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Building Your Church's Web Ministry Team

There are a variety of skills needed to build and maintain a church's web site - technical, editorial, graphical, planning, teaching and leading. Rare is the person who has all these skills AND has the time to devote to your church's web site. Clearly defining the roles and skills needed will help you build a team you need for your web ministry.
ministry team
Author profile: SKenow
SKenow (Steve K) contributes regularly at and ImpressCMS, in addition to maintaining several XOOPS-based web sites

The tasks of building and maintaining your site can be grouped into 4 main roles for your web team - the webmaster, the web designer, the contributing/managing editor and the editor-in-chief.

The Webmaster

The webmaster handles the majority of the truly technical aspects of your site - the web server and the database are the primary components. This person actually understands how your site works. Some of the tasks assigned to the webmaster include transferring files to the web server, configuring the server and database, performing backups of the files and data, applying updates to the applications used on your site and analyzing search and traffic patterns. Look for someone with knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP, MySql, FTP and HTTP servers and security. This person will also help you translate your offline activities to their online equivalents. In general, time and effort needed from your webmaster will be high as your site is being built and during any major changes, but the ongoing maintenance may be only an hour or two each week.

The Web Designer

There is a visual element to your web site that needs the skills of a designer that understands the differences between designing for the web and designing for print. They will help you with colors, fonts, graphics and layout to make your site consistent with your overall style in your buildings and publications. Like the webmaster, the time and effort needed from the web designer will be high initially, but will decrease to a few hours a month after your site design is launched. Consider how you will use themes throughout the year and the different seasons of the church and enlist the designer to provide options and guidelines for those times.

The Contributing/Managing Editor

Adding and maintaining the content of your site is the largest task for your site and 1 person will not (and should not) be responsible for all of it. But, one person can oversee the process for the other contributors to your site. This person needs an understanding of writing for the web to improve the readability of your site - it is important to know that print materials do not read well online. The main tasks of the Contributing/Managing Editor is to see that all your information is posted to the web in a timely manner, written in a readable style for the web and guiding all the other possible contributors in their submissions. This person and the group they work with to post material will be the most active group in maintaining your site. If your online publishing follows your print publishing (and it should actually be available sooner than your print publications), you will have weekly announcements, newsletters, calendars and notices to post. This can take just a few hours a week, or more, if you have a newsletter to post. I encourage you to examine your publishing processes for ways to consolidate all your submissions for your various publications.

The Editor-in-Chief

This person will provide leadership and vision for your web ministry. They balance the activities of the other team members and keep the ministry in focus. It is crucial to remember your web site is ministry-based and not technology-based. Often, web sites become enamored with the latest technological widget or slickest new graphic and lose sight of the content and vision for the site. You will also need to balance your site between seekers and believers. Members of your church will have a different understanding of the language used inside the church than people outside the church. Carefully consider your content to be able to reach both groups. Your editor-in-chief will need to guide the web ministry team to achieve this balanced approach.

A good guideline to follow is for this team to meet at least monthly to review progress, expand goals and encourage each other in this exciting ministry field. As you develop your team, be sure to record the discussions and decisions you make along the way to guide you in future decisions and as new members join the team. By breaking down the tasks you face in building and maintaining your web site into these 4 areas, you will become a more effective team and have a more effective ministry web site.

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