Appealing Church Websites

Here are some samples of what I believe are some of the better designed websites. My opinion is based upon my years as a computer professional working with user interfaces as well as website design and maintenance. I wish it were possible for me to view every church website before making my determination of the best. Since that is not possible, I can only compare to those sites I have seen.
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Church Website Options (Part 2) – although I have seen this option used much more frequently by churches wishing to supplement their online presence, it is certainly possible to use this as a church’s only informational page.

The big benefits are cost, which would be free of charge and ease of access. There are so many members of the church who already have Facebook profiles this option would make it easier to remind members of activities and encourage communication among members. The drawbacks would be increased difficulty deploying any other media than plain text along with size limitations and possibly privacy issues with all Facebook profiles.

Google Sites
The Good
First time I visited this website, I was impressed. There is definitely ability to produce very professional looking websites. Additionally, it is easy to incorporate other Google services (i.e. docs, calendars, etc.) into your website. with the functionality of using templates if you are creating the same website over and over this could be a real timesaver.

The Bad:
To get some things done, you will have to know HTML. To create a very deep website I believe it could be much more difficult than using a CMS tool. You will also be limited in total disk space according to the limitations of your Google account.
The primary free service offered at is free web hosting for congregations. This service is designed to be easy to use and requires no prior web development experience. The service is intended for congregations to build a web site that informs the public of their location, post materials, and eventually offer features to the brethren that assemble with them.
This web site will be designed so that it will be extremely easy for users to update their congregations’s site. To edit an article, one simply uses a form to upload a file directly, or e-mail it to me and I can convert it for you.

I want this site to be simple enough that those with very little computer experience can maintain a web site here. Because of all of this, some of the more common methods of web site editing are not available, namely direct access to the site via FTP or similar means. If you want to upload an article or other file, that will be done directly through your web browser. If you are more of a “traditional” webmaster, this service might not be for you. It is here for those who have little to no experience designing a web site. On a similar note, if you have already designed a site in some program (FrontPage, Publisher, Dreamweaver, etc.), CofCPages cannot host the pages you have made in that program.
I know very little about this option.Most often this is used with personal websites. You will have several theme options allowing you to choose basic design and color schemes. You will also face limitations in keeping with several of the free sites including limited disk space, monthly bandwidth limitations, and little to no control over the advertising which appears on your website. If your goal is a 2 to 3 page informational website with static content this option will likely accommodate your needs.

Low-Cost Options

This will involve contracting hosting services from one of the myraid of low-cost providers available. Go Daddy is currently one of the more popular of those providers and their costs are in the range of $3-$8 per month depending on length of contract you select. After a decision regarding the domain name, someone will need to design and create the website. There are several freelance designers which will do the work in a very inexpensive rates for churches. They likely will have a pre-created templates to choose from depending upon your needs. They will offer you the most options in regards to various types of content, customizing to your specific needs.

Church Website Pro a very nice professional looking website. Has links for approximately 16 completed websites, the majority of which are church of Christ although there is variety in the types of sites completed.

“Cadillac” Options

CongreGATE -This service offers a turnkey solution developed by their software designers. They offer many things which could be useful to a larger congregation or those who do not have any technical resources. They offer several different pricing and service level packages. The cost for these services at this writing is between 20 and $50 per month.

A few things from their website:

The state-of-the-art CongreGATE website and content management system was specifically developed for the needs of local churches.
CongreGATE allows anyone to create, update, and modify content; no computer or internet skills are needed.

CongreGATE offers a simple way share feature-rich content with visitors to your website. We believe an out-of-date website is worse than no website at all. With CongreGATE, we’re making it simple to keep your site up-to-date.

Vandelay Design

Church Website Options

Even though this article has been technically “published” it should not be considered finished. I continue to work to fill in and improve on this content. I invite your comments and questions about this material.

I am not sure who said it, but I loved the quote “… if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” this illustrates an important principle that is true of any Web project. Your first objective is deciding on a purpose. If you are unsure what you want to do with the website, spend some time browsing the Internet to see what different churches have done. You should not proceed until you have a clear purpose in mind and are well informed about the resources you will have at your disposal.  That said, many groups have been successful with using a small site in the beginning and expanding the size and scope over time.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— Luke 14:28

If you build it… they will come!

One of the biggest misconceptions I have run into numerous times is than a church will grow numerically and see greatly increased attendance just by creating a website. At the other end of the spectrum is that a website will do nothing to enhance a congregations work and worship.  I believe the answer lies between these two extremes. Church websites will not draw large crowds because most people don’t go to the Internet to look for a church to attend. I do believe there is much benefit in using a church website to disseminate information (i.e. Bible class materials, Duty Roster schedules, event calendars, member address books, etc.) and as a general aid to assisting communication among members.

To Domain Or Not to Domain?

Depending on which hosting option you select, you will likely have the choice of using your own domain name. The benefits would be having something you could easily remember and hence access from anywhere. it would also be helpful in making your website independent of your web host.  If you decide to change Web host you can easily have the domain name pointed to a different location.  The drawbacks would be the cost ($10-$15 per year) and a bit of extra effort in setting up the name servers for the domain.

Free Options

One of the things you should consider with several of the Free options will be the ads which will appear. I know for certain Facebook along with Google sites will embed ads along with your website which you will have no control over. Depending upon your past experiences and present concerns this may or may not cause you to reconsider these options.

Online Church Directories

One of the first options which should be considered, especially if you have no plan for a website, is to avail yourself of the free webpages offered by the online church directories. They will provide basic information regarding location, service times, contact numbers, etc. which will allow people to locate you through a Internet search. The amount of information provided is usually limited, but if that’s all you intend for it website, these services are ideal. Here is a link to the list of the services I am currently aware of:

Online Church Directories

Continue to Church Website Options (Part Two)

This post by T.Keese originally appeared in the blog.

Teaching with Technology

John R. Gentry

And Jesus said unto them, “Go ye therefore, into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. And make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you. . . .” “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.” “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and the repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Matt. 28:19–20; Mark 16:15–16; Luke 24:46–47, ASV). And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2, ASV).

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Using Technology to Preach the Gospel

Stan Cox

Using Technology to Preach the Gospel “Brethren, let’s preach the gospel!” (Homer Hailey quote, as he rotated his arm in the unique motion required to make copies on a manual mimeograph machine).

From the printing press in 1454; to bedsheets and yardsticks; to P.A. systems, mimeographs and radio; to electric typewriters and copy machines; to word processors, overhead projectors and television; to Powerpoint and the internet, preachers have long used technology to help in the presentation and spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

At no time has technology been more capable of adorning and disseminating the word than in our day. However, many preachers are uncomfortable with the technology. This presentation is designed to show how simple and inexpensive it can be to use technology to assist in the preaching of God’s word.

Technologies Used in Preaching the Gospel

Teaching Web Site * Website as advertisement is useless. * Shines as depository of all materials presented weekly (sermon audio, Powerpoint, bulletin articles, class outlines). * Website must be well organized and attractive. * Use blogging software (such as WordPress)

Podcast * Not sermon audio. Packaged audio with intro, outro, possibly scripted. * RSS feed (WordPress can be used; also, use iTunes store). * Multiple preachers possible on Skype. * Can be done with video as well.

Sermon Audio * $100 or less digital Recorder. * Free software for editing and export. * 32 kbps, mono mp3 = 7 MB per 30 minutes. * Also, CD’s are easy to burn, and duplicators available.

Powerpoint Uploads Note: In save options, be sure to embed fonts. Otherwise, if the receiving computer does not have a font you use, it will not look like you intended. This is important when taking your Powerpoints on the road for a gospel meeting. Also, find out what version Powerpoint the host congregation uses on their computer, and save as that version if yours is newer.

* Powerpoint backgrounds (Created or compiled by me)

Youtube Videos * Establish your own “channel.” * Short video produced for that purpose works best… Know your audience. * Webcam fine, but best if you use a external (USB) mic. * Widows Live Movie Maker works great, and is free. * Embed in church website, and Facebook.

Twitter * Your 140 character messages go out simultaneously to everyone who follows you. * Note: If you subscribe to others, they are likely to reciprocate. You don’t have to actively follow, you can hide their posts.

Facebook * Individually, you read posts from friends, all friends can read posts you make. * Easy sharing of links (articles, sermons) on other websites. * A “business” page can be established for church. All who “like” your page will receive posts, pictures, videos, etc. * Great way for advertising Gospel Meetings (as an event).

Streaming Video * Live stream of worship services (easily done with web cam or digital camcorder), with DSL account and wireless at bldg. * Free services on internet. * Ex: Woodmont church (Jeff Smith) *

Online Correspondence Courses and Teaching This can be a bit more involved, and has not been widely implemented. However, the possibilities are exciting. (Free educational software, allowing for automatically graded testing, discussion forums, great interactivty).

On Demand Publishing * Any book, material, etc., can be “vanity published” with ease because of internet tools. * Fastpencil makes it very easy to publish your own books. You can charge anything you want above and beyond the actual cost of printing the book itself. Both paperback and hardback book binding is available, in numerous typestyles. Electronic publishing available for a nominal fee. Even entry into Amazon, bookstore etc., with IPC code, for a fee.

Software Used in Preaching the Gospel

Audacity (Free) Note: You have to download and install a LAME mp3 encoder to work with Audacity in order to export your audio files as mp3 files. Simple instructions can be found here: Audacity also is what I use to prepare files for CD burning (cutting unwanted audio, etc.) I export CD audio as WAV files, then delete after burning.

Direct WAV MP3 Splitter ($19.95) This software I use for one purpose, to quickly split my sermon files into 10 tracks (approx 3:30—4:00 minutes each) Works great, allowing for quick navigation of sermons on CD.

WordPress (Free) Blogging software (Very versatile, creates quick internet sites that look great and are easy to maintain) .org is the development site. .com is the site where you can go to set up your own WordPress blog. and other ISP’s will host your domain name, and have automated install of the WordPress software. This allows you to have an internet presence with your own domain name for about $15/year for domain name, and $100/year for hosting. Total yearly cost: $115 (or, you can go to, and do it for free, without domain).

Windows Live Movie Maker (Free) Extremely easy to use for editing video (adding titles, wipes, credits, etc.) Integrated upload to Youtube, and DVD burning.

Skype (Free) Video call or audio call via internet Works great for audio podcasting with two (or more) speakers. I used this for Watchman Digest. Larry Fain (in Houston), and I would talk politics, etc. for 1 hour each week. Some challenges with the recording of material. This is a bit more challenging. If you are interested, we can discuss it in more detail. Check out for the best use of Skype in podcasting. (They have video, and do a fantastic job of technology videocasting. Audio can be done the same way).

Windows Live Writer (Free) Best software available for Windows blogging. (Even easier than using the WordPress software itself). I use this software for uploading my articles to Watchman Magazine.

Blog Desk (Free) Another example of good free software for blogging. This software does one thing better than Windows Live Writer; it makes it easy to set up templates. I have 7 different templates I use for uploading information to the Sound Teaching website. I have a separate template for sermons, bulletin articles, Mining the Scriptures articles, From the Preacher’s Pen articles, In the News articles and two types of Podcasts.

Pagebreeze HTML Editor (Free) Have not used this much, but looks very good if you have to HTML code I use it to create the table for my sermon archives.

EverNote (Free) Absolutely fantastic note taking software. Notes can be synchronized online, and are available on any computer. Great for searches, organizing, and collecting notes from online sources.

Preacher Study Demonstrations of the use of technology in Preaching the Gospel (Note: Here I actually used my laptop and a projector to show the men how easy it was to accomplish certain things. For example, I showed them a recently created website at, and how to update the site with an article).

Creating a Web Site at * Choosing a Template * Creating Subject Index and Categories * Choosing Widgets * Uploading Article * Created permanent pages for congregational information * Go to and CPANEL (and use FTP) to explain how a domain is hosted to an ISP.

Uploading Article to Watchman Magazine * Using Windows Live Writer to assign author, categories and excerpt. * Uploading to Watchman Website. View at site, and explain archiving by author, date and subject. * Create TinyURL * Disseminate article via Facebook and Twitter.

Create and Upload Sermon Audio and Powerpoint to Sound Teaching Web Site and burn CD

Using Audacity, prepare source file and export as mp3 and wav * Note: I like to use 32kbps rate, and change from stereo to mono for mp3 file. That is a good compromise between filesize and quality of sound. It makes for a 30 minute audio file at between 7 and 8 MB. * Show FTP for uploading audio and Powerpoint. * Use BlogDesk to upload the file to Sound Teaching. * Disseminate sermon via Facebook * Upload Sermon archive HTML code. * Split WAV file using Direct WAV MP3 Splitter software * Burn CD via Windows Media Player * Note: We have a four bay duplicator that allows for 3 copies to be made in about 2 minutes.


It is not necessary to use technology to spread the gospel of our Lord. All you need is your sword, preparation and willingness. More importantly, nothing in this presentation can, in any way, take the place of a simple willingness to share the gospel with your family, friends and neighbors. However, thousands of brethren and alien sinners from all around the world have visited both the Sound Teaching and Watchman sites, and there are other brethren who have been even more successful in spreading the gospel through the use of technology. It is not difficult, is not particularly time consuming, and you will have help if you are interested in doing more.