CSL 001 – The Ultimate Checklist to an Effective Church Website

Welcome to ChurchSpring Live, Episode 001!

Join Rohn and Isabelle as we introduce the ultimate checklist for an effective church website. Plus, learn how you can add contact forms and create short URLs. [truncate]

Show notes

  • Introduction to ChurchSpring Live (00:55)
  • The ultimate checklist for an effective church website (10:05)
    • Purchase a high quality domain name (14:42)
    • Select a reliable website hosting provider (17:58)
    • Setup a website with responsive design (20:38)
    • Select an easy content management system (22:23)
    • Setup your “Start Here”, “Contact Us”, and “Leadership” Pages (25:16)
    • Integrate social media (27:09)
    • Setup a Google Analytics account (29:37)
    • Add sermon audio & video (31:22)
    • Setup a blog on your church website (32:52)
    • Integrate live streaming into your church website (34:17)
    • Action Steps (36:00)
  • How to update your contact page on your ChurchSpring website (38:25)
  • Create a Prayer Request page with the contact form page style (43:41)
  • How to create a short URL on your ChurchSpring website (45:46)
  • Closing Prayer (53:37)
  • Additional Notes & Resources

CSL 001 Transcript

Rohn Gibson (00:54):

All right. Welcome to ChurchSpring Live. I’m Rohn Gibson. I’m the co-founder of ChurchSpring. And joining me today is my co-host, Isabelle Faletti.

Isabelle Faletti (01:06):

Hello. Great to see everybody. I’m the customer success lead here at ChurchSpring, and I’m excited to dive right in on this.

Rohn Gibson (01:13):

Yeah, so we have got a power packed first episode for today, and we just want to thank you all for joining us. So if you wouldn’t mind, we’d love to hear where you’re from, where you’re joining today. So you can feel free, go ahead and post it in the comments below, and we really look forward to engaging with you throughout all of our church bring lives. So I’m going to tell you a little bit more about what we’re going to be doing here, moving forward. So again, this is our very first episode. I would be lying if I wasn’t saying my 10 year old coined the term “nervous-cited,” so a little nervous and a little excited and were all of the above, but man, we really counted a true privilege to serve you. And we’re excited about what God’s going to do and us through this as well as what he’s going to do in the church through this.

Rohn Gibson (02:05):

So we’re just super excited about that. So a couple of quick things, a couple of quick agenda items here, so what to expect. So we are going to start doing this as a weekly show. We know there’s going to be all types of churches that are going to join us. Some that use ChurchSpring. Some that don’t wonderful. We’re excited to serve the church as a whole, whether you are a ChurchSpring member or not. So we just really counted a true privilege to serve those who are on the front lines in ministry. So we’re going to do a lot of different things. This will go all over the place. If you talk to anybody on the ChurchSpring team, they’ll tell you if you don’t like it, just wait, cause we’ll change it and we’ll improve it. And we’d love to hear your feedback.

Rohn Gibson (02:45):

So if you got feedback on the show, things you would like us to consider doing again, we want this to be very engaging and not just a one way conversation. So please leave comments. There’s actually a little stream yard that we want you to click on and it will actually give us then permission to show your question with a little profile picture of you. So we can put a face with the name, which is always super beneficial. All right. So we’re going to have free resources. We’re going to share “how tos” we’re going to share product updates about what’s going on at ChurchSpring. We’re going to bring on expert interviews. Man, we’ve got, we’ve already talked about some of the people that we want to bring onto the show and talk about several different areas. So give us some feedback.

Rohn Gibson (03:27):

What are some things you would like to hear about? A couple of things we’ve talked about is bringing someone on who is a digital marketing expert. Literally he’s what Google used to call a five pecialist is what it was, what it was called. I don’t know if it’s called that now or not. But he basically got every certifications that Google offered to come in and actually teach us things like Google analytics. I’m bringing another expert on, in the area of Facebook advertising. That’s just a massive opportunity. And the church talked to a gentleman who runs live streaming for many churches across the country. He and his team actually run a live streaming for a 10,000 member church, but he works with churches from 10,000 plus members to small, 150 member churches. And he just wants to donate his time. He just wants to come and be a blessing to the church.

Rohn Gibson (04:13):

So we are super excited. So let us know in the comments, what are some things specifically that would be super helpful for you? Cause that’s our goal. We went out as much value as we can and we want to serve you the best way possible. Another thing we’ve talked about doing is website reviews. So actually pulling up different churches website that are interested in having their, their website reviewed, going down through it, literally live making recommendations on areas that you can improve your church website. So we’re excited about those possibilities as well as question and answer and so much more and Isabelle I’m sure I forgot some of the ideas that we’ve thrown out over the last little bit.

Isabelle Faletti (04:53):

Well, we, we have a lot of ideas, so you can all rest easy knowing that you will be served and a lot of different ways here. So we’re, we’re excited to try a couple of different ones. And like Rohn said, we want to hear back from you what works and kind of what listen the feature.

Rohn Gibson (05:09):

Yes. Awesome. So we are going to do this weekly so you can put it on your schedule. That’d be awesome. We are going to do these Thursdays at 10:00 AM central time. So you can join us every week at Thursday at 10:00 AM central time. And our goal is to serve you and engage with you and really have a conversation with you about how to best reach our communities, how to best disciple the people in our church. Ultimately yes, ChurchSpring we are a church technology company, but we are committed to the great commission and reaching people, teaching people and sending those who are called out to do the work that God’s yeah. Ultimately call them to do cause that’s what we’re doing. This is what we feel God’s called us to, and we really want to serve the church in all the ways possible that God leads us to serve.

Rohn Gibson (06:00):

So if you do again, if you have any questions as we go through this first episode please put them in the comments we’re going to address as many of those as we can during, and definitely at the end, we’ll have a Q and a section at the end, but basically the framework of what we’re going to do today is we’re going to do just a quick, keep me, keep me to that Isabelle. We’re going to do a quick teaching on the effective church website checklist. Okay. So I’m going to give you a quick 10 item things that you should consider, not only to launch an effective church website, but also if you have an existing church website, it doesn’t mean, Oh well that’s past for me, these are some opportunities that you yourself could also look at your own church website and see if there’s opportunities for improvements there and then start taking action on those.

Rohn Gibson (06:48):

We’re going to do some “how tos.” so today we’re going to talk about a couple of different things that you can do to, to improve your church website and how to utilize some of the functionality in your church website. And again we’re going to show that inside of ChurchSpring, but these principles and the things that we’re going to talk about apply no matter what software you use. So obviously we would love to serve you, but we also know and acknowledge we are not the perfect fit for every single church out there. We’re not trying to be, we’re not trying to be everything to everybody, but we do want to add value regardless of what platform you use. So we’re going to talk about a couple of tips there. Then we’re going to hit question and answer. So we’re going to curate and try to work through as many questions as we can during our time today.

Rohn Gibson (07:30):

We are going to take prayer requests. If you do have a pray quest today, please share it. Prayer is just a powerful gift that God’s given us. And we have prayer requests that come in every single week at ChurchSpring. We actually have an email that goes out to our customers, asking for prayer requests, because we want to pray for you. We have a team meeting every Monday. We pray for requests. I know personally as well as members of my team, when those requests come in, they get posted in a Slack channel, which is a communications tool that we use. And when I’m going through Slack, I literally pause right then and pray for those requests that come in. So please submit those requests here. If you don’t feel comfortable submitting your request here, but you would still like us to pray for you, please visit ChurchSpring.com, click on contact us.

Rohn Gibson (08:14):

We have a contact form. You can submit your request there and we will absolutely yeah, bring that up and and pray for you. So please do that. And we’re going to go from there. So we are already eight minutes and 20 seconds and but we’re going to try to keep these shows moving forward. Ultimately we’re not going to just, you know, we want to be respectful of your time and we want to add value, but we also know that you know, yes, your time is valuable, but sometimes it does take a little bit longer. So we’re not going to be too stringent and rigid on a 30 minute show. However, we’re going to try to keep it inside of 30 minutes. Isabelle is smiling over there. Cause she knows that will probably be my specific record over here. There you go.

Rohn Gibson (09:05):

There you go. Alright. So let me see. I think that’s everything we had. Talk about that. I miss anything, Isabelle.

Isabelle Faletti (09:13):

No, I think we’re good.

Rohn Gibson (09:14):

Okay, perfect. So if you haven’t liked our page, please do that. Obviously, if you’re getting this, I know there were some people that were talking about sharing it when we were, we were talking about it. So maybe you don’t like our page, please like us on on Facebook, we are going to be in the future creating events where then you can say you’re coming and you’ll get reminders and things like that. We all know we’re busy. Full time ministry is not a part time job. So we understand you’re busy, but definitely if you want to earmark it on your calendar again, Thursdays 10:00 AM central time, put that on your calendar. And then we’ll also again, do as as much as we can to let you know when things are going to go live.

Rohn Gibson (09:54):

So let’s jump into our core teaching now. So let me share my screen. There we go. And what we’re going to do today is we’re going to talk about 10 items that are ultimately things that should be on your checklist for an effective church website. So I wanna, I want to preface it with this. It’s good to stay hydrated. So Isabelle’s leading by example over there. Awesome. Isabelle. I’m going to take a quick drink of water myself because my mouth is already getting dry here. So take a quick sip of water, get the juices flowing here. Secondly, I want you to grab a pen and a piece of paper. There’s going to be some things that we’re going to discuss today, and we don’t want this just to be a time where you’re sitting consuming. We want to teach you and we want to add value, but ultimately we want you to take action on some of the things that may, that maybe are those top action items that you need to move forward with.

Rohn Gibson (10:53):

Okay. So get your pen and paper, ready, take notes. What we want you to do as you go through this is take notes. And then at the end, we’re going to have you do a little exercise where you go through and you say, this is my number one priority. This is the area that we need to improve on our church website. And then I want you to take action on that, okay. That this is all about action. We can give you the coolest tools and some of the best information out there, but all of it, if all this is, is just a video that sits on a server and no one take action on it it’s only gonna be as good as that. So we want you to take action. All right. So one question I have is we get started and I know this is a very soft launch for ChurchSpring live.

Rohn Gibson (11:33):

So we may not have a ton of people chatting in today and that’s just fine. But even if you’re watching the video after the fact, I’d love to hear from you. So please put your comment below and that the question for today that I’d love to hear a comment on is what is the number one goal of your church website? What is the thing that you want to see happen or the, that you want to, you want to receive from your church website? So I really hesitate giving examples because I don’t want to persuade anybody in a specific direction. But I’m going to do it anyway just to get the juices flowing. So it could be something like, I want to hear people say that they found us online and they came and visited our church because they found our church website and then they found enough information there.

Rohn Gibson (12:18):

It led them to come and visit our church website and then Lord willing get involved and become part of the ministry. Another goal could be, I don’t want to hear people say, I didn’t know anymore. Like how many times do you hear that? Where somebody will miss any events. I didn’t know that it was even going on, you know, so maybe that’s a goal. So it’s about communicating with your existing church members. So if you have that, I would love to hear it. So please put your comment. Don’t be bashful. And again, even if you’re watching this after the fact, please put it in the comments below. I’d absolutely love to, to read those and we’ll engage with you and maybe ask him some clarifying questions there in the comments. All right. So I think we are ready to dig in. So let’s get going the effective church website checklist.

Rohn Gibson (13:06):

So just like when a plane gets ready to take off and a pilot, if you’ve flown commercially, a pilot walks around the airplane and they do a pre-flight check to make sure that this plane is ready for takeoff and a safe flight and a safe landing, what we’re going to do as very similar to that today, we’re going to go through the checklist of what needs to be done and reviewed on your church website to make sure that it’s effective. And then it accomplishes the ultimate goal that you would like it to achieve. So I don’t know if this picture resonates with many of you, but before we charted started ChurchSpring, we actually surveyed thousands of pastors asking them multiple questions. And one of the things that we heard back that I personally heard back because they would apply to my emails graciously would reply to emails and they basically told us that their website was just a major source of pain or frustration.

Rohn Gibson (13:59):

They did not feel like, you know, what, what is it even there for? Why do I really even need a church website? Can’t I just use Facebook? Like, can I just do that? And there was just so many questions and so much frustration around the church website. And what we want to do today is get rid of that pain, get rid of that frustration and give you an exact roadmap that you can use to build an effective church website. So here’s my promise to you today. My promise to you today is I want to take the guesswork and frustration out of launching or improving your church website. I want to say that again. My goal today is to take the guesswork and frustration out of launching or improving your church website. So let’s dig in number one, the number one thing that you need to do is purchase a high quality domain name.

Rohn Gibson (14:50):

So what do I mean by high quality domain name? First of all, it should be short. It should be sweet and it should be memorable. Okay. So we see a lot of things at ChurchSpring and Isabelle she’s on the front lines and she’s seen a lot of different things and we see some URLs that are like short paragraphs. And I wish I could say that was like a dramatic overstatement, but it’s not, but it’s not your fault. If you’re sitting there, you’re like, Oh my goodness, our, our domain name is super long. Don’t don’t judge yourself. This isn’t what you do for a living and we want to help you. So number one, make it short and easy to remember. Number two, if at all possible, try to go with a “.com.” .com is the most used. That is what people think of when they think of going to a website.

Rohn Gibson (15:43):

There’s a lot of other extensions that you could use such as.org.church. A lot of people are big advocates of.church. I’m not saying don’t secure that domain name, but I would make the.com your main domain. So number three, own own your domain. Isabelle could share many a story of when they sign up for a church website provider, they also purchased the domain through that person, which by the way, most of those people are just reselling somebody else’s services, which then makes it extremely difficult when it comes to making changes or anything like that. So when somebody signs up with ChurchSpring, we don’t provide a domain cause we want you to own your own address. We don’t want to have any way ownership of that. That’s yours, you own it. And we want you that if you ever decide to make changes to it, and there’s a lot of things.

Rohn Gibson (16:41):

We’ll talk about domain names here in future episodes. There’s a lot of things connected to your domain name. So you absolutely want to have full control and full ownership of your name, domain name. So there’s a couple of sites that I’d recommend you check out. The first one is named cheap.com. It’s super easy. Go find domains that are available and go ahead and purchase it. Another one is godaddy.com while I’m not a massive fan of their advertising, to be perfectly honest. They do have some great services and domain names are just one of their, really what they’re known for. So namecheap.com or go daddy.com. One thing I failed to mention earlier, I’m going to, I’m going to fly through these things. Okay. So we are going to come back over the next 10 to 12 weeks and we’re going to dive more into each one of these topics.

Rohn Gibson (17:34):

Okay? So I’m not going to cover everything with domains about domain name servers, and how to manage that and how to do all these different aspects. We’re going to cover that in a future episode. Okay. So if you do have questions, let us know. We’ll make sure we address as many of those as we can here, but also in a future episode here at ChurchSpring Live. Okay. So number one, purchase a high quality domain name, number two, select a reliable website hosting provider. Why is that important site? Speed is one of the major ranking factors with Google. That by the way, there are thousands of ranking factors inside of the Google algorithm. It doesn’t matter how good your website is. If no one can actually find you, right? So if somebody does a search for I’ll use the town that I grew up in Zanesville, Ohio, if somebody does a search for churches in Zanesville, Ohio, and your website is an optimized actually show up and those results, you just have a really beautiful tree out in the middle of a forest and nobody’s ever going to find, okay, so site speed is very important and that’s why you want to make sure you select a reliable website hosting provider.

Rohn Gibson (18:45):

A thing to consider is that there are providers out there that bundle hosting into their website services. Churchspring is an example of that. When you come to ChurchSpring, you do not have to, okay, well, here’s my website content management system, and I need to go find a provider for my, my website hosting. You don’t have to do that with ChurchSpring. We bundled it together and made it super easy. And we run on some of the fastest servers on the planet. We use Amazon web services, which many, I forget, I think it’s like 50% of the web if I’m not mistaken or greater runs on Amazon web services. So basically if our servers go down like the internet, half of the internet is practically down. So super important, select a reliable website hosting provider that offers very fast servers. And to make sure that your website ranks highly there in Google from that perspective,

Isabelle Faletti (19:39):

I ‘ll just pop-in real quick on that coming from that summer support and success side, I see customers and the hosting that can be really confusing to people who are new to the website world. So if you’re listening and if you’re just confused about what, so what do I do? Where do I even start? Don’t worry, don’t panic. That’s why we’re doing these exact videos. So in the times to come, like Rohn said, we’ll dig into it deeper and you can always ask questions, shoot us an email. So don’t panic. If you’re confused, this is kind of laying out the path for you. And then we will walk along and explain things in a really easy to understand manner.

Rohn Gibson (20:23):

Yes. Isabelle has become quite the expert on domain names over the last few remotes. Very good. All right. So number two there select reliable website, hosting provider, number three, set up a website with responsive design. So what does that mean? Responsive design means that you have one website that looks good and appropriate no matter what the screen size you’re on. So whether you’re on a desktop computer with a big 27 inch screen, like I have sitting in front of me or whether you’re on a laptop or whether you’re on an iPad or whatever mobile device tablet that you have or whatever mobile device you’re on is going to look good back in the day. And there are so a lot of church websites that still do this. They have like a separate mobile site. We’re not talking mobile app. We’re talking about a mobile website and that’s actually not good.

Rohn Gibson (21:17):

You want to create the same experience of the same content, have one, one place that you have to manage for your church website. And that’s why responsive design is so very important. You may not know this, but depending on your site and where you’re located over 70% plus of website traffic to your church website could be coming from a mobile device. That’s enormous. And the rise of mobile, isn’t going to go away. Anytime soon, you look at internet speeds, getting faster through mobile carriers. And I could really nerd out here. And by the way, we look at that as a affectionate term here at ChurchSpring. But like we could really go into that. But the thing you need to know is that think mobile first over 70% of your traffic could be depending on your location and where you’re at could be coming from mobile devices.

Rohn Gibson (22:08):

And again, you have one website that’s adaptable that adapts itself to all the different screen size. So definitely you need a responsive mobile friendly church website. Alright, next select an easy content management system. So there’s a ton and that’s an understatement, a ton of content management systems available for for churches today. Some that are specifically geared toward the church. Some that are not geared toward the church, but are more mass used at the end of the day. You have to do two things. Number one, know what you’re looking for. And number two, know your own skillset. What are your, what’s your skill set? Okay. So we’ve built ChurchSpring, and this is exactly how we started. My father-in-law is a pastor and it was my mother-in-law who was responsible to manage the church website. And at the time she was in her late sixties and she was really struggling.

Rohn Gibson (23:13):

I had lots of conversations with them on difficulty with certain aspects. So our goal when we started ChurchSpring was to make it so she, my mother-in-law can manage launch and manage her own church website. So we have made it. So literally you can launch your site in 90 seconds, and this is not a sales pitch. I promise I’m going to, I’m going to get here, launch your site in 90 seconds and we’ve made it so literally when you edit your site, it’s in line. So instead of having to log into some backend system, make your changes, click save, and then go to a different tab or even a different browser to look okay. Did that look like what I want it to look like? We’ve taken that away. We’re literally you click on the editable regions of your site. You make your edits, you click save and it’s there super easy, super simple.

Rohn Gibson (24:03):

If you have very basic we’ll just say word processing whether that’s Microsoft word, Google docs, whatever you can update and manage your, your church website effectively. Okay. So inline editing, is that important to you? Are you a programmer? Do you enjoy writing code both from a backend side of things or yeah. Yeah, exactly. No, I don’t want to have to sit down and write code. So, but if that’s something you want, then you want to make sure that you choose a content management system that allows you to do that. One of the beauties of ChurchSpring is we actually offer you some of the customization options. So if you’re a, let’s say that you’re a front end developer and you know, CSS, which is the programming language kind of, of design. That’s the simple, concise version of what CSS is. Well, you have some options to be able to go in and make those customizations that you would like.

Rohn Gibson (25:03):

So number one, select an easy content management system, know what you want in a content management system and understand your skillset and then align yourself appropriately to the content management system that best fits your needs. Next set up your start here, contact us and leadership pages. So you want to make it as easy as possible for brand new visitors who just came across you online to find exactly what they’re looking for. A start here page, which honestly we don’t see it enough on church websites. It just makes it super clear to a first time visitor to your site. Here’s where I need to go. It literally says start here. And then you tell them you have content under there that talks about, you know, your leadership pages. Who’s the pastor, who’s the leadership of the church, what to expect your statement of faith. All of those things can be included right there under that start here tab, which is what people are going to look for when they are looking to come potentially visit your church.

Rohn Gibson (26:04):

Okay. Contact us page. You want to make it easy for them to reach out to you. We’re actually going to cover that a little bit more here later on. Exactly how to set that up. And then your leadership page, who are the people behind this? One quick, extra tip. I wasn’t planning on saying, but Lord brought it to mind. So I’m going to say it. When you write your bio as a church leader, don’t feel like you are writing a resume. That’s not what people want to see. I’m not saying don’t include education. If you’ve served at past, you know, ministries to give context, but be personable, be friendly, act like literally you’re walking up to somebody on the sidewalk and you’re, you’re, you’re sticking out your hand to shake their hand. Would you say, Hey, I graduated from so-and-so. And so with this degree, and I’ve had experience in all these ways, you wouldn’t, that’s not how you communicate to them.

Rohn Gibson (26:52):

So don’t do that here either. Be friendly, be warm. Yes. Share those pertinent details. But that’s just a little piece of feedback and hopefully encouragement and something you could review on your existing website of is that an area of opportunity for you to improve on your church website. Alright, next integrate social media. Social media is one of the most powerful church communication tools in the world today. Now I want to be very clear. Facebook is not your church website. You don’t own Facebook, Facebook at any time, which they do this and you’ve all experienced it. Number one there are times where there’s content that they pull off for whatever reason that they feel doesn’t meet their, meet their guidelines. You don’t own the platform Facebook does. Okay. So it’s very important that this is to be a complimentary tool to your main home base digitally, which is your church website.

Rohn Gibson (27:52):

Okay. So it’s a powerful tool, leverage it, but don’t act like you own it and then put everything there. Your church website is that digital homebase for your church. Why should you use social media? 75% of all internet users, all globally engage with social media. That is a powerful tool to reach people. You know, you’ll hear, you’ll hear us moving forward, use different terms. So if you look at the umbrella of discipleship, it’s reaching people, teaching people and really activating slash sending people to do what God’s called them to do. So social media can be a powerful tool to do all the above, but reaching is one of those real areas where social media really Excel. So utilize it, but utilize it correctly correctly, and then find a church website provider that integrates with it. One of the, one of the really cool tools that we’ve added with church ring is that literally when you go and you add an event or you add a sermon or you’ve got a blog post, or your church website, you can actually schedule your social media posts right inside of church, Frank.

Rohn Gibson (29:04):

So there are other providers that do this again. So I’m not going to act like we’re some unique, we’re the only people out there that do this. Cause we’re not however ChurchSpring integrates that right out of the box. If you choose our, I believe it’s the flourish plan that comes right out of the box. You don’t have to install any plugins or do any of that. You literally can connect ChurchSpring to your Facebook or even your Twitter account. And then you schedule your posts and we automatically post them for you. So anyway, so things to think about there integrate social media and your church website next set up a Google analytics account and your eyes may go across now cause analytics. What so was that you can be scary to some people and that’s okay. Yes. Yes. And we’re, like I said, we’re going to do a future episode, really diving into Google analytics, what it is, how it works, how you can set it up very quickly on your church website.

Rohn Gibson (29:59):

So number one, and we talked to a lot of pastors every week. Well, one of the things that it just seems like as a little bit of a common thread is that there’s no goal. What is the thing that you want to accomplish with your church website? Like you can literally connect goals, like tangible. Okay. I want to have people come to our site or come to our services. I want to increase giving, you know, by integrating online giving, I want to better communicate with my church members. So attendance to events or things like that. I mean, there’s so many ways that’s just a really quick examples, but have goals. So set goals and then define what does success look like for your church website, define that and then measure it. Peter Drucker, who was a big management and leadership expert had a famous quote that basically what gets measured gets managed.

Rohn Gibson (30:54):

Okay. So set a goal and then set a week, you know, maybe even a monthly check in with yourself where you go back and you look, here’s the goals. I said, how is our church website doing it, actually helping us accomplish those goals. So Google analytics is a powerful tool that can help you do that. So again, we’ll talk more about that in a future episode, but definitely if you, if the action item is just go and check out Google analytics to start familiarizing yourself with it, I would highly encourage you to do so next, add sermon, audio, and video to your church website. Here’s the reality, depending on where you’re located. I live in a rural area and we actually have more people attend and watch our services digitally than we do actually show up. And they’re, they’re from all over the world from people listening to audio sermons or coming and watching our live stream.

Rohn Gibson (31:48):

And obviously, you know, in the times that we live in today with the pandemic, I praise the Lord. We’re coming out of that. However, those are valuable tools that you as a church should be utilizing to not only minister to your local congregation, to your local community, but there are people searching online. There are people searching online for the truth, and God could use you in your ministry and your church to re reach those people with the truth and the hope of Jesus Christ. So I’d encourage you add sermon, audio and video. It’s super easy with ChurchSpring comes built right in. So definitely add sermon, audio and video to your church website. Also, you can have a podcast and then focus on ministry beyond Sunday. Your website is the only thing that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, get the content on there and really minister to those people that come across your site.

Rohn Gibson (32:45):

So add sermon, audio and video to your church website. Next set up a blog on your church website. So many churches, Hey, they don’t have a blog or B. If they have a blog, they delete it. Cause they don’t really know how to utilize it effectively. With what we just came through as a world, the blog was one of the most underutilized facets of a church communications platform. It is the way where you can post things. So what is a blog? A blog is a place where basically you can go into multiple posts. I can post something today. Hey, churches close tomorrow. We’re going to be live stream only. Here’s some things you need to know, preparing yourself for the service tomorrow. And then in the morning here’s another update and it just basically has a chronological list of posts that you can use to keep your congregation up to date on different things going on in the ministry.

Rohn Gibson (33:36):

So use that tool. There’s so many other applications you can do a weekly devotional. One of the things that my pastor is doing, which I absolutely love is every Thursday or Friday, he sends out an email basically with here’s the scripture that we’re going to talk about on Sunday. Here’s some things you can be praying about. So then when we come into the church, like we can have our hearts and our minds ready for what God has for us. That’s a great way. Again, another great way to use your blog on your church website. So it’s incredible ministry tool when used correctly. If you have questions on how to use the blog again, comment, we’d love to hear your thoughts on that. What your questions are. We’d love to answer those. All right, integrate live streaming into your church website. This nearly goes without saying after the last several months that we’ve been through it’s definitely heightened a need that has always been there.

Rohn Gibson (34:28):

That need has always been there, but obviously it was very much heightened with the reality that many churches, most churches online, I don’t want to say was the only option, but was a very popular option for the church. So, and a great live streaming. It’s incredible for reach. I can’t tell you how many people I run the live stream, my, my own church. So this I’m just not a co founder of a software company. Who’s not involved actively in ministry. Like no, I’m actually the one running a live streaming. I’m at our church. And I can’t tell you how unbelievable unbelievable it is to see the reach of live streaming. It’s powerful, powerful. I’m so highly encourage you to integrate live streaming accessibility. People will come to your website, watch your live stream depending on what service you’re using for that, they can click go to Facebook as an example, which is where you’re watching this live stream.

Rohn Gibson (35:22):

They can be on their mobile device, sitting in their car. They can pull it up, watch a live stream. So an incredible reach, incredible accessibility. And then again, make sure that it’s integrated with your church website. Churchspring comes out of the box with countdown clocks. It’s tied to events. So literally all you have to do is create an event, say it’s going to be a live stream and we handle a ton of the heavy lifting for you. So definitely consider if you’re not already integrating live stream into your church website. So we’ve covered a lot, a lot 35, almost 36 minutes of content. And I kind of knew it was going to go long. But I hope that that was valuable for you. It also may feel a little overwhelming. So what I would tell you, number one is you got this pray, ask God to give you clarity on what are the next steps that he would have you take to improve your church website, pray about it, give it to God, surrender it to him.

Rohn Gibson (36:26):

He will guide you. So it’s time to take action. What is the number one thing is it we’re not live streaming right now. You know, if there’s anything that pandemic has taught us, we need to be ready. This is an area of outreach that we need to start really looking at. How can we reach people in our community as well as even outside of our community with the truth through utilizing live streaming services. So what’s the number one thing you can take action on. And then lastly, before I hand it over and we start doing some “how tos” rewatch the video. So one of the really cool things is that after this live stream is over, it’s going to post into our video section and you can go back and you can watch it and rewatch it and rewatch it. However many times you need to at your own pace to really determine, okay, what are the next steps I’m going to take?

Rohn Gibson (37:16):

Okay, that’s my number one step. I need to simplify domain name. All right, I’m going to go do that. Boom. That’s done. All right. What else do I have on my list? Okay, now here’s the next action item that I’m going to take? You can do this. You can absolutely do this. Go back and rewatch the video as needed to get the tools and the resources that you need as well as let us know if there’s questions you have and things we can do to help. Alright, so now we’re going to get super practical on how to do specific things. So two things we’re going to cover. We talked about the contact form, right? So you need to add the pages to your website. And one of the pages that we talked about adding is the contact form. So we’re going to show you how to do that. And next Isabel is going to walk us through how to add or create a sheet short URL for your site. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and jump in.

Isabelle Faletti (38:09):

Awesome. Thanks Rohn. Wow. I’m, I’m encouraged to start updating my church’s website now after a checklist. Yeah, so kind of what Rohn mentioned, your contact point is so important when your website is opened my first button. So if you have a new visitor or a church member come to your website, you need to know, and it needs to be easy, simple for them to buy that page and to find the form or email to contact you. And I will enlarge my screen right here. Okay. so with ChurchSpring, as Rohn mentioned, we, you can launch a website in 90 seconds flat,uand a big part of that is because when you get your website and you have all these pages that are automatically created for you, and we add them texts that we put in time into,uso that you don’t have to be creating your website texts from scratch.

Isabelle Faletti (39:19):

One of those pages that we create for you is the contact page. So it’s super slick, real, really just amazing how it works. Rohn and Mike our cofounders they’ve done a great job at creating this. Also before I get into too much of the weeds here, since we are live streaming my screen, maybe a bit slow as my internet does the live streaming and works on a website and buffer everything on my computer. So if you see if there’s some pause, that’s the reason why so with the contact form, when you create a contact page, this is the page that you will immediately see. So you’ll see that there’s some default text already written out for you and then the form is already added to your page. So then all that you have to do is you can edit this text and simply click into the pencil icon that kind of represents that editing capabilities throughout your entire ChurchSpring website.

Isabelle Faletti (40:21):

And then you can very easily remove this text if you want, you can update the text. So if you want to say for media assistance, please call our church office and then you can update the phone number, cause whatever you want it to be. And then you can hit save and it will automatically save in real time. So you won’t have to do some type of save once and then twice for it to go live. Once you hit save, it’s live out there. So you can update this text to whatever you want to, you can change the headline here. We’ll get into kind of text editing capabilities at a later time. So then for the contact form, that is this section right here people will be able to fill out the, their full name, add their email, and then any specific message.

Isabelle Faletti (41:13):

So again, this is this top edit section. This is a great way. If you want people to include a specific message, you can, you can include that right here. So I just want to dive into the form settings here. So right now, when a visitor comes to your page, they go to your contact page, they submit contact form. You can designate who will receive this contact form. So when someone fills out that form and you need the secretary or the pastor at your source received this form, so that they’ll know to contact the person who’s, who’s reaching out to you you can edit the contact form recipients, so you can add as many emails as you want. So you could do let’s say admin@youremail.com. And then you can add a comment to add as many different email addresses to receive a notification that someone’s filled out your contact form.

Isabelle Faletti (42:13):

You can also update that email subject or the default email subject here. So right now this form is on the contact page. So I would want this to be the contact us page form inquiry, but if this is for a prayer request, if this form is on a prayer request page, then I could just update the subject to say prayer requests or an inquiry, and then it’s safe. One really cool feature is that we show the map of your church location to the right here, if you don’t want that, that’s okay. You can uncheck that option to save. And again, it automatically updates in real time. So pretty slick. So that’s kind of the basics of the form settings. I see a lot of customers use our contact form in a variety of ways. It is you can use it and a ton of ton of different ways.

Isabelle Faletti (43:12):

So one thing that I see our customers use consistently that I love is they use the contact form for a prayer request page. So I’ll just run down that real quick here. And again, we will, we’ll cover other areas of how to actually add pages in depth at a later time. So some areas may be a little fast for you. But just drop a comment in the video here and we’ll answer any questions that you have. So if someone would want to add a prayer request page then they would simply click add a new page, add prayer request, and then select the contact form page style. So when you select the contact form page style and hit save and continue, you’ll see that a new page is automatically created with the entire template already to go for you. So a background image, this default text, I talked about the form. So then at this point, all you have to do is edit this text to what you would want it to be. So you could say “send in your prayers”

Isabelle Faletti (44:30):

And then again, this text to what you want it to relevant to that page hit safe. And then you can update the form settings to say you would want someone who’s in charge of receiving prayer requests and your whoever’s, your, your prayer minister. Then you can add that also on the email recipient, same thing with the email subject, you could do prayer requests. And then for my request page, I would probably hide the maps and since that’s not really relevant and then hit save.

Isabelle Faletti (45:14):

And let me, let me hit save. Okay. There we go. Uso that’s how you can very simply add a prayer request page. Usuper simple. Again, if you have questions comment below your current customer of ChurchSpring, we will love to hear from you. You can send in a support ticket and we’ll help help you out answer any questions. Uso that kind of transitions into the next area that I wanted to give a quick rundown and that’s creating a short URL. So a short URL is basically an easy way that you can take a very long URL like I have up here. Uand you can make it super easy for people to find this page by a short URL. So I’ll go into more details on that here. Uso for example, on this prayer request page, it is our sub domain name.

Isabelle Faletti (46:09):

So Isabelledemo.churchspring.org, and then the main page name contact us, and then the actual page name us per request. So that’s a really long URL. So if you’re wanting to tell people how they can submit a prayer request, people won’t remember that that’s, that’s a crazy long string for people to remember. So instead I want you to create a URL that will be super short, that direct people to this page. So it would be IIsabelledemo.churchspring.org/prayer. Nice and simple, easy to put on social media or your, your slides on Sunday morning. So to that in your website you will click the settings and I’m on the flourish plan right now. So the settings is on the left panel. So if you’re a current ChurchSpring member and you’re on the sprouts or the grow plan, then your settings will be at the top right section.

Isabelle Faletti (47:06):

So, but the settings is this the same setup in the back. So when I click into settings, this is my dashboard. I’m going to click onto the website tab and then click into URL redirects. So you were all redirects is what we call a short URL. Those are that, that it means the same thing. And then kind of have a, a brief description of how you can use it, the URL redirect. So in my example, here, you just start and select this plus icon, and then that’ll pull up two little sections or boxes here. So you’re starting your URL. This is what you want people to type in to go to your end destination. So for example, with the prayer request page, I want people to go to my, my sub domain. So that will always be automatically filled up.

Isabelle Faletti (48:02):

If you have a custom domain, this will automatically be updated with your custom domain. And I just want people to be able to go to my website slash prayer, nice and easy for people to remember. And then the forwards to this is again, your end destination page. So for prayer requests this is where I want people to end up back. So I’ll just copy this URL. So you can do a keyboard shortcut, or you can just right. Click and copy. And then I’ll go back into my settings that I had open in a new tab. And then I will simply paste that URL right here into the forwards to box, and then I’ll hit save, and that’s all I need to do. And so then it tested out, I’ll just copy this starting URL. I’ll open in a new tab so I can show you how it’ll work, I’ll paste that URL.

Isabelle Faletti (49:00):

And then you’ll see that it will automatically redirect to that prayer request page that I just made. So again, this is a really easy way to make a long string super short and concise. So then you can tell people to submit their prayer requests and you can just have that short URL on social media when you’re doing a live stream video, when you’re where wherever you need to. So that’s how you can create a short URL. Pretty simple. Again, if you have questions about it, send us a ticket in your settings that we just showed you here and your support ticket tab. If you’re not yet a customer of us and you just want to learn more about how this even works, how, how this is so easy to use. Then we have a really cool demo webinar where Rohn and our other co-founder Mike will walk you through some freaking frequently asked questions and show you all the bells and whistles of ChurchSpring. So there you go. If you have questions again, let us know. We want to help out.

Rohn Gibson (50:05):

Awesome. Thanks so much for walking people through that. I think one super practical application for us right now, you know, with where kind of we’re at coming off the tail end of the pandemic. And a lot of churches are starting to open up again. I think a great use case for the short URL is actually just creating church.com forward slash opening or open, and then just tell people to go there. And then you can constantly update that page and people know exactly where to go, what to expect when they come to church, what are your social, social distancing or cleaning standards or whatever that is that you want to put out there and make public as we go through this kind of phase of, of where we’re at in the world. That’s another great application for how you can utilize that. So I would highly recommend that you check that out.

Rohn Gibson (50:54):

Let’s see. I don’t think we’ve had any, excuse me, questions. Come in. Let me just double check that. Yep. None today, which is just fine. We actually didn’t really promote or advertise this at all. So if you do have questions, please ask. Obviously, like I said, this video is going to post, we would love to answer your questions in a future episode obviously this episode is going a little long, so maybe it’s a, it’s good. We don’t have a ton of questions today, but please know, we want to answer your questions. We want to be a blessing to you and your ministry as you seek to reach people for Christ in your local context. So please do that. I would like to invite you to join us. So if you have not already, I would encourage you. If anything you’ve seen in this video, it’s like my goodness, what she just did look so easy compared to what I have to do today.

Rohn Gibson (51:46):

And you can relate with the girl that I showed early on in the video that just looks stressed out. I would highly encourage you to do two things. Number one and Isabelle. Alluded to this. We would love to invite you to join us for a demo. Basically what we do with that is we literally walk you through how to launch an effective church website. So if you have not had the opportunity to join us we’d love to have you join us myself, as well as my cofounder. Mike, we walk you through that. We have live chat support Monday through Friday. So as you have questions I should say Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM central time. And then if you have questions outside of that, definitely reach out to us. But you can see at firsthand exactly how it works.

Rohn Gibson (52:33):

So definitely check that out. And that’s ChurchSpring.com/demo. Then if you’re ready to say, Hey, I want to just give this a shot. Like how can I do that? We offer a seven day free trial. So literally zero commitment. You sign up, you get full support. We don’t treat you like some person over here that will you haven’t given us any money. So therefore we’re not going to support you. After you sign up, you’ll actually get a complimentary call from one of our team members to make sure that you have exactly what you need, answer, any questions you have. We want to add value to you and help you accomplish whatever the goal is that you have for your church website. So if you’re interested in doing that, you can go to this URL right here on the screen and start your free trial in less than 90 seconds.

Rohn Gibson (53:21):

Churchspring.Com/Trial. We’d love to have you join us as a member of the church, bring family. And even if it’s just to give it a shot and see if it’s a good fit for your ministry. So we are going to close in prayer. Prayer is so important. It is such a gift that God’s given us and we want to uphold you in prayer. So I haven’t seen any prayer requests come in, but like I said, we get prayer requests all throughout the week. Cause we actually asked our members to let us know what their prayer requests are. So I’m going to pull up our Slack channel here, not on the screen, but just on my screen. And we actually had a prayer request come in yesterday from Pastor Melvin and he, and I’m sure this resonates with many of you.

Rohn Gibson (54:07):

He asks us to pray. “We’re Resuming services this Sunday, pray for God’s grace and presence with us.” And I know many of you are in that place. You’re navigating. What does this look like to reopen? And here’s what I can tell you. God knows this was not a surprise. This wasn’t a surprise to God. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it wasn’t a surprise to God and he will show you the way and we want to pray for you, pray with you. So if you do have any other prayer requests, even after this recording goes on the site, the recording of it feel free, submit your prayer requests. We would love to uphold your ministry and you personally in prayer. So we’re going to go ahead and wrap up. Were there any other requests or anything that came in? Any places that I haven’t seen, Isabelle?

Isabelle Faletti (54:56):

Nope. I think we’re good.

Rohn Gibson (54:57):

Okay. Wonderful. Well, let’s go ahead and do this. We are going to wrap up with prayer. We’ll pray for pastor. Belvin pray for all of you who are listening to this that God just gives you such grace and mercy and clarity. As you look to reopen your local gatherings. The church never closed. We are the church. We’re not, we’re not closed. But we also know the context in which we’re talking, so we will pray for that. And then we’ll jump off. So let’s go ahead and pray, dear God, I thank you for your blessings today. Lord, I thank you for everyone who was able to join us live as well as that. Those who will watch it through the recording. And I, God, I just pray that you would be with them Lord, that they would sense your presence since you’re leading in their lives. Since your goodness, Lord, your grace, your mercy Lord, your steadfast love.

Rohn Gibson (55:57):

And Lord, we just thank you for who you are and Lord for the opportunity that you’ve given us to be used by you. Lord, we surrender to you, our expectations, our schedule or our lives Lord, we surrender it to you and Lord, we desire to be used by you Lord to accomplish your will. So God, I pray I’m Lord during this time that you would or help us to rest in you and abide in you and Lord to walk with you daily, to talk with you all throughout the day, Lord, all these little cares of life that maybe we don’t bring to you, God, I pray that you would put that on our mind, through your spirit Lord to lead us Lord, to be talking with you all throughout the day. So Lord, I pray that you would be with pastor Melvin or to be with all the pastors across the globe, Lord that are navigating these unique times of reopening those local gatherings.

Rohn Gibson (57:01):

So Lord, I pray that you would give them much grace, much mercy or give them clarity on what that looks like. What I pray that you would work through those different local congregations Lord, that they would give grace Lord during this time. But those who do feel led to attend locally, God, that you would or keep them safe, keep them healthy and learn also, or to help them to apply much grace, to those who just aren’t quite there yet for whatever the reason might be. So got a, I asked that you would use them Lord to reach souls for you or to teach and disciple those or under their care into a Lord, a right relationship with you and who you are and an accurate view of who you are. And Lord, because of that Lord, that their lives will be radically changed and that they will seek to yeah.

Rohn Gibson (58:12):

To serve you or didn’t to live for you fully, fully surrendered to you. So I got to ask that again. All right. I just thank you for this time, Lord, I thank you for technology. I thank you for the opportunity. You’ve given us in the calling in our lives Lord, to minister, to the church, to your church. And God, I pray that you would bless those efforts. Bless those who hear my voice. God, I pray that you would give them just a sense of peace and understanding of your goodness Lord during this time. So Lord, we love you and we thank you for loving us in Jesus’ name. Amen. All right. Well thank you all for joining us today. I’m already I’m fired up now. I can’t wait till next Thursday. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to wait till next Thursday or not.

Rohn Gibson (58:59):

This is a, this has been great. Thank you all for joining us. Thank you, Isabelle. Any, any other things we need to share before we jump off? No. All right. Have a great rest of your day, everybody. You’re in our prayers. Again. If you have any questions that you’d like us to address in future episodes, please put them below and we look forward to seeing you next week, Thursday at 10:00 AM central time until then God bless. And we’ll see you all soon.

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