BIBLEtabletWe want you to have access to the most reliable information available for your instruction and enlightenment of the internet, and how to work with it to help spread the Gospel to as many as possible.  Just as Paul and Jesus went to the synagogue to reach people with the word, so is the internet to today's world.

Get multiple people to voice this opinion.

If there’s only one or two of you that are going to the decision makers and saying, We need a new website. Oftentimes, it’s not going to be listened to or taken seriously. If you have a lot of people from all different parts of the organization that are making this suggestion that we need a new website, then, typically, it’s going to be something that’s brought to their attention more. And they’re going to pay more attention to it.

Explain that a website is a form of marketing.

If you’re a church, if you’re a school, a business or a ministry, you’re trying to get more people involved or be a part of your organization. Most of the time, this means that it will bring in more money to the organization. And, even though, ministries and churches typically don’t like to think of the financial impact, as far as the reason that we do something is to bring more money in. However, the ironic thing is that, that is typically the determining factor on whether an initiative is taken or not, is, What is the cost going to be? So it’s important to understand that a website is a form of marketing and it’s an investment. So if you’re bringing in more money than you’re spending on it, it’s a good investment. The next thing is to,

Make it simple.

Basically, you want to make things as simple as possible for the decision makers. Make the process simple and the easier it is for the decision makers to go through the process of learning and understanding the benefits of the website, the easier it’s going to be to convince them that it’s something the organization should do.

Get them involved and create ownership.

Now this may seem contrary to the last bullet point in making it simple. However, there needs to be a balance between keeping things simple and having the decision makers get skin in the game. If they’re more involved in the process, they’ll be less likely to shoot down the idea of a website. And more likely to embrace it. And then lastly,

Have a plan with a final decision deadline.

If there are not deadlines that are set, typically, things just don’t get done. Schedule regular meetings when the web will be discussed. This could be weekly. This could be monthly. But schedule something on the calendar to discuss the website. If the approach is just whenever it happens, we’ll talk about it, it will never get done. And I’ve seen that happen many times, that organizations go on six months, twelve months or even longer because they just don’t schedule regular meetings to discuss the website. And then establish a final deadline when the decision will be made. And the decision might be that we’re not going to do it right now. And that’s okay. But establish a deadline to when the final decision will be made on whether to get a website or not. So, I hope that this has been helpful talking about the things that you need to do to convince decision makers that you need a new website.

  • Get multiple people to voice the opinion.
  • Explain that a website’s a form of marketing and that’s an investment and not an expense.
  • Make it simple.
  • Get them involved in creating ownership.
  • And then have a plan with a final decision deadline.

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What is the purpose of the website?

For those of you who don’t know what a web team is, a web team is a group of individuals that are responsible for the content and the decision making of the website. So it’s important to ask the question:

  • Why do we have the website?
  • What’s the purpose?
  • Are you trying to get people to visit your church or your school?
  • Are you trying to get people to buy something from your business?
  • Are you trying to get people to request more information or to set up an appointment?

But it’s very important to make sure that you ask the question and figure out what is the purpose for the website. Secondly, think about;

What the immediate needs and wants are, as well as the long term needs and wants are for your website.

Make a list of what you want the website to do for you:

  • Audio
  • video
  • e-newsletters
  • blogging
  • event registration
  • shopping cart, etc.

Ask those questions of what you want it to do immediately and what you want it to do down the line. And what you need it to do versus what are simply wants.

Create four columns and in one column, create immediate needs.In the second column, create immediate wants. In the third column, create long term needs. And in the fourth column, create long term wants. And this will give you the visual and understanding of exactly what things you want the website to do for you.

Don’t create too much work for yourself.

So many times, I talk to people and they really don’t like the idea of getting into a new website because they just don’t want to add something else to their list of things to do. And I completely understand.

Find ways for the website to work for you.

So, in other words, find a way for the website to take work off of your plate if you’re going to be putting some work into it.

So, for example, if you have bulletins or newsletters or mailers that you currently send out, find a way for the website to do that for you. Send out e-newsletters instead of sending out bulletins and mailers. It’ll save you on time for what you’re currently doing. It will also save you on the cost of postage and printing.

Registration forms. A lot of organizations still use the good, old paper forms. But if you use the on-line forms, those forms can be created very easily. You don’t have to print them out and hand them out to people within your organization. And it also is a good way, when people fill out those forms on-line, it’ll automatically categorize and put it in a format that’s easy to go through and digest the information.

Member, student or staff directories. A lot of organizations are using on-line directories instead of printing out paper directories. It’s going to save you on printing costs. It’ll save you on the cost of putting them together for print. And you can keep it on-line and easily maintain it as people leave and join your organization.

Decide who’s going to be responsible for maintaining the website.

So, the needs for the website are not just what the website will do and how it will function, but who will maintain the website and how often will it be done. And how much time will be put into it. Set the expectations up front.

The reason that people get frustrated with things in life is simply because their expectations are not met. So make sure that everyone that’s involved in the website understands and agrees for what the website’s expectations will be for maintaining and updating the website.

So, in review, the things that you take into consideration when deciding the needs of your website is to find a purpose of the website.

  1. Figure out what your immediate needs and wants and long term needs and wants are.
  2. Don’t create too much work.
  3. Find ways to take work off your plate when you’re adding things to it for maintaining the website.
  4. And then decide who will be responsible for the website and what the expectations will be as well.

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bad-church-websiteWebsites are like art - some are magnificent like the Mona Lisa - they draw you in and make you look deeper. Then there are those that are more like a child's finger-painting - sloppy and hard to decipher. Sometimes you need a little inspiration - or as Picasso put it, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And no, we're not advocating theft, but a quick look at competitors' sites can help you see where you could make improvements. Your website is often the first impression you make to your visitors - so make diatribes about your greatness, typos, or long videos with trippy audio a thing of the past.


Use of the Internet


Online assemblies reach computer, smartphone users in isolated area

Member Beau Wood helps with the technical side of live-streaming assemblies of the Anchorage Church of Christ in Alaska.
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No longer must Christians working in the Alaska North Slope oil fields miss Sunday services at the Anchorage Church of Christ, even though it’s hundreds of miles away. In central Pennsylvania, residents of the Golden Living retirement center don’t need to leave the premises — or their wheelchairs — to witness the sermon at the Camp Hill Church of Christ. In Russia, 20-year-old Elizabeth Kambonde, a student from the southern Africa nation of Namibia, can’t find a church home, so she sings along with a congregation around the globe — the Northside Church of Christ in Benton, Ark. In an age of digital Bible apps, electronic tithing and sermon notes posted immediately to Twitter, Churches of Christ increasingly broadcast their Sunday assemblies on the Internet. Live-streaming, it’s called. “The streaming is quite consistent, so we worship in sync,” Kambonde said, “and that is an amazing experience.” The Anchorage church invested in a high-definition camera to provide a “real-time connection” to homebound and ill members, elder Darrell Watson said.
The Internet broadcasts serve shut-in members as well as out-of-town Christians. (PHOTO BY JACOB SEE) 
“Additionally, many Church of Christ members are scattered across the state of Alaska — nearly two-fifths the size of the United States — and they are isolated from other Christians in the state,” Watson said. “They can watch the live-streaming or replay broadcasts of Bible classes and worship services.” Like the Anchorage church, the Central Church of Christ in Winnipeg, Manitoba, made services available online for its shut-in and out-of-town members. However, in a nation with 35 million people but only 150 Churches of Christ, the online assemblies have drawn interest across the Canadian prairies, minister Wayne Turner said. “Isolated church members who live in more remote places — in Manitoba and Saskatchewan — log on to worship with us,” Turner said. In Pennsylvania, about 10 to 15 nursing home residents watch the Camp Hill church service on a 50-inch television connected to a computer. The congregation’s retired preacher, Randy Pritchett, serves the Lord’s Supper to the residents and leads old hymns before turning up the sound on the TV. “Occasionally, Randy has to deliver the sermon when the Internet gremlins have not been fed,” said Dave Smith, the Camp Hill church’s deacon of communications. “Fortunately, he has years of experience.”
Isolated church members who live in more remote places — in Manitoba and Saskatchewan — log on to worship with us."Wayne Turner
A 2011 study, “Virtually Religious: Technology and Internet Use in American Congregations,” found that religious congregations’ use of websites and email more than doubled in the previous decade. Newer forms of technology such as Facebook, blogs, texting and streaming were less prevalent but “nevertheless beginning to transform the ways religious groups interact and enhance their sense of community,” the study determined. “All faith groups in this day and age should be hybrid congregations,” wrote researcher Scott Thumma, who prepared the study for the Hartford Institute for Religion Research in Connecticut. “In other words, their ministry needs to be part physical and part virtual.
All faith groups in this day and age should be hybrid congregations. In other words, their ministry needs to be part physical and part virtual. Scott Thumm
Sarah Keyton
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“Nearly every congregation has members who interact with these technologies in their daily lives,” Thumma added. “Religious leaders who recognize this and employ these technologies to connect with and minister to their congregational members have a distinct advantage.” At the time of the study, about 3 percent of all churches offered live-streaming, with larger congregations more likely to do so, Thumma told The Christian Chronicle. “I don’t have any more currentnational data, and I don’t think any research center does either,” he said. “But the trend is definitely increasing, and a larger number of smaller churches are doing it.” Away at boarding school in Virginia, Sarah Keyton’s teenage granddaughter uses her computer to access the Bouldercrest Church of Christ in Atlanta, where her grandfather, Edward Keyton, serves as senior evangelist. “She likes it because she is able to worship with us, and she feels a connection with us,” Sarah Keyton said. “This way, she gets to hear her grandfather preach every Sunday. “The full service is live-streamed, so she is able to participate fully and can also go online to give,” the grandmother added. “We gave her a supply of portable communion.”
The full service is live-streamed, so (my granddaughter) is able to participate fully and can also go online to give. We gave her a supply of portable communion."Sarah Keyton
Hammond Burke
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For Hammond Burke, making the Gospel available via personal computers has been a dream since before YouTube and Vimeo were created or broadband connections replaced dialup Internet. Some church leaders worry that the availability of online assemblies will prompt members to stay home, said Burke, executive director of the Church of Christ Broadcast Network, a Texas-based company that helps congregations build technology/media ministries. For that reason, some churches record services — instead of showing them live — and post the videos online for later viewing, he said. “My personal philosophy is, if you’re skipping church and watching it online, you’re not very convicted, andHammond Burke the church needs to deal with you in a different way,” said Burke, a member of the Central Pointe Church of Christ in Dallas. The Newburgh Church of Christ in Indiana has live-streamed services for years, never worrying about members opting for online worship over actual attendance, elder Tracy Hayford said. “Our emphasis on family and fellowship has helped us not to worry about that,” Hayford said. “The only real concern we’ve ever had was people not wanting the response to an invitation or other ‘private’ things streamed,” he added. “We stop the streaming as soon as the invitation song is started.” While live-streaming serves shut-ins, out-of-town members and isolated Christians, Burke points to an even bigger potential benefit: sharing Jesus with lost people. For a 21st century seeker, the opportunity to acquaint oneself with a church virtually before ever entering a physical building is a giant plus, he said. “It takes away a lot of the anxiety and mystery about what goes on in church for those who’ve never been,” Burke said. The Anchorage church has embraced that idea, producing informational business cards for members to pass out to friends and neighbors. The message on the cards: “Watch us from home — then come meet us.”

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ToolsWe have curated and authored articles that will help you understand how you can build a better website.  Not just what others are doing, but pieces about why you are using this medium to reach the lost.

ChartWhat are infographics? Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends. These are chosen for their ability to enhance understanding about certain points about Interner Presence.

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