Yearly Archives: 2007

Two Church IT Roundtable Goodies

Worship Tunes

For those of you following the IT Roundtable going on at COR this mid-week, listen to the linked file below to see what cool worship you missed out on last evening. This is totally bootleg I admit. Grabbed it with two clicks on my Mac during the song. I would give attribution for their work, but I frankly couldn’t remember anything else after a great day of fantastic discussion. Someone else help me out with their name and summary/link of the church where they play. Was a neat vibe. Church IT Roundtable Worship mp3.

National Church IT Association

Also, we will be talking at some point in the day Thursday about the prospects of a national IT association. Since I won’t be able to stay the whole afternoon and could miss the discussion, I thought I would link back to a post I did on the subject a long while ago title What Ministry Technology, Church IT, and Web Ministry People Have in Common. My feelings haven’t changed too too much, but let me summarize my main points:

  • “Church IT” overlaps with Web Ministry. This becomes particularly true with open protocol APIs, web-based applications, intranet/extranets, and integrations of ChMS and CMS. Media and Communications are also both converging with web and traditional IT.
Posted in Best Practice, Blogging, Knowledge Management, Strategy & Planning, Web Ministry

a churchcio.com

As I said previously, I have been in the midst of rethinking what I want to do with my IT blogging. With some prodding by my former office mate Barry, I have decided to blog about things other Ministry IT folks may not be covering. So on this late night I created a new blog I am titling a church cio. I have moved my old posts for historical reasons, but my new focus will be on documenting my experience as a Church CIO (with a director title). Read my about page for more info on my long term goal.

I am more broad than deep in my knowledge of Information Systems and Web. While those in my sidebar geek out at levels I will never attain to, I prefer to live high in the clouds of staff productivity, budgeting, IT governance, strategic planning, social engineering, user experience, staff culture, enterprise integration, internet marketing, Web 2.0, social networking, etc. Sure, I come down from the 50,000+ level to manage my team, but someone needs to be dreaming about what is up next and where we are going. I believe God has wired me and prepared me for that. Staying grounded and in the day to day is of course critical for my knowing enough to prepare the way for the folks who really do the hard work. Thankfully I have landed at a place where I can do all of what I love and just a little of what I don’t.

Posted in Blogging, Knowledge Management, Web Ministry

Hello to everyone at the Church IT Roundtable!

Sitting in the IT Roundtable meeting at Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City and loving all these geeks with laptops and passion for ministry technology. Looking forward to two days of sharing best practices for enabling ministries.

Posted in Best Practice

Getting Started with a New Design

David Drinnon was kind enough to reference a comment I left on his site in a fine post this morning on building site maps and information architecture. In it he even calls me a friend!

What I love about blogging is that I left a partially thought through comment on his site last week and then he gives me kudos today and places my thoughts alongside his wisdom such that I come out looking like a champ! The reality is that he has some great nuggets in that little post including Web Sort and Adobe’s Website Production Management Techniques.

In a beautiful example of what goes around comes around, I am today beginning work with my team on the Information Architecture for a new site we are trying to crank out by the first two weeks in December. David’s help could not have come at a better time!

Posted in Design, Programming, Web Ministry, Writing

LifeFaithFusion.com

LifeFaithFusion.com finally launches this weekend to an audience of 10,000+ folks associated with the ministry of Casas Church and Roger Barrier. My favorite UI designer, Christ Merritt of Pixelight Creative, did the design for me last winter. Some projects take much longer and many more hours than ever anticipated, and this is one of those projects that seemed to never want to end. Unfortunately, I brought a friend named Brian Slezak (of the Web Empowered Church and Church of the Resurrection) down this rocky road with me and I will forever be indebted for his service and amazing grace. In spite of it being a painful project, I am pleased with the functionality of the site and the overall result. The client controls all the content management on this site (which uses Typo3) and created all of the in-page graphics themselves, so Chris and I can’t take credit for any of that. They also completely control the sidebars.

I think the site will be a great free resource for younger pastors and prospective seminarians. I really respect Roger Barrier and his soft-spoken but confident approach in sharing his thoughts on the life in Christ. The site is packed with content including Podcasts, Devotionals, and Sermon Series. One of the podcasts includes my sports pastor buddy Derrek Engeler who brought this project to me in the first place. It is always great to get his commentary on almost anything.

Posted in Design, Web Ministry

Transition Blogging

As many of you who follow my blog know, I am slowing down on my posting here as I am transitioning out of building sites & applications (on the side and during the day job). I’m moving back into leading IT teams and projects and interfacing with executives, and that means my focus is shifting in life and in technology. This is a great move for me, but I am realizing I never really accomplished what I wanted to with this blog.

I had hoped to give churches a resource for making decisions about the internet and software, and also to reduce the demand for my time by other churches who daily reach out to me for help (selfish, I know). Some of that happened, but not to the extent I was capable of. Sometimes we are left with regrets like this that we can’t go back and correct. In this case, it was a personal choice to not prioritize blogging more than I have. Thankfully, others have stepped up to more than take up the slack and do it a lot more succintly than I can. As always, the Lord provides (see the far sidebar of this site).

Posted in Writing

Small Church Website Building Tips

Stuart was kind enough to post a comment asking for helpful hints for building a web site as a lay person. My comment grew larger than the comment window, so I decided to just post this in case it is helpful for small churches using an all lay person team to build their a website.

First of all, Stuart, bless you and all those out there like you with willing hearts who want to contribute something via the web. I pray you can get it done and done in a timely manner.

It is impossible for me to download 7 years of thinking about this stuff into a simple post, but let me get you started with just a few tips:

  1. Don’t over reach. Understand your churches needs and the expectations of those who care about the project.
  2. Don’t get too many people involved. If it is a small site, keep the total team smaller than 5 … including decision makers.
  3. Know your audience. Is it insiders or outsiders? Is it local people or people new to the area?
  4. Focus on your churches message and mission. What are you on about? What kind of church are you. Use stories and editorial type content to show who you are.
Posted in Design, Web Ministry, Writing

Jason Reynolds – CIO

Over the last four years, Stonebriar Community Church has blessed me with the chance to learn web design, agile project management, application development, and most importantly what the inside of a church is really like. I was given opportunity within Web Ministry when there was barely such a thing. For that I am very grateful and am forever changed.

But as I mentioned on my personal blog five days ago, I am returning to my roots in IT Management and going to work for a large church in West Palm Beach, Florida named Christ Fellowship. The role (not the title) will be CIO, with a focus on not just day to day management, but partnering with senior leadership on creating a technology plan that matches their vision for additional multi-campus growth in a region with over 1M lost souls. Palm Beach County, here I come. Christ Fellowship also has dreams of doing their own version of an Internet campus and allowing people to connect online. First up is to put a team together to redo their website in short order while we plan for a bigger web project.

Posted in Web Ministry

Digital Web Magazine Article – Stonebriar Community Church Design

Chris Merritt from Pixelight Creative wrote this article for Digital Web Magazine describing the process he used on the Stonebriar redesign. Chris is a great guy and was way more generous to me in the article than I probably deserve.

Overall I am incredibly pleased with the outcome of the site. But l am also glad people are commenting about the good, the bad, and the ugly about the site. It’s the best way for us to get better! As I have said before, no website is perfect or will stay perfect. To all those churches out there struggling to get a new site launched, remember that the most important thing is to get something out there that is better than what you have and then improve it continually over time. Having a great visual design and sturdy front-end coding are great foundations on which to build out your site over time.

Posted in Design, Programming, Web Ministry

Burned Out Ministry Staff

Cranking away in ministry for sneaking on six years has put me in the position to see a number of people burn out, crack, or quit. Have seen morale failure. Have seen tired wives with exhausted eyes who crave attention from anyone that will offer it. I myself have struggled at points with being a ministryoholic and have seen the impact on my family.

Earlier this week, Terry Storch’s blog pointed me to the Mad Church Disease book project, with accompanying surveys.

Here are some things I like about what the author Anne Jackson is doing with this book:

  • Bringing out the downsides of working in ministry. Too many people think ministry jobs are easy. They are not.
  • Dealing with the real problems that families face as a result of their callings.
  • Uncovering the roots of how ministry staff get into purity problems and become ruined.
  • Providing options (presumably) for people to break an unhealthy cycle early.
  • Posted in Best Practice