How To Build A Church Website?

Psst. Hey you. I want to let you in on a little secret. Getting a church website is ridiculously easy. No, I’m serious. This isn’t a shady deal. You can actually build a church website for free, if you’re willing to put in time. In this post, I want to put down a few simple steps to getting your church’s presence online even if you’re not willing to pay a bit extra.

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Top 10 Reasons Why Your Church Needs A Website

Crawford already hit a couple of solid reasons why a church needs a website and you can go give his post a gander—especially if you want to learn how to be effective with the website. But in this post, I wanted to give a top ten list of reasons why your church needs a website.

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Yes, The Internet Wants You: The Need For A Church Website

Rey again, posting from the wintery hinterlands of the upper northeast; a new area for me and only marginally affecting my posting schedule: ah, the beauty of the Internet.

But that reminds me of why I’m writing.

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Update: StemPublishing.com

Loudspeaker Back in October Digital Sojourner reviewed the helpful website StemPublishing.com. The S.T.E.M. (an acronym for Sound Teaching on Electronic Media) website provides an archive of solid Biblical teaching from a prior generation. You can read Digital Sojourner’s review of the site here.

S.T.E.M. recently updated the functionality of their website to allow easy downloading of much of the material offered on the site. The advantage of downloading the material to your computer is obvious… the material will be accessible to you with or without an Internet connection.

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Website Review: KeyBibleConcepts.org

Key Bible Concepts One of the great benefits of the internet is the ability to quickly, easily, and inexpensively disseminate high quality literature. However, if you have spent any time on the internet, you will know that the major obstacle is identifying and locating reliable and trustworthy literature.

Sure, you could use a search engine (such as Google or Bing) to help locate material online regarding the topic you are interested in. However, search engines will not distinguish between Biblical truth and heresy. Online (and offline) we must remember to follow the example of the Bereans (Acts 17:11) who searched the scriptures daily to see whether the things they heard were true or not.

Here at Digital Sojourner we are constantly on the lookout for websites and other digital resources that we believe are worthy of your attention. Digital tools that we believe are helpful to the child of God. Of course, our recommendation is not a substitute for being a good Berean.

According to Lukewww.keybibleconcepts.org is an excellent example of a website that provides high quality and reliable literature for those who are seriously seeking the things of God. The website features ten full length books written by Professor David Gooding and Professor John Lennox. Each book is freely available via PDF download. There is no cost whatsoever. The site does not require you to create an account, or even provide an email address. Simply select the book you are interested in and begin reading!

Available titles include: According to Luke, by Professor David Gooding. This book carefully examines the literary structure used by Luke to present the person and work of Christ. In Opium or Truth Professors Gooding & Lennox examine the obstacles in accepting Christianity that many thoughtful people have expressed.

I could continue to list the available resources, but why not visit the site yourself to see what is available and then let us know in the comments what your favorite book is!

Note: Most of the books at www.keybibleconcepts.org are available in traditional print format from Gospel Folio Press at very reasonable prices.

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Website Review: StewardshipWeekly.com

Stewardship Weekly Podcast

Stewardship Weekly is a regular podcast hosted by Glen Steinson that focuses on the important and relevant topic of biblical finance.

Scripture has much to say about our money and possessions, yet many Christians struggle with their personal finances. There seems to be a disconnect between what the Bible teaches and how many Christians are living their lives. This is unfortunate. Glen’s passion is to bridge the gap by communicating God’s truth on this important topic in a fun and encouraging manner.

What is podcasting you ask? In brief, podcasting is an extremely flexible audio medium that can easily be adapted to fit almost anyone’s lifestyle. No time to sit at your computer and listen to a 45 minute podcast? No problem. You can download the audio file to an iPod or any mp3 player and listen while you’re on the go. You can also subscribe via iTunes or RSS Feed. Glen’s site provides more information on how to go about doing this here.

Glen and Scott

Glen and Scott

To date twenty-two episodes have been posted covering a wide range of topics, including: common money mistakes (Episode 20), the art of encouragement (Episode 8), and managing our time and talents (Episode 18).

Many of the podcasts feature interviews with other Christians who share Glen’s interest in biblical financial principles. I personally had the privilege of being interviewed in Episode 12 – “Don’t Disinherit The Lord In Your Will”.

The site also offers other helpful resources, so happy exploring!

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Website Review: Bruce Collins’ Blog

 

Website: “Bruce Collins, Evangelist”

http://bdcministries.com

Veteran evangelist Bruce Collins writes a weekly blog with a meditation on some portion of Scripture. Sometimes his remarks are gospel-oriented; other times he focuses on Christian living or other aspects of Bible teaching. There are also healthy doses of devotional articles that flow from his keyboard. His style is clear and easily understandable. What is more, this is no ivory tower, impractical blog. Brother Collins writes from a wealth of experience of dealing with real people, saved and lost. His material is Christ-centered and edifying, and definitely worth subscribing to by RSS feed (there is no charge for this, and one may use programs like Google Reader to receive his posts as the author uploads them.)

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5 Keys to Effective Local Church Websites

Have you ever been to an unfamiliar city and tried to find a place to eat? It can be tough to decide. How would you choose the right restaurant? Each one is unique, has a different name, and, most importantly, gives you a distinct impression. Some might look too fancy and ritzy. Some might look like they are ready to be condemned. And then, of course, there’s the choice of what kind of food you want to eat. All of these factors contribute to your selection of restaurant.

So what does this have to do with your local church’s website? Many Christians feel that visitors get their first impression of the assembly when they walk through the door of the place where they meet. But this isn’t necessarily so. Increasingly, people who are searching for answers, or looking to get back to God, or who are interested in sending their kids to Sunday school or a kids club are getting their first impression before they ever step foot in a church building.

These days, your church’s website is often the first taste people have of your church. Potential visitors are researching who you are and what you are like before they show up at your door. They want to know what you believe, what the atmosphere is like, what you do.

Now, we all realize that the local church is not a place to simply have all our needs met. It’s a place to give and be used of the Lord. But, for those not saved and for many who are young in the faith or unaware of biblical church principles, your website might be the only chance you have to reach them. Here’s how to make that first impression count.

1. Be real. Your website needs to reflect your local church so that when someone comes in they get what they expect. If your fellowship is made up of about 50 regulars, don’t make it seem like you have hundreds. It appears deceptive.
2. Be honest. Let people know what you believe and why. Don’t water down the truth to get people
to come in. Let them know your values and show them what’s important to you.
3. Be sensitive. Recognize that many people looking for a local church are searching for the Lord, are hurting, or are working through some personal issues. Maybe they have had problems with drugs, alcohol, or relationships.
Your website should reflect the same care and concern that the Lord showed to those in need.
4. Be current. God’s message to the world is as relevant today as it was to the first century believers. Your website
should be current and look current. A website that has out of date information turns people away.
5. Be appealing. The Lord Jesus always gave His best. Your website should be attractive and easy to use. Sites that look old and uninviting give the impression that no one cares. These details can mean a lot to the viewers who come to your website. Investing a little time and energy into your website can keep you from unintentionally turning people away.

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3 Online Bibles For Serious Study

Digital Sojourners live in privileged times when it comes to the availability of user friendly and effective electronic Bible study tools. There are numerous good hard drive based programs – some for purchase, and some for free (In the former category, my favorite is Logos; in the latter category I like e-sword and Bible Explorer). But there are also various good online Bible study programs which enable one to dig into the Word online. I want to highlight three excellent examples of this type of site.

Blue Letter Bible

BLB is one of the best known online sites for Bible study. It offers easy comparison of all the major reputable Bible translations. It also will play the Bible for you in audio, link you to articles, music, and sermons that tie into the passage you are studying (Disclaimer: I’ve never listened to any of the sermons, or delved deeply into the articles, so be a good Berean: always search the Scriptures and compare what preachers and teachers say against the Word itself.) It also offers Greek & Hebrew tools for word studies in the original languages.

The Bible Tool

Like the BLB, the Bible Tool offers a plethora of Bible translations. It is the only site I have found that has the footnotes to John Nelson Darby’s New Translation (aka the JND Version; the footnotes have quite a few gems elucidating the Hebrew and Greek languages for the non-specialist reader.) The site offers a very convenient parallel viewing format, easy searchability, plus access to a number of public domain Bible study tools such as Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, Adam Clark’s commentary, John Lightfoot’s commentary, and many others. One can also do Greek and Hebrew word studies using this site.

The NET Bible and Tools

The New English Translation of the Bible is not my favorite, but it is not the worst of the modern translations either (for instance I prefer it to the NLT or NRSV; I won’t even mention some of the ludicrous paraphrases that clutter the Christian publishing market.) Having said that, its footnotes are outstanding on Greek, Hebrew, Bible culture, & geography. The site also has a large quantity of in-depth articles on the Scriptures by a number of modern evangelical Bible students (e.g. Daniel Wallace, Bob Deffinbaugh, John Walvoord, to name a few.) It also has a helpful side by side glossary for names in passages. One can store ones own notes on the site, and the website also has audio of the NET version.

Of course, there are other online tools worth exploring; here are three more to explore on your own:
1. World Wide Study Bible
2. Bible Study Tools Online
3. Biblia

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Three Archaeology Websites Reviewed

Websites reviewed:
1. Life & Land Seminars (Gordon Franz)
2. Bible Places (Todd Bolen)
3. Associates For Biblical Research (ABR)

Archaeology fascinates modern people, for it lifts the veil on life in the ancient world. Christians are particularly interested in this field due to the light it sheds on the world of the Bible.

During the past two centuries, skeptics have sometimes asserted that archaeology disproves the Bible – or at least, undermines its credibility by revealing numerous errors. A careful study of archaeology from the 19th-21st centuries demonstrates that these claims are patently false. Time and again, the biblical view of the ancient world has been vindicated by the scholars’ shovels, spades, and research in libraries and laboratories.

The more of the Bible lands that are excavated, the more clear become the culture, languages, and backstory of Bible passages.

Unearthing The Past

Happily, digital sojourners (i.e. web-connected believers) have a trove of good materials relating to Biblical archaeology on the web. I wish to highlight three helpful & trustworthy pages.

By way of disclaimer, I will admit that the three driving forces behind these sites are acquaintances of mine: I studied with Dr. Bryant Wood during my history studies at Messiah College in the early 1990s. Todd Bolen led study tours at the American Institute of Holy Land Studies (now called Jerusalem University College) when I was a student there in the Fall of 1993. Gordon Franz has been a close personal friend for twenty-one years, and has encouraged and edified me in innumerable ways. I am indebted to these three brothers for their good service to their fellow-saints by laboring in the Word and historical research.

Veteran archaeologist Gordon Franz’s site is called Life & Land Seminars and may found here: www.lifeandland.org. His page contains numerous articles that he has written over the years on OT & NT history and archaeology. There are also excavation and tour reports pertaining to various biblical sites around the world. He updates the site regularly, and has it well-organized under various tabs such as “Life of Christ,” “Life of David,” “The Seven Churches of Asia Minor – Rev. 1-3,” etc. Technical material is sometimes discussed, but in a way that is accessible to the non-specialized reader.

Picturesque Israel

Todd Bolen’s Bible Places prominently displays his excellent photography of biblical lands – some is freely downloadable, other material may be purchased. He has spent years teaching in Israel (first with the IHLS and then with Master’s Seminary’s extension campus in Israel.) He is currently completing a doctorate at Dallas Theological Seminary. His blog (blog.bibleplaces.com) is outstanding. It contains helpful news from Israel, as well as links to current archaeology on the web.

The Associates For Biblical Research (ABR) exists to teach biblical archaeology, as well as conduct fresh research in the field. Its president, Bryant Wood is well-trained with advanced degrees from the Universities of Michigan and Toronto. His writing in defense of the biblical Jericho has been particularly noteworthy in refuting the prevailing opinion set down by Dame Kathleen Kenyon. Helpful articles and excavation reports may be found at their well-organized site under such headings as “Contemporary issues,” “Exodus-Conquest,” and “New Testament Era.” What is more, it is well-worth subscribing to their quarterly print magazine, Bible & Spade. Their bookstore contains helpful audio, video, & print resources. The blog’s address is www.biblearchaeology.org

I commend these helpful website for all thoughtful Christians, as well as for those who are not convinced of the Bible’s trustworthiness.

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