Using Digital Tools to Celebrate Anniversaries

anniversariesAnniversaries matter. They serve as a reminder of milestones in our lives. From birthdays to wedding anniversaries, we celebrate stages in our life. Your church needs to celebrate faith journey milestones with your members. This is easier than it sounds, especially with digital tools and social media.
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CWS Podcast – Ep. 70: Sharing Your Church Website’s Testimony

cws-podcast-logoUnlike businesses where website ideas, processes and platforms are guarded secrets; it should be the opposite for churches. Sharing ideas and best practices will help further the Gospel on a global scale. We are not in competition with one another, and should provide a united front against our enemy. In this article I will discuss a few ways you can help churches around the world make better websites.
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CWS Podcast – Ep. 9: Documenting Your Church History on the Web

cws_podcastIn this episode I delve into how your church web properties can serve as an archive of interesting and useful historical data. This podcast is based on my article “Documenting Your Church’s History“. I updated and restructured it to further explore the content you wish to archive, some of the associated costs, and finally the many benefits of documenting church history on the web.

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Share Your Church Website’s Testimony

Unlike businesses where website ideas, processes and platforms are guarded secrets; it should be the opposite for churches. Sharing ideas and best practices will help further the Gospel. We are not in competition with one another, but should provide a united front against our true enemy. In this article I will discuss a few ways you can help churches around the world make better websites.

Just like member testimonies helping demonstrate Christ’s love in their life, your church website’s testimony can show other churches how they can strengthen their online ministry. Below are 5 pieces of content you can create to help other churches with their online endeavors.

  1. History: Although this may feel boastful, showing the evolution of your site may be very helpful. Do not just talk about what you did; incorporate what pitfalls you encountered and what got you out of the mess. Did a volunteer step forward to fill a vacancy, did you recover from a PR nightmare, or did God step in with a miracle? Much like a believer’s testimony, your website’s story may inspire someone else to persevere through a similar tragedy.
  2. Documents: I press churches to create web strategy and content strategy documents; so why not post them for all to see? Show them why the content on your website exists, what message it is supposed to convey, and who maintains it. Although I previously said no to PDF documents, this is a good place to utilize them.
  3. Platforms: Do you use a content management system (CMS)? If so, which one? What programming languages do you utilize? Do you account for mobile or tablet layouts with responsive design? Do not keep your methods a secret. Although many visitors will see this as “techno garbly gook”, your website developers will eat it right up!
  4. Services: What social media platforms does your website integrate with? Do you post photos to Pinterest, status updates to Twitter, and testimonials on Facebook? Many CMS’s us API’s to connect to these social media outlets, so tell the world what ones you utilize. If you have a specific strategy about what content you send out on what channel, or even what time you schedule these updates; do not keep them to yourself.
  5. Tools: Do you use paid applications like Adobe Photoshop for your graphics work, or have you learned how to use the much cheaper GIMP? Do you schedule tweets and Facebook posts with TweetDeck, or does a staff member publish them at certain times. Some web developers live and die by Adobe Dreamweaver, but have you found a cheaper HTML editor like Notepad++? Another money saver might be using Google Docs or OpenOffice instead of paying for Microsoft Office. Be sure to pro and con your decision so users know what they are getting into.

Action Item: Dedicate at least one small section in your About Us to tell everyone about your website. Be sure to include content from at least one of these bullet points. You never know what emerging church can glean from your story to help it gain momentum.

Note: This article was inspired by Mars Hill Church and the great history section of their website.

Leaving a Digital Legacy

Often churches take donations to purchase flowers for the altar; and a dedication is mentioned in the bulletin that week. Other churches may have a fundraiser where members purchase a brick that is inscribed with a loved one’s name. Tributes and memorials are way to honor and remember important people in our lives. Why not tie in your website so that memorials also live in the digital space.

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Documenting Your Church’s History

As your church moves on through history, what records are you keeping? What will the next generation read about your church’s journey? In this digital age, keeping records is easier than ever. Much like any other culture, churches are proud of their history. Although many families move frequently, some do stay in the cities they grew up in. Plus many people may come back to the city they were raised to research their family history. It would be great for them to see that information through the lens of your church.

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