Top 5 Free Essential Web Resources for Churches
They say there’s no such thing a free lunch, but I beg to differ. The web offers plenty of free lunches which means that churches can save a bucket load of money whilst being made to look good. Sounds like a deal to me. Here’s my Top 5 Free Essential Web Resources. See if you agree with me:
(I am not being paid by any of these companies to spruik them)
It’s time to wave goodbye to endless photocopier breakdowns, jams and running out of toner. It’s time to go digital with your weekly newsletter as most people in your congregation are not only online but on fast connection as well. You can print out copies of your newsletter for people too reluctant to become digital immigrants. Mailchimp is the best online e-mail marketing solution. MailChimp is packed with the same powerful email marketing features you’d get with the big guys, but they make it easy, fun and affordable enough for any sized business to get started. For address lists under 1000 you get it for free. Just use your web browser to log in from anywhere in the world, design your email, and click send. Check out these quick demo videos. There’s plenty of excellent templates to choose from to make you look good. The ‘metrics’ behind the scenes are great. In other words, you can see how many e-mails bounced (and why), how many were opened & forwarded. It has an easy unsubscribe function as well. Another similar product is Constant Contact. I much prefer Mailchimp though, it rocks.
If you want a half decent web site that conforms to all the modern standards and is easy enough to update for your average desktop computer user – WordPress is the way to go. It is slowly taking over the web, as the graphic in this report shows. WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog and its free. You can either use the software based online with WordPress’s own servers at WordPress.com or you can download it from WordPress.org and place it on your own hosted server. This gives you a lot more freedom in terms of what you can change. For basic websites using the free online service is recommended but if you have more precise needs using your own free copy of the software is better. You can use a range of different themes online, or you can use thousands of different themes on your own copy plus you can significantly alter them. This church uses WordPress and so does this one and so do we. The WordPress Driven Church site is excellent and has lots of great advice on how to get started.
Need I explain what it is? To see how other churches are using it check out our series on Facebook Pastors:
If you are looking for a bit of help when it comes to great graphics resources for worship, sermon series, logos, flyers, etc, look no further. This site hosts uploads that are freely given way for free (open source resourcing!). Most of what is there can be used in some way or at least used as part of projects. It consists of:
- a great resource for conducting quick meetings without requiring people to be on site. This frees up time especially for misisonaly minded churches who don’t want to keep people inside the bubble all the time.
- a great resource for leadership and ministry teams when a quick decision needs to be made, and calling a meeting would be surplus to requirement.
- a great resource for missional dialogue. I know one pastor who conducts Alpha type meetings using this medium.
- a great resource for conducting marriage counselling, etc when couples can’t be on site due to work or travel related absences. I’ve just completed my first marriage prep course with a couple using this.
Chat has many useful features.
- Up to 20 participants in a call
- Import your contacts from GTalk, Yahoo, Facebook, email and more
- Promote your call via Facebook, and Twitter
- Text chat in the call
- Search and share YouTube videos
What would your suggestions be?