Blog Archives

Write Like You Would in an Email to a Friend

From the ChurchCIO.com series Blogging Guidelines for Pastors:

Write Like You Would in an Email to a Friend
Blogging is conversational and first-person. Like emailing a friend, the approach is intentional and thoughtful, but not constrained by format, language, or protocol. Express yourself properly.

Posted in Best Practice, Blogging, Community, Web Ministry, Writing

Blogging Guidelines for Pastors

Going on a year and half ago I wrote up some simple pastoral blogging guidelines for the church where I was working. I recently found the doc on some old back-up disk and thought you might be interested in discussing these and maybe even passing them along to pastors who are just starting to blog.

A few disclaimers before I begin this Blogging Guidelines for Pastors series.

1. These guidelines weren’t meant to be policies or rules to give the blogger a code of conduct or a set of boundaries. Kem Meyer covers that as well as I have seen it. Instead, these were all written to be encouraging pieces of wisdom and best practice. In fact, the document was originally titled “Audience Guidelines” since they focus so much on the reader.

2. I am not saying I have done all of these successfully. Have I done any of these successful? Oh, just do what I say and not what I do. I am sure they would work if I blogged often enough to try them out.

Posted in Best Practice, Blogging, Community, Web Ministry, Writing

Regional Church IT Roundtable Event in Florida

Whose Interested?

This blog post is to gauge interest in a Florida Regional Church IT Roundtable event. We seem to have a group in the Tampa area and others along the East coast of Florida from Orlando to Miami. Redundancy could be a good thing, so let’s talk it out in the comments below about what everyone is looking for, if people are willing to drive, and what the focus could possibly be for the event. Whether we land on two gatherings or one, I think it would be good for Florida churches to represent better through some networking, fellowship, and knowledge-sharing.

A Couple Options

I have tentative approval from Christ Fellowship leadership to host a regional event in January on our main campus. If you are unfamiliar with this type of an event and this loose coalition of geeks, here are the topics of discussion they meet on periodically in regional and national meet-ups. Since next year appears to be a tight year financially for many of us, I thought a low-cost training opportunity (typically $50 per person including 2 meals) might be of interest across the many disciplines of Church IT (Websites, Network, Information Systems). We could decide to include vendors in this gathering or not. I tend to want to hold it to just a few sponsor companies ($500+ donation in cash or hardware for give-aways?) so the focus stays on the community of churches. Then again, many of us use contract labor to augment our full-time staff, and they probably should be equally as welcome.

Posted in Community, Knowledge Management, Production & Maintenance, Strategy & Planning, Training, Web Ministry

WordPress Redesign

I have been a user of WordPress since it’s first release. In fact, I used its’ problematic daddy “b2″ before that. When everyone was foaming at the mouth with glee about Moveable Type, I was sticking it out with WordPress. Since then it has become a dream to work with and I recommend it to anyone who wants to self-host a blog.

In fact, for ministries wanting to build a website of less than 25 pages, WordPress is a sensible default since there are now website focused themes like VibrantCMS out there that makes it dead simple. The only thing you really give up in WordPress as Content Management System is photography placement options alongside the text in pages and posts.

So, this morning when I heard again that WordPress would be redesigned in the back-end, I got excited. The dev team has made very few backward steps over the years with the interface and things keep getting better and better. One thing they have managed to do consistently is work well for all types of blogs, whether that be single-blogger once a month posting or multi-author blogs with 25 posts a day.

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Posted in Blogging, Design, Web Development, Web Ministry

Free Advice on Hiring a Single Web Developer

I quipped on Twitter “Reviewing some websites for people and giving comment. My version of Community Service.”

See, every week people from mid-sized mega-churches ask me a) for referrals of web developers looking for work (I dunno if there are any) b) for general advice on getting a decent website off the ground, or c) how to improve what they have. Much of the time I save the requests and hit them all at once when I am in the mood. Last night though I couldn’t take it any more and went off a bit on one unsuspecting friend who really just wanted a). I kinda feel bad, but there are some big truths in my response that I thought I would share. You are just going to have to show me grace and look past the unprovoked, frustrated tone.

Here is what I said:
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Posted in Applications Development, Best Practice, Blogging, Design, Programming, Strategy & Planning, Web Development, Web Ministry, Writing

#churchtechcamp Live Streaming Today

Church Tech Camp Live Today

After 5 months of complete silence on this blog, I thought I would tip everyone off to a cool event going down today in LA and online called #churchtechcamp. Tony Steward and some other web-focused Church Technology folks are behind it, but others of you will find it interesting as well. You can stream it live TODAY on this page: http://churchtechcamp.com/LIVE/LIVE.html 

You can find out about the genesis of the idea on Tony’s blog, but it is very similar to the unconference idea I was promoting in a post a while ago.

Let’s Bring These Communities Together

Please don’t take this as a detractor from the above event, as I will be participating between meetings today. But, it looks like we have even more separate movements and conferences now with overlap. I am totally excited to be leading some sessions at a December Ministry 2.0 workshop (a hands-on training opportunity for church web folks) and the other things going on, so don’t get me wrong. And I want to commend Church IT Roundtable and MinistryTech for doing a joint deal next April. I think that is a smart move. But my prayer is that all these groups will stayed loosely coupled and not create factions and competing resources that don’t best leverage our time, talents, and treasures. One thing is for sure, more is better!

Posted in Best Practice, Community, Strategy & Planning, Web Ministry

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

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