Church Super Bowl Party Rules for 2010

January 20, 2010 by

Church Relevance has a very nice post on the rules for Super Bowl parties hosted by churches this year and a nice clean explanation of basic copyright principles.

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Our “Traditional” Church Web Site

January 3, 2010 by

In Tony Morgan’s The New Traditional Church: Web Strategy he fairly characterizes how most church web sites are formulated: as bull horns.  He then states that churches that are influencing are assuming people are online.  I’m not sure about your church, but in my church only half the people are “online” and less than that are active internet users.

It has been eleven months since I turned on commenting on the church web site.  It was part of an effort to open up the church site to enable a broader community and to start to engage the church in interactive activities.  At around the same time I took over the church’s stale Facebook group ultimately changing it to a Facebook page to allow updates to be directly in people’s news feeds.

Generally, this effort of facilitating interaction has been unsuccessful, with one exception.  There have been zero comments on the web site and four interactions on the Facebook page.  This is not a function of the lack of opportunity for the church to interact (though we do need to generate better and more interesting content) as much as it is that they don’t interact online right now.  Simply put, a large portion of my church community is not online right now and those who are do not significantly engage in social media activities.  Our web site is being used primarily for its event calendar, pick up missed sermon or bulletin, and to allow newcomers to learn the basics of our church.

But our church is sending missionaries and support around the world (e.g. Amazon River Churches).  And we’re growing.  We are “influencing”.  So, for us (for now), our “traditional” web site is suiting our purposes and is ready for when people (on both sides) start to use online technologies in a more meaningful way.

Annual Review of the Church’s Web Site

November 21, 2009 by

I’m thinking about doing a “state of the web” type report for the church at the top of the year.  It would consist of:

  1. a review of the site metrics (most hit pages, referrers, etc.)
  2. a review of the site with respect to best practices (per something like 70+ tips for effective church sites from Internet Evangelism Day)
  3. a reflection of the initiatives of the past year
  4. an outline of initiatives for the coming year

Does anyone else do something like this for their church?

A minor example of the social web facilitating the gospel

July 16, 2009 by

This past Sunday (July 12) we had a excellent sermon on Habakkuk by one of our elders.  This particular elder is a high school and college history teacher and has many “friends” on Facebook, including myself.  After I published the sermon Sunday night I posted the link on his Facebook wall.  I was hoping to see a bit of a bump on the web stats.

Habakkuk stats bump as of July 14, 2009

Habakkuk stats bump as of July 14, 2009 for Word of Life Christian Fellowship

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the bump we received.  A bit under half of the hits were referrers from the Facebook post. I pulled the raw stats and found the number of clicks on the PDF sermon notes was about the same as the Facebook referrer count (as was the sum of the hits against the audio format hits).  I’m not going to say that each referrer from Facebook clicked on the PDF and listened to the audio, but I will say that a fair percentage appear to have.

I post our sermons to our Facebook group every week and we receive almost no hits from Facebook normally.  Those associated with our Facebook page typically have already heard the sermon in person.  It is the diversity of his “friends” that, I think, is the difference here.  It is an interesting enough difference that I think I need to reconsider how I’m using Facebook a bit.

Reflecting on six months of blogging

June 23, 2009 by

It has been six months since I started writing this blog.  I have discovered a number of things that have surprised me since I start writing.

Writing is hard work

This certainly isn’t a surprise to most, and I’ve done enough in my career to have already know this.  But still, the commitment necessary to write thoughtful content is large.  I didn’t expect to write every day, but I was hoping to write at least once or twice a week.  I started doing the bi-weekly “interesting church tech links” just to force me to keep doing something related to this effort in general.  When you only have a fairly limited amount of time to write it is harder still when you throw out posts after days and weeks of writing.  For someone who is not 0verly prolific in writing in the first place, this really cuts into the few posts that do come out.

Things have changed

Originally, I was dissatisfied with Christian web-tech related writing.  I think to some degree I was not looking in the right places.  However, I also think the quality of the content (at least that I’m interested in) has blossomed immensely in the last 9-12 months.  Sites like ChurchCrunch.com, ChurchMarketingSucks.com, and AnthonyCoppedge.com are providing quality and thought provoking writing of the likes I’ve not seen previously.  But, I do see some value writing here.  In my area, the largest church is around is only 1500 members and mine is only 150.  We don’t have the resources of the mega-chruches, but we have some of the same vision.  I think there are things to be learned but also be tuned for our smaller communities.

Topics of choice

I’d not intended for this to be a WordPress blog, or a copyright blog.  But it would seem the first six months have had a number of posts related to those topics.  Those posts have correlated with some recent personal efforts and interests.  I am pleased that my analysis of playing CD’s at a church service seems to be helping people (though I can only derive it from the hits, not the comments).

Thank you

“Thank you” to those of you who have stopped by to read my posts and who have occasionally commented.  While this hasn’t gone exactly as I’d intended, I don’t think this effort has been wasted.  I am considering starting a second blog that’s a bit more general to my life but I do wish to continue writing here.  This “web ministry” is a growing part of my life and I look forward to writing about this topic more and the upcoming improvements in my church’s web related outreach efforts.

WordPress Plugin: Breadcrumb NavXT

June 19, 2009 by

I just finished installing the Breadcrumb NavXT WordPress Plugin on the church site.  I’d been half-heartedly been looking at what it would take to write the equivalent functionality into my template.  It wasn’t seeming to be too bad, but  when I ran across this plugin, I had to give it a try.  Why rewrite something already done and working?

Obviously, you’re situation may be different from mine, but after activation I changed exactly one value (use “Home” for the Home link title instead of “Blog”), and dropped the default code into my standard and wide page templates.  The result was precisely what I was looking for: standard breadcrumb navigation.  PHP5 is required, but I needed to enable it anyway for the DST support added in WordPress 2.8.

All-in-all, another good plugin and another demonstration of the positive value of WordPress.

Interesting Church Tech links for June 14, 2009

June 14, 2009 by

With WordPress 2.8 out, here’s some good WordPress links.

WordPress 2.8 And 10 Things That You Should Know Before/After You Upgrade
DST is finally supported if you’re running on PHP 5… unfortunately none of my sites are… time to ask for an upgrade…
Joomla to WordPress – Content Converter!
Seems like a good starting place for a Joomla migration.
10 Useful WordPress Loop Hacks
Somehow I’ve missed #4 and am doing it a much harder way… I have code to update now.
WordPress Theme Development Frameworks
When I do my next WP project I will be looking closely at these frameworks.
Simple WordPress Example Plugin
Having started building my own plugin this is a nice simple example.

WordPress 2.8 Upgrade

June 13, 2009 by

I finished upgrading three sites (including the church site) to WordPress 2.8 and had absoluely no problems at all.  I am so very pleased with this platform.  For about a year now I’ve been working seriously with it and its been rock solid all the way along.

Interesting Church Tech Links for May 31, 2009

May 31, 2009 by

Some visual design links today:

Fluid Grids
One of the best pure CSS implementations of fluid grids I’ve seen.
O rule + golden proportion for calculating the gutter in the grid
A interesting experiment in picking spacing for grid systems.
Create a clean PSD layout with a 3D look
A really nice tutorial showing some easy techniques for those of us who aren’t graphic designers by nature – uses Photoshop but anyone should be able to adapt the instructions to their tool of choice (Inkscape for me).
How to Choose Colors Everyone Likes
An interesting way of picking sets of colors.

Finalizing Church Projection Team Content Before the Service

May 29, 2009 by

I’m curious about other church’s practices for when content/info is given to their multimedia team (or that guy in the back who runs the PC hooked up to the projector).  We’re considering some changes in the practices and some of what we can and cannot do depends on others’ ability to deliver that content.  E.g.:

  • when the pastor submits his sermon notes
  • any last minute changes to the announcements scroll
  • last minute notifications of DVD’s being played
  • when the worship leader finalizes the song list

Most of our content is delivered at the last minute (and I mean 5-10 minutes before the service start). We’re finding that the last minute nature of everything does not allow for failures to be managed gracefully.  I’m looking to freeze changes to the projection team sometime before the start of service.  How do others manage this situation?