven't had a chance to investigate this well, but I would be interested in knowing of a better piece of software out there that we could use.  Preferably open-source.  Thanks for your help!



posted in: Video Record 101

Thanks for your comment, Keith. You make a good point that we in the church can benefit by stepping back -- "unplugging" -- and thinking about where, when and why we will or will not use technology.

Thank you, Allen and Martin, for your comments. It's great to hear actual experiences from those of you active in Twitter. What a powerful story, Martin, of your use of prayer during the manhunt in your community. Isn't it amazing God can be present in the virtual world, too?

posted in: Why Give a Tweet?

Thanks for all the input, everyone, and keep it coming! There's also some information and links to resources in the Church & Web blog, "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered By Backups."

Andrew, thank you so much for sharing such detailed information. This will be very helpful for others as they research and begin video recording at their church. I have referenced your entry in my blog, "What Do You Know About Video?" in the Church & Web section of The Network.

posted in: Video Record 101