Monday, March 9, 2009, 10:00 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Communicating Your Ministry:
MCGBA Spring Gathering
American Baptist Seminary of the West

NO WEBSITE will ever convince anyone to commit to a church and regular attendance and volunteering to serve unless they know something about that church. Relying too much on technology is dangerous unless you have lot and lots of money to spend on a variety of things.
(Rev. Michael Wilson)

Church Websites:

Presenter: Andrew Kille, who has been working with websites and other appropriate technologies for nearly 20 years. If you have any questions, you can contact me at revdak@revdak.com.

The presentation began with a brief introduction, based on the slideshow (see below), outlining key questions to ask in setting up a website, issues related to navigation, and some no-nos in website design. We then took a look at some of our own websites to see what has been done, what works and doesn't work.

  • Shell Ridge Community Church
    note: attractive graphic and navigation buttons on homepage, BUT: much additional information "below the fold" with no indication of what's there. Also, page margins are not constrained, so on larger screens, the page fills the width and is harder to read

    • Pastor's blog
      An example of using a free blog service (blogger.com) to make sermon texts available
  • First Baptist, Alameda
  • New Life Christian Fellowship
    Attractive design; note expanding navigation on the left side- keeps the listing compact, but allows for more precise navigation
  • First Chinese Baptist Church
    Dealing with a distinctive problem of providing Chinese text. Simple, functional layout.
  • First Baptist, Palo Alto
  • True Love Baptist Church
    Note that, besides the church contact information, this site offers only a calendar of church events without explanation. Clearly designed for current church members.
  • Beth Eden Baptist Church
  • Antioch Baptist, San Jose
  • Allen Temple Baptist, Oakland
    A generally nice site. Two problems: an audio file that plays automatically when the page loads (not as bad as some which play a favorite hymn!). If you include background music, give the viewer a way to turn it off. Also, there is a layer problem with the pull-down menus- the pictures cover up significant pieces. Be sure to test-run your site and check that it works properly.
  • Redwood Glen
    A nicely designed site that uses a slideshow to offer images of the place and the kinds of groups that use it. Navigation is simple at the top, though pull-down menus get more complex. It could be difficult to find specific information, but it seems well organized. Note the boxes at the bottom: one allows people to sign up for the e-mail newsletter; the other allows them to translate the page(s) into several other languages. (You can get the translator from Google.)
  • Living Free Today: Cornerstone Fellowship
    Michael Wilson's church website demonstrates several possibilities: the Pastor's Blog, Forums, and Podcasts. Also note the box at the bottom for looking up a Bible verse (available at Bible Gateway.)
  • Sermon Podcasts: Santa Clara First Baptist
  • The Catalyst, Ventura, CA
    An example of a church website that intentionally tries to communicate to people who are not "church" people. Click on "I Am New Here" to see more.

You Tube

YouTube allows you to host videos on your church website without the hassle of converting the files and taking up storage space. You upload digital video (you probably have someone in your church who has a digital video camera) to YouTube, and can then display it on your home site.

Resources