Online Resources for Congregations


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This presentation gives inexpensive and free resource ideas for churches to use in their mission and administrative work. Presented at The PC(USA) Big Tent, Indianapolis, Indiana, July, 2011, by The Church Consultant,

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  • Thank you for the opportunity to share with you some of the resources that we use to assist churches with their online outreach strategy. The last few minutes you’ve seen a series of slides that give you an idea of just how important the web is and will continue to be in the future for our mission work. Since you’re here, I’m assuming that you are at the least aware of these statistics, so we won’t dwell on them here.
  • But the most important take-away is this – in order to stay (current) now and in the future, we MUST take online and social media seriously. It is no longer an option. Provide an overview of platforms and tools for internet applications. Outline a few guiding principles for use in setting up website and social media. Discuss online social media strategies. Share free and inexpensive resources for use in establishing an online presence. I have tried to divide the presentation up into three parts: website development, web productivity, and web communication. Obviously, many of these resources overlap, and in the interest of time, I may not mention some of the bigger sites, such as flickr, that you may already use on a regular basis. If there is something that I don’t mention, please feel free to stop me and let’s add it to our list.
  • Domain name and hosting information. Mention the prices and search engine, etc. details. Free is not ideal.
  • Website platforms
  • Tools for your website. Add widgets such as google maps. ClustrMaps provide (free) the HTML that gives you a tiny map, like the one on the left. When it loads, it increments a counter and shows the locations of all visitors to your page, cumulatively (even for huge numbers). Clicking on it zooms in to a big world map, and (optionally) lets you zoom in to the continents, as in the example above. For light users (under 2500 visitors daily) the service is free, forever, and stores cumulative totals up to millions of visitors . Paying users get extra features . Slide lets you use photos and other digital content to publish and ... Slide can be embedded onto any website, viewed on your desktop or ...
  • Blogging is in addition to your website, possibly for the pastor, youth director, people on mission trips, etc. They are linked to your website. Orkut is a social networking website that is owned and operated by Google Inc. The service is designed to help users meet new friends and maintain existing relationships. Blogger - Free weblog publishing tool from Google, for sharing text, photos and video.
  • One day you may have to edit your html for your website. Notepad Plus Plus is a Notepad replacement with an eye toward programmers, although it should also appeal to the casual user who wants a cross between Notepad and WordPad. Notepad Plus Plus has some noticeable differences from WordPad. Support for tabs is key, letting users manage different documents simultaneously. Line-numbering is important, too, a feature that nobody mucking about in C should be without. Read more: Notepad++ - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET Downloads
  • ftp programs to transfer files from one server to another. If your church or middle governing body has purchased a contract with MI, this product can be your best friend when it comes to customizing your online work. Disclaimer
  • Related information is on The Church Consultant website, or on my website,
  • After you get the tools or hire the tools to get your website and blogs up and running, now you need to consider how to manage them.
  • Prezi is a web-based presentation tool using a map layout and zooming to show contextual relationships which addresses some of the shortcomings of Microsoft PowerPoint. Open Office A multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open -source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, free to download, use, ... Google Docs is a free, Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, slide show, form, and data storage service offered by Google. I
  • Don’t have a phone at the church? Google voice and Magic Jack
  • The Zoho Office Suite is a Web- based online office suite containing word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, note-taking, wikis, CRM, project management, invoicing and other applications Church Metrics is similar to powerchurch
  • TitanPad is a web based online application that helps teams of people work on the same document simultaneously. To get started, visit the homepage and click on “Create a Public Pad”. To save your precious time, you can start editing without making an account. Once you create a pad, you will be given a unique URL which will allow more users to work with the very pad you are editing. All you need to do is send the link to your friend. Once your team connects, you will be able to see them on the user panel. Now, all you have to do is start working. realtime document conferencing Play Intro Presentation is a web based word processor for people to collaborate in real-time. When multiple people edit the same document simultaneously, any changes are instantly reflected on everyone's screen. The result is a new and productive way to collaborate with text documents, useful for meeting notes, brainstorming, project planning, training, and more. PiratePad is a simple tool that makes it easy for users to share information or something they creating on a basic notepad. Users can begin creating their pads right away. The tools available include all basic text editing functions, such as bold, italic, underline, strike out, left and right alignment, bullet points, redo and undo. Users can change the view size as well. PiratePad also allows users to import or export files and save revisions made to an existing file. The time slider lets users observe the editing history of the public pad exactly as it happened. A chat room is also included on the public pad so users can edit together and collaborate as they go.
  • Content management Box is a simple, scalable and affordable solution to manage documents, media and all your content online. Share files as a link. Sync files on the desktop. It’s file sharing, reinvented. Manage content intuitively. Organize and view files in a familiar folder structure. Share large files securely. Share files and folders with web links. Sync files on your desktop. Sync files to Box. Access Box files on your desktop. Dropbox makes it easy to securely share files with other people, sync them across multiple computers, access them from anywhere, and keep them safe. Key Features Dropbox allows you to sync your files online and across your computers automatically Sharing files is simple and can be done with only a few clicks Dropbox backs up your files online without you having to think about it
  • Scribd is a document-sharing website which allows users to post documents of various formats, and embed them into a web page using its iPaper format. Scribd currently has more than 50 million monthly users and more than 50,000 documents are uploaded daily.
  • Wufoo is an Internet application that helps anybody build amazing online forms. When you design a form with Wufoo, it automatically builds the database, backend and scripts needed to make collecting and understanding your data easy, fast and fun. Because we host everything, all you need is a browser, an Internet connection and a few minutes to build a form and start using it right away. QuizSnack is the most easy to use online poll & survey tool, allowing you to create and conduct market questionnaires without having to learn complicated software. Also, the reporting is very simple and straightforward, with results being displayed in real-time . Using QuizSnack you can:       - customize the looks of your poll and survey widgets       - create polls and surveys in any language you wish       - embed your quizzes in your website       - store your data securely for an indefinite amount of time       - export your data as CSV Because of its flexibility and ease of use, QuizSnack can be used by bloggers who want to set up a web poll , marketers and product managers who wish to conduct an online survey , as well as social networking users who want to create a personality quiz of their own.
  • Eventbrite is an online ticketing platform where tens of thousands of individuals, businesses and organizations of all sizes manage, promote and sell out their events. We believe that anyone can be an event organizer. That’s why we’ve created tools that make it easy to sell tickets to all kinds of events — whether it’s a photography class or concert, an inspiring conference or an air-guitar compet...ition. With Eventbrite, organizers can create a customizable event page, spread the word with social media, collect money and gain visibility into attendees and sales. Eventbrite is for anyone planning or attending an event. We empower event organizers to become more efficient and effective when bringing people together. And people everywhere are searching Eventbrite to discover great events that matter to them. Join the community of attendees and organizers who come together for the magic of the live experience.
  • Microsoft Tag instantly connects you to more information and entertainment – without typing long URLs or testing shortcodes. Simply scan the tag, and Microsoft Tag takes you there! DescriptionMicrosoft Tag is a marketing solution that enables consumers to access and share useful and fun content in a simple way. It also helps marketers engage with consumers in meaningful and creative ways, and to measure effectiveness. MissionMicrosoft Tag - Connecting Real Life and the Digital World using 2D Barcodes! QRCode on steroid! ProductsMicrosoft Tag is a marketing solution that enables consumers to access and share useful and fun content in a simple way. It also helps marketers engage with consumers in meaningful and creative ways, and to measure effectiveness.
  • About Audacity: Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to: Record live audio. Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs. Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files. Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together. Change the speed or pitch of a recording. And more! See the complete list of features. About Free Software Audacity is free software, developed by a group of volunteers and distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Mixlr makes it really easy to broadcast live high-quality audio to the world.... PiratePad is a simple tool that makes it easy for users to share information or something they creating on a basic notepad. Users can begin creating their pads right away. The tools available include all basic text editing functions, such as bold, italic, underline, strike out, left and right alignment, bullet points, redo and undo. Users can change the view size as well. PiratePad also allows users to import or export files and save revisions made to an existing file. The time slider lets users observe the editing history of the public pad exactly as it happened. A chat room is also included on the public pad so users can edit together and collaborate as they go.
  • Aviary is a suite of powerful creative applications that you can use right in your web browser. We're on a mission to make creation accessible to artists of all genres, from graphic design to audio editing. Let Aviary and Worth1000 artists perform design services for you . Sign up for an account today to start creating, sharing, and collaborating with our community of artists.
  • 7-Zip archive utility was developed as an open source project by Igor Pavlov. It is free to use at home or for commercial use. The GNU Image Manipulation Program , for X Windows systems.
  • Pixlr is the creator of online cloud-based image tools and utilities. Today we have three applications in our suite: Pixlr Editor , Pixlr Express and Pixlr-o-matic . They are built in Flash and you need to have the Flash plug-in ( get flash ) to get it to work, however, 98% of all computers have flash so you are probably set. We also provide screengrabbing tools Pixlr Grabber and one click photo sharing . Who needs online tools? The pixlr services is built for both non-professionals and professional users with editing needs such as editing web images to be posted on social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, or image sites like Flickr, Fotolog, Photobucket etc. It's also widely used by professionals for fixing images for news sites and blogs etc. Performance? Since the editors are Flash-based, how they run depends on what kind of computer you have. If it is lagging you can try to shut down other web page that might be running Flash ads or close other software on your computer that is taking a lot of CPU. CreationSwap Search royalty-free stock photos, church bulletins, sermon art, logos and more shared freely or sold by Christian artists worldwide. Also, visit our Network to connect with artists, view portfolios or post jobs free
  • Fundraising and tithing methods Paypal is inexpensive for nonprofits and you pay as you go. Goodsearch is a wonderful free tool for fundraising without doing anything extra. Similar to upromise. Social media is not a fundraising tool in itself. Even the successful Obama campaign admits that social networks did not produce great fundraising results. Email and websites did the fundraising work. Only 2.4% of nonprofits were able to raise over $10,000 on FB in 2010. Consider your social media as an inexpensive outreach tool instead of a fundraiser.
  • Google+ is the web giant's latest attempt to topple Facebook, and while that might not be possible right now, it definitely provides cool and interesting features. One of the tag lines Google seems to be using is making online sharing more like real-life sharing. People don't actually get pictures developed and show them to their friends in person anymore, but Google+ transitions that to an online platform more effectively than Facebook or Twitter. The cornerstone of that is what Google calls "Circles." It works a lot like Facebook, where you make a profile first. But instead of adding people as a friend, you add them to a Circle. You can create however many circles you want, so you can put family members in a "Family" circle, coworkers in a "Co-workers" circle, and random people you met at a party in a "Random People I Met at Parties" circle. The best part about it is people just get notified that you added them to a circle - they don't see the name of the circle you added them into. After you have your circles organized, everything you upload - every status, picture, video, link, whatever - is only viewable by the group or groups you select. So your "College Friends" circle sees pictures of you on the cruise you went on over summer, but your "Family" circle doesn't. It's simple, but it's genius. I've been playing around with the trial of Google+ for a couple of days, and it seems like the only possible competitor to Facebook in today's market. I wholeheartedly recommend signing up for it when it becomes available to the general public. Add in what else Google offers - the best email platform, obviously the best search engine and the super-convenient Google Docs - and you're seeing the constant evolution of the only truly dominant force in cyber networking.
  • Create a social hub for your website. Postano (formerly PostPost) turned the Facebook newsfeed into a manageable collection of links, photos and videos. Think of it as Flipboard for the web browser. Other companies like have launched similar products, but part of what made us like PostPost was its use of jQuery Masonry to display post types, its ability to organize stories by category, and the ability to customize who you see in the feed. With Postano , TigerLogic is moving away from users who want to see their newsfeed more cleanly (though that is still an option), and is shifting its focus to brands, businesses and community managers that need a way to aggregate social content in real time, in a way that can be branded and embedded on their own sites. Check out this video to see Postano in action: Setting up Postano is easy. Sign in with Facebook, choose what content and what Facebook pages you want to add to your Postano, and add in your personal newsfeed, a specific Facebook page, a fan page you monitor yourself, and feeds from Twitter, YouTube, Google Reader, Google Alerts, or RSS.
  • Call Loop is a mobile messaging platform that makes it easy for anyone to send voice and sms text messages directly to clients, customers, emergency contacts, or prospects. Not free but not expensive – pay as you go.. Brightkite is a location-based social networking website that is available on any mobile device. Users " check in " at places by using text messaging or one of the mobile applications and they can see who is nearby and who has been there before. The service was created in 2007 by Brady Becker, Martin May and Alan Seideman who previously founded the SMS notification service Loopnote . In April 2009 Brightkite was acquired by mobile social network Limbo. Brightkite allows registered users to connect with their existing friends and also meet new people based on the places that they go. Once a user "checks in" at a place, they can post notes and photos to that location and other users can comment on these posts. Users control the privacy of their updates and can choose to share them with their Twitter and Facebook accounts, while also having the option to share their geotagged photo posts to Flickr . Brightkite is available worldwide.
  • Gowalla and Foursquare are location-based social networks. Gowalla is a location-based social network . Users ' check in ' at Spots in their local vicinity, either through a dedicated mobile application or through the mobile website. As a reward users will sometimes receive virtual "items" from check-ins. Items have developed to become a promotional tool for the game's partners, e.g. Incase . As of November 2010 there were approximately 600,000 active users .
  • FriendFeed is a web service that allows you to add all your updates from social media websites, social networks, blogs and social bookmarking and micro-blogging services into one place, along with the more common feed types like RSS and Atom. FriendFeed also allows you to subscribe to the streams of other people, such as family members, friends and work colleagues. Currently, there’s support for fifty nine different feed sources, and this list is growing all of the time. Popular services include: YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Brightkite, Twitter, Flickr, Netvibes, Digg, Google Reader, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Seesmic, Photobucket,, Reddit and Furl, covering categories such as: blogging, photos, music, news, video, comments, status, bookmarking and books. HootSuite is a social media communications dashboard often used for online brand management. It publishes to websites such as Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn , Foursquare , MySpace , and WordPress . It is also a Twitter client. The service, created by Invoke Media , but later spun off as a separate entity, was founded in November 2008 and launched in December 2008. Version 2 of the client was released on July 31, 2009. [4] The iPhone version of HootSuite was released on December 9, 2009. [5] An Android OS version of the application also exists. [6] [ edit ] Service The service is commonly used to manage online brands and to submit messages to the Twitter microblogging service. Posterous is a Autopost your content to social sites Post once, post everywhere. If you like, we can automatically send your post to any number of popular sites like Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr.
  • Vimeo is a respectful community of creative people who are passionate about sharing the videos they make. We provide the best tools and highest quality video in the universe. You can upload podcasts to the itunes community, free, so that no one can use the excuse of being out of town or sick to miss a sermon. Youtube will allow you to creat your own account, but limits you to 10 minutes of video. Be careful on all of these with copyrighted material and other privacy issues. Sermons are good, but choir presentations are not. Godtube is similar to youtube without the time restrictions. You may want to use both services, and embed one or the other on your website.
  • Earfl is a website which aims at creating a new revolution similar to what blogging did by letting people write about their personal life and publish it online easily, but in a different manner. Here instead of looking at articles written by people, you actually get to hear them. Earfl is actually a cool way to create, share and listen to stories online. And the stories are in the form of voice recording of those who narrated it over the phone to Earfl. Hence it adds a human factor to the stories by letting people record it in their own voice and share it online. Voki is a free service that allows you to create personalized speaking avatars and use them on your blog, profile, and in email messages. .
  • Do you have a web page? When was it last updated? Do you have a Facebook page? Is it connected to anything? Is it updated regularly? Do you advertise online? Do you know the difference between organic and paid on the web? Do you use Twitter? Do you NEED Twitter? Do you know how many people use your website? Do you know how many view your website? Do you know how many people look for you on line? Do you know if they find you or go somewhere else? Do you know how many souls are waiting for us to do something? In order: Listen, participate, share content, generate buzz, and community building and social networking.
  • The Church Consultant can: Create a social media strategy Provide media training and consulting Create, Manage and Maintain Social Media and Websites We can boost your church’s existing sites through SEO and analytics Connect your website to other websites and social media sites. We can build and monitor search engine optimization, essential to EVERYTHING on the web. Host your site and monitor domain name and server issues.
  • Online Resources for Congregations

    1. 1. Online Resources for Churches and Congregations
    2. 3. Expectations of This Presentation
    3. 4. Website Development
    4. 12. More Information at <ul><li>Where to Start in Website Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Project Kickoff Checklist </li></ul><ul><li>Tips To A Great Website That Lasts </li></ul><ul><li>Things To Avoid On The Way To A Great Website </li></ul><ul><li>Twelve Most Annoying Website Habits </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful Tools for Developing and Maintaining Your Website </li></ul>
    5. 13. Web Productivity
    6. 29. Web Communications
    7. 30. Facebook, RSS and Twitter
    8. 38. Pay for: Domain Name, Hosting, Initial SEO, Website, Analytics, Broadband, and (possibly) Social Media Setup Don’t Pay for: Discovery, Maintenance, Custom HTML Design, Upkeep, Pay-Per-Click, Phone Service, AdWords, Sweat Equity What’s It Going To Cost?
    9. 39. How Much Are You Really Investing In The Web?
    10. 41. We want the Church to matter. We want your church to matter. We help by offering information, resources, and advice about church communication, marketing strategies, and on- and off-line outreach.