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CMS's really the best for a Church site?
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Hi,
I've had a little experience using CMS's for Church sites - do you think they are really the best thing to use? If so, which CMS and why?

I sort of took on the job of getting a website up and running at our former church. It was then that I started taking an interest in CMS's, and eventually settled on Xoops. It seemed to be the best fit with what we wanted from a site, but it suffered from the problems that a lot of church sites (and sites in general) have: Nobody to regularly update the content. I didn't have the time or access to the information, and every time someone stepped up to volunteer to keep the site updated, they would last a short time and give up for one reason or other. Eventually the task of keeping the core and modules updated became a chore, modules stopped working because the host upgraded to PHP 5, and the whole thing fell in a heap. I ended up doing a basic html site with a PHP news script which was easy enough to update, and although I am no longer a member there, the site seems to be functioning OK. (Time will tell I guess).

Our new church is much larger and already has an existing (Joomla) website, which is OK but lacks some decent content. Our senior pastor is now talking about creating a new "interactive" site, but there doesn't seem to be any idea of what that actually means in practical terms. I think "interactive" could be his way of saying "flashy" (or Flash-y), but I think once people get over the wow factor of something, there needs to be a good reason to come back regularly... any suggestions?

Posted on: 2008/11/17 9:12
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Re: CMS's really the best for a Church site?
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First off - Welcome, Bassman! I have a thread at XOOPS bookmarked with your admission of having a XOOPS-based church web site. That thread has been very influential in the making of this site. Thank you!


Now, to your question. My answer - "That depends."


Honestly, not all churches are ready to enter the Internet mission field. There's an article by Tim Bednar at Godbit about chosing a web site for your church and it gives us something to think about. How are we serving our churches?If a church needs a 'static' web site, a CMS can serve that purpose. Just install the core and a basic content module, like News, SmartSection or Wiwimod. When they are ready for more, add another rmodule. Eventually, they'll be ready for a fully interactive site. If you just give them a static site at first, how will you add interactivity?


Another interesting bit of research was done to identify what makes a ministry site successful? While I might challenge some of their conclusions, the 3 factors involved - technology, people and processes - are an excellent summary of what we must consider. In my experience, processes play the biggest part in the success of anything. Not to the point of some organizations that elevate processes above effectiveness and results, but if the processes have not been established, then the people can't follow them, using the technology available.


Posted on: 2008/11/17 11:27
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Steve
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
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Re: CMS's really the best for a Church site?
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Thanks Steve!
I'll read over those links when I get time. To be honest, i'm not sure where our church is up to as far as doing the site, or who is on the team putting it together. I'm guessing there's a number of capable people involved, given the level of technology we have already (video screens,live video crosses to a mission trip to Fiji etc) so I suppose we will find out soon enough. I've put my hand up to be involved, but haven't heard back yet :)

Posted on: 2008/11/18 5:05
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Re: CMS's really the best for a Church site?
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It may, or may not, be relevant in your situation, but here is an article I wrote on this topic, too - An Effective Solution for Church Web Sites.


I've also just found this - Determine Your Goal - the first in a series about church web planning and development. There's lots of good stuff out there and I plan on bringing as much of it together as possible.


Peace!



Posted on: 2008/11/19 12:07
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Steve
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
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