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Archive for May, 2009

Can you help?

May 19th, 2009

If you are a website designer could you offer to build some free church website templates? Of course you get an acknowledgment on this site and the chance to add your details to a text file in the set.

There are just a few rules and these are they:

1. The design must be simple – we are looking for designs that are easy on the eye but also simple to use so that they can be edited by whoever needs to edit them.

2. If there is a main image it should be easy to change – I’m very flexible on this one but most churches like to add their own picture to the template to personalise it and if the image is split up and interwoven into the design this makes it impossible.

3. Include a logo image – again the logo images needs to be easy to change. Use the main logo from a major denomination to start with and try to copy whatever colours the denomination generally uses (e.g. Purple for CofE, Red for Methodist, etc).

4. Make the colours easy to change if possible.

5. Make it easy to add content – for me this means using tables for layout because CSS layout can get confusing for novice users.

6. Create, as minimum standard, home page, about us page and contact page.

7. Once built include a simple text file called readme.txt that explains the template and how to make changes e.g. create new logo image and upload it to the site. Include your details in this file.

Always remember that these templates will be used by people who know nothing about websites. Most of them don’t understand html and will be wanting to edit their sites in free software. This makes it a big challenge to get done so whatever you can do to make life easier is always welcome.

If you do decide you would like to offer a free template then please contact me first (chris@webchristian.org.uk) and we can start the process. I reserve the right to refuse any free templates offered  – sorry but I’ve seen some pretty bad ones and I only want to offer good quality.

Many thanks.

News

Models for online ministry

May 13th, 2009

Table of contents for Models of online ministry

  1. Models for online ministry
  2. Does the attraction model of ministry work for the Internet?
  3. Conforming Outreach
  4. Social Interaction Model

I’m intending – from time to time – on this blog to explore models of online ministry. I know sometimes it’s better not to try and reduce everything down to a formula and just let God does His stuff, but I also believe God gave us a brain and we should use it whenever we can. Perhaps a model of ministry might help you decide the direction to take your website or ministry in.

I’m interested in six stages of successful change that psychologists have come up with because I think it could help with trying to understand how to form a model for online ministry. This process is outlined in the book “Changing forGood” by James Prochaska P.H.D., John Norcross P.H.D. and Carlo Diclemente P.H.D.

The stages are:

  • Precontemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance
  • Termination

If we can identify which stage people are in then perhaps we can respond to their needs more appropriately. It seems to me that many Christian websites try to get the attention of precontemplators (those with no interest, yet) when they should really be targetting the contemplators (those who are thinking about things) or even those in the preparation stage (gathering information, etc to help them make the change).

Precontemplators just don’t see the point and may well be quite anti. They are an important group of people to work with and may form the majority but if you are going to work with precontemplators then your focus needs to be to convince them that making a change is a good idea and not try and force the point of how they should change.

I hope this all makes sense. I’m sure there is going to be time to consider all this at another time.

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Another way to use Twitter in ministry

May 6th, 2009

Twitter seems to be everywhere at the moment. Here is another way to use this technology to enhance your worship:

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1895463,00.html

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Simple designs work best

May 6th, 2009

One of the frustrations with the Internet is that it is always changing and developing. Whilst this kind of development is usually good sometimes it makes us a little lazy.
In the good old days (about 10 years ago – ancient history on the Internet) sites had to be built using the very smallest of images and the very least amount of html. As broadband becomes more and more available the stringent rules we all used to follow have become a little more relaxed. Where I once had to handcode all the html for a site I now use software and very seldom have to code a site using just html. I see this as generally a good thing.

However there is one rule that I think should always apply (and this will be forever): keep it simple.

The Internet always has been about speed. Those people who don’t mind waiting are those who are wanting to be entertained. Unless your viewers are looking for entertainment then you will have to deal with the speed issue.

From a design perspective I’ve always believed that the simple designs are the best. The design of a site is not its most important reason to exist and if your site is all design and no content people will very soon get fed up and go elsewhere. You might win an award for the way the site looks but it won’t make people use your site. You do want people to use your site don’t you?

However although I advocate simple designs I do advocate some design. The design should help people find the content. This something where an awful lot of church sites fall down.

So make sure you have a design but keep that design simple.

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