Archives For Craig Van Korlaar

Special Thanks to September’s Sponsors

Craig Van Korlaar —  September 19, 2013

Church Relevance is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. Each of them offers something valuable for ministry leaders, so be sure to check them out.

Big Sponsors

  • Active Faith (Fellowship One)
    Fellowship One has long been a powerhouse of church management software. Now as part of the Active Faith technology network, they have the team, resources, and momentum to continue pioneering church tech innovations.
  • Ekklesia 360
    Ekklesia 360 is a sophisticated church website content management system. If you want a custom look plus a user-friendly admin panel that has been tailored for churches’ needs, check out Ekklesia 360. When I used to run a web development shop, it is what we used.
  • Elexio
    Merge your church management and communications. Elexio’s Amp Fusion church management software gives you website, database, mobile, check-in, and creative design services all in one suite of tools.
  • FaithVillage
    FaithVillage is a new social network and resource hub for faith experiences. Set-up your loft and meet some new friends. Watch an inspiring video or join a cause. Share a ministry idea or post a blog.
  • Graceway Media
    For the cost of one custom design, you can get access for a year to Graceway Media’s library of over 10,000 graphic and motion designs. Want a free sample? You’ll get an assortment of free designs just for creating a free membership.
  • Lightstock
    A Faith-Focused, Royalty-Free Images Starting as low as $5. Use in your next web design, blog post, sermon slide or video.
  • Sharefaith
    Sharefaith provides affordable church websites along with one of the largest databases of graphics (50,000+) available, plus numerous document templates, videos, and more.
  • Shelby Systems
    Shelby is one of the top choices among church management software. They offer multiple products to better suit your needs, and their 9,000 customers represent organizations of under 200 persons to well over 80,000.

Sponsors

  • Church Community Builder
    CCB is a web-based church management system which unifies core management tools, critical people-driven data, and social networking tools into a single solution.
  • FaithWebsites
    DIS offers Faithwebsites and DIS Websites, both are Content Management System with tools everyone can use. They offer scalable designs you can start with – from Do It Yourself to uniquely crafted custom designs.
  • Leaders Book Summaries
    You can learn more in less time by subscribing to Leaders Book Summaries, which condenses notable leadership books down to 10 to 20 minute summaries. I use them.
  • OpenChurch
    OpenChurch offers free ministry resource library with a growing list of downloadable resources along with ministry idea articles from from all cultures.

If you would like to learn more about sponsoring Church Relevance, check out our sponsors page for the latest rates, options, and traffic stats.

Special Thanks to August’s Sponsors

Craig Van Korlaar —  August 12, 2013

Church Relevance is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. Each of them offers something valuable for ministry leaders, so be sure to check them out.

Big Sponsors

  • Thrive
    Thrive is a service offered by Axletree Media, which simplifies the creation and delivery of your messages to your members over multiple devices, platforms and mediums (website, mobile, social media, email, text, print).
  • Shelby Systems
    Shelby is one of the top choices among church management software. They offer multiple products to better suit your needs, and their 9,000 customers represent organizations of under 200 persons to well over 80,000.
  • Lightstock
    A Faith-Focused, Royalty-Free Images Starting as low as $5. Use in your next web design, blog post, sermon slide or video.
  • Graceway Media
    For the cost of one custom design, you can get access for a year to Graceway Media’s library of over 10,000 graphic and motion designs. Want a free sample? You’ll get an assortment of free designs just for creating a free membership.
  • FaithVillage
    FaithVillage is a new social network and resource hub for faith experiences. Set-up your loft and meet some new friends. Watch an inspiring video or join a cause. Share a ministry idea or post a blog.
  • Elexio
    Merge your church management and communications. Elexio’s Amp Fusion church management software gives you website, database, mobile, check-in, and creative design services all in one suite of tools.
  • Active Faith (Fellowship One)
    Fellowship One has long been a powerhouse of church management software. Now as part of the Active Faith technology network, they have the team, resources, and momentum to continue pioneering church tech innovations.

Sponsors

  • OpenChurch
    OpenChurch offers free ministry resource library with a growing list of downloadable resources along with ministry idea articles from from all cultures.
  • Leaders Book Summaries
    You can learn more in less time by subscribing to Leaders Book Summaries, which condenses notable leadership books down to 10 to 20 minute summaries. I use them.
  • FaithWebsites
    DIS offers Faithwebsites and DIS Websites, both are Content Management System with tools everyone can use. They offer scalable designs you can start with – from Do It Yourself to uniquely crafted custom designs.
  • Ekklesia 360
    Ekklesia 360 is a sophisticated church website content management system. If you want a custom look plus a user-friendly admin panel that has been tailored for churches’ needs, check out Ekklesia 360. When I used to run a web development shop, it is what we used.
  • Church Community Builder
    CCB is a web-based church management system which unifies core management tools, critical people-driven data, and social networking tools into a single solution.

If you would like to learn more about sponsoring Church Relevance, check out our sponsors page for the latest rates, options, and traffic stats.

70 Creative Church Set Designs

Craig Van Korlaar —  July 23, 2013

Creative Church Stage Designs List

We’ve updated our list of creative church set designs, which includes:

  • 9 new stages for 2013
  • 10 new stages for 2012
  • 1 new stage for 2011
  • 1 new stage for 2010
  • 1 new stage for 2009

Church set designs are becoming increasingly popular with the rise of creative sermons and multi-sensory worship experiences.

Environment can have a remarkable influence over how people feel, behave, and learn. So while nothing replaces the power of preaching the gospel and God’s Word, a creative church set design can help make a sermon more memorable and create an atmosphere that is more worshipful, reflective, and in awe of God.

View the list of creative church stage designs.

Special Thanks to July’s Sponsors

Craig Van Korlaar —  July 22, 2013

Church Relevance is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. Each of them offers something valuable for ministry leaders, so be sure to check them out.

Big Sponsors

  • Active Faith (Fellowship One)
    Fellowship One has long been a powerhouse of church management software. Now as part of the Active Faith technology network, they have the team, resources, and momentum to continue pioneering church tech innovations.
  • Elexio
    Merge your church management and communications. Elexio’s Amp Fusion church management software gives you website, database, mobile, check-in, and creative design services all in one suite of tools.
  • FaithVillage
    FaithVillage is a new social network and resource hub for faith experiences. Set-up your loft and meet some new friends. Watch an inspiring video or join a cause. Share a ministry idea or post a blog.
  • Graceway Media
    For the cost of one custom design, you can get access for a year to Graceway Media’s library of over 10,000 graphic and motion designs. Want a free sample? You’ll get an assortment of free designs just for creating a free membership.
  • Shelby Systems
    Shelby is one of the top choices among church management software. They offer multiple products to better suit your needs, and their 9,000 customers represent organizations of under 200 persons to well over 80,000.
  • Sharefaith
    Sharefaith provides affordable church websites along with one of the largest databases of graphics (50,000+) available, plus numerous document templates, videos, and more.
  • Thrive
    Thrive is a service offered by Axletree Media, which simplifies the creation and delivery of your messages to your members over multiple devices, platforms and mediums (website, mobile, social media, email, text, print).

Sponsors

  • Church Community Builder
    CCB is a web-based church management system which unifies core management tools, critical people-driven data, and social networking tools into a single solution.
  • Ekklesia 360
    Ekklesia 360 is a sophisticated church website content management system. If you want a custom look plus a user-friendly admin panel that has been tailored for churches’ needs, check out Ekklesia 360. When I used to run a web development shop, it is what we used.
  • FaithWebsites
    DIS offers Faithwebsites and DIS Websites, both are Content Management System with tools everyone can use. They offer scalable designs you can start with – from Do It Yourself to uniquely crafted custom designs.
  • Leaders Book Summaries
    You can learn more in less time by subscribing to Leaders Book Summaries, which condenses notable leadership books down to 10 to 20 minute summaries. I use them.
  • OpenChurch
    OpenChurch offers free ministry resource library with a growing list of downloadable resources along with ministry idea articles from from all cultures.

If you would like to learn more about sponsoring Church Relevance, check out our sponsors page for the latest rates, options, and traffic stats.

Most of us use Google every day, but few people know just how powerful Google’s search capabilities actually are. I spend a good deal of time doing online research for academic, work, and personal interest purposes. One of the best investments of time I’ve made in the past 3 years was taking several advanced Google search courses. I thought I would share some of the more common Google search operators I use while “power searching.”

[Non-Google] How to search within an open document, PDF or webpage

CTRL-F (Windows)  or Command-F (Mac) opens the find function. Type in a word and it searches the open document or page. I use this function at least 5 times a day for everything from email to research. If you remember to use just this simple tip, you’re better off than 90% of internet users who are unaware of it.

If you want to get even more fancy and become a search ninja, I recommend familiarizing yourself with the following Googling tips and operators.

filetype: Find documents of a specific file type

  • filetype:doc example volunteer signup forms returns volunteer signup forms that are in editable word document formats
  • social media posting guide filetype:pdf returns only pdf document versions of social media posting guides
  • sermon on the mount notes filetype:pdf is a great way to find notes and resources from other churches and seminaries to aid in the creation of yours (think inspiration not stealing)

site: Restrict your search to specific domains/directories

  • site:.gov only shows results from .gov websites (e.g. site:.gov hispanic faith )
  • site:fuller.edu only shows results from Fuller Seminary’s website. (e.g. site:fuller.edu tuition)
  • site:churchrelevance.com/resources/ only searches the “Resources” folder on ChurchRelevance.com

“keyword(s)” Restrict your search to those containing an exact phrase

Adding quotations around a word or phrase is a great way to search for quotes, scripture, song lyrics, or when trying to narrow a search that had returned too many irrelevant results.

  • “go on up you baldhead” Try it to learn the fate of the child taunters of Elisha.
  • “The mind commands itself and meets resistance.” Remember part of a quote, but not the whole thing? Enter what you know in quotes and Google will help you track down the rest.

-keyword Exclude searches containing a specific key word

  • martin luther -king shows results for Martin Luther, but exclude any that contain the word “king”

Restrict your results published within a specified date range

Select “Search Tools” located under the search bar, then change “Any Time” to the option of your choice.

Google Time Sensitive Search Example

Find the source(s) of an image

1. Save the image to your desktop or other easy to access location.
2. While on Google.com, click on “Images”
3. Drag the image file into the google image search bar and it will change to drag and drop box
4. Links to similar images and source articles should appear

Unknown Image Google Search

link: Find Indexed Pages that Point to a URL

A great way to find other articles that link to a particular webpage/article. Note: you’ll often get a strong mix of pros, cons, and inbetweens. Also, this is rarely an exhaustive list as any links with a “nofollow” tag or found on unindexed pages will not be shown.

  • link:religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/31/southern-baptists-to-urge-churches-and-members-to-cut-boy-scout-ties/
  • link:churchrelevance.com/resources/top-church-blogs/

Other Advanced Search Options

  • Fill in the blank –> blessed are the meek * earth
  • Find a definition of a word directly from search results –>  define:kosher
  • Search within the title only intitle:Francis Chan
  • Find results with one of two key works by using OR between them–> writings of peter OR paul
  • Find articles that include a number within a range using two dots between –> Homosexuality and the church 1800..1900
  • Only search within news articles –> Under the google search bar select the “More” dropdown and choose “News”
  • Search for creative commons licensed content –> Scroll down towards the bottom of google.com or any search result page and click “Advanced Options“. Near the bottom select your desired CC licenses from the section titled “Usage Rights”

There are many more advanced search options available, but I find these help me get to 98% of the answers/resources I need. Do you have a favorite which is not listed here?

Special Thanks to June’s Sponsors

Craig Van Korlaar —  June 26, 2013

Church Relevance is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. Each of them offers something valuable for ministry leaders, so be sure to check them out.

Big Sponsors

  • Thrive
    Thrive is a service offered by Axletree Media, which simplifies the creation and delivery of your messages to your members over multiple devices, platforms and mediums (website, mobile, social media, email, text, print).
  • Sharefaith
    Sharefaith provides affordable church websites along with one of the largest databases of graphics (50,000+) available, plus numerous document templates, videos, and more.
  • Shelby Systems
    Shelby is one of the top choices among church management software. They offer multiple products to better suit your needs, and their 9,000 customers represent organizations of under 200 persons to well over 80,000.
  • Graceway Media
    For the cost of one custom design, you can get access for a year to Graceway Media’s library of over 10,000 graphic and motion designs. Want a free sample? You’ll get an assortment of free designs just for creating a free membership.
  • FaithVillage
    FaithVillage is a new social network and resource hub for faith experiences. Set-up your loft and meet some new friends. Watch an inspiring video or join a cause. Share a ministry idea or post a blog.
  • Elexio
    Merge your church management and communications. Elexio’s Amp Fusion church management software gives you website, database, mobile, check-in, and creative design services all in one suite of tools.
  • Active Faith (Fellowship One)
    Fellowship One has long been a powerhouse of church management software. Now as part of the Active Faith technology network, they have the team, resources, and momentum to continue pioneering church tech innovations.

Sponsors

  • OpenChurch
    OpenChurch offers free ministry resource library with a growing list of downloadable resources along with ministry idea articles from from all cultures.
  • Lightstock
    A Faith-Focused, Royalty-Free Images Starting as low as $5. Use in your next web design, blog post, sermon slide or video.
  • Leaders Book Summaries
    You can learn more in less time by subscribing to Leaders Book Summaries, which condenses notable leadership books down to 10 to 20 minute summaries. I use them.
  • FaithWebsites
    DIS offers Faithwebsites and DIS Websites, both are Content Management System with tools everyone can use. They offer scalable designs you can start with – from Do It Yourself to uniquely crafted custom designs.
  • Ekklesia 360
    Ekklesia 360 is a sophisticated church website content management system. If you want a custom look plus a user-friendly admin panel that has been tailored for churches’ needs, check out Ekklesia 360. When I used to run a web development shop, it is what we used.
  • Church Community Builder
    CCB is a web-based church management system which unifies core management tools, critical people-driven data, and social networking tools into a single solution.

If you would like to learn more about sponsoring Church Relevance, check out our sponsors page for the latest rates, options, and traffic stats.

The backbone of a church website is its navigation. A poor navigation obscures the content and loses visitors, but a well-designed navigation will streamline the user experience by giving what they need when they need it.

Here are the latest trends in good church website navigation and headers.

Logo: Horizontal orientation. On the Left. Links to Home.

Most websites place their logo in the top left corner. The center (with navigation on either side) is also a viable option, such as in the case of Terra Nova. Tips include:

  • Link logo to home page: Even if you choose to have “Home” as a navigation element, the logo should still link to the home page. Users expect this functionality.
  • If you have both horizontal and stacked versions of your logo, you will want to use the horizontal version in most cases because it uses up less vertical page real-estate, which allows room for more site content before users have to scroll.
  • Stacked logos still can work if (1) you have a longer name (Celebration Church), (2) your navigation bar is higher than normal for another reason such as subtext (The Chapel), or (3) your logo is compact (City on a Hill).

Dropdowns: No Longer a Best Practice

Dropdowns are still popular, but user experience architects, designers, and SEO experts are increasingly discouraging their use. Reasons why include:

  • Studies have found that many people find dropdowns annoying.
  • By not having them you drive people to higher level pages first which give them a broader context before drilling down further.
  • You can still have subpages, just display them on the section page instead of in the website’s global navigation.
  • Dropdowns dilute rather than focus the “link juice” from the home page. If not coded properly, Google may struggle to understand them at all.
  • Dropdowns tend to encourage the creation of too many pages (I’ve been guilty of this in the past). Not having them encourages clarity and brevity through combining of the most important information up front.

Creative alternatives to the dropdown menu include:

  • Longer home page with the subnav included in each section (see Hillsong London). University of Colorado Denver (where I’m attending grad school) takes this a step further and adds a floating nav bar which jumps you up and down the page.
  • Provide the user with the context of an entire page simply through hovering over the navigation. For an example, hover over the main navigation on Gateway Scottsdale’s website.

Secondary Navigation: Use to Cut Down on Main Sections

The secondary navigation is used as way to cut down on primary navigation sections by moving a few frequently sought after pages into a smaller secondary nav bar. Common examples are Give, Contact, Login, Search, Calendar/Events. Tips include:

  • Use smaller text
  • Try to limit to 3 (not including Search)
  • Also a common place to find a locations dropdown or campuses button/link.

Social Icons: Move out of Header

Though a number of sites still displayed social icons in the headers, more and more of them seem to be moving them to the footer, a sidebar, or beneath the slider.

Navigation Subtext: Use Only When Truly Helpful

Subtext is an option, but it runs the risk of making things unnecessarily cluttered. Tips include:

  • Only use it if additional context is truly needed.
  • Avoid using if you have more than 5 sections.

Good Navigation Subtext

GOOD USAGE: The subtext is helpful and allows for the condensing of sections without loss of understanding.

  • JESUS It’s all about Jesus
  • VISIT Locations : About
  • CONNECT Groups : Ministries
  • SERMONS Training : Music
  • GIVE Donate : Serve

Poor Navigation Subtext

POOR USAGE: The subtext provides no real additional value and makes things unnecessarily busy.

  • ABOUT Who we are
  • CONNECT and get involved
  • NEXT STEPS for your journey
  • EVENTS to enjoy
  • GIVING back to the Lord
  • CONTACT Drop us a line

Church Website Navigation Examples

Fairhaven (Centerville, OH) – 4 sections

Fairhaven Navigation

Gateway Scottsdale (Scottsdale, AZ) – 4 sections
Note: Great use of subtext with fewer navigation options. Upon hovering over navigation a page-wide dropdown with a contextual large image and list of subpages appears. Feels like visiting a new page without having to click on anything.

Gateway Church Scottsdale

Grace Community Church (Simi Valley, CA) – 4 sections

Grace Community Church

Austin Stone Community Church (Austin, TX) – 5 sections
Note: Example of a “Show Campuses” link.

The Austin Stone Navigation

Brainerd Baptist Church (Chattanooga, TN) – 5 sections
Note: Though their sections built around vision/mission are creative, their meaning is less intuitive to the visitor.

Brainerd Baptist Church Navigation

City of Grace (Mesa, AZ) – 5 sections

City of Grace Navigation

Eagle Brook Church (Minneapolis, MN) – 5 sections
Note: The campus links in the upper left above main nav work well with this simple header. On a less simple header, you might want to use a single dropdown, link or button.

Eagle Brook Church Navigation

First Baptist Concord (Knoxville, TN) – 5 sections

First Baptist Concord Website

Rock Church (San Diego, CA) – 5 sections
Note: Another great use of subtext.

Rock Church Website

The Chapel (Chicago, IL) – 5 sections

The Chapel Navigation

Celebration Church (Jacksonville, FL) – 6 sections

Celebration Church Navigation

Central Christian Church (Mesa, AZ) – 6 sections

Central Christian Church Navigation

Christ’s Church of the Valley (Los Angeles, CA) – 6 sections

CCV Website

Christ Church of the Valley (Peoria, AZ) – 6 sections

Christ's Church of the Valley Navigation

Church of the Highlands (Birmingham, AL) – 6 sections

Church of the Highlands Navigation

City on a Hill (Melbourne, Australia) – 6 sections

City on a Hill Navigation

Elevation Church (Matthews, NC) – 6 sections

Elevation Church Website

Glide (San Francisco, CA) – 6 sections

Glide Navigation

Highpoint Church (Memphis, TN) – 6 sections

Highpoint Church

Imago Dei Community (Portland, OR) – 6 sections

Imago Dei Community Navigation

LifeChurch.tv (Oklahoma City, OK) – 6 sections

LifeChurch.tv Navigation

Potential Church (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – 6 sections

Potential Church

Terra Nova Church (Troy, NY) – 6 sections

Terra Nova Website

Central (Las Vegas, NV) – 7 sections

Central Navigation

Central Baptist Church (Jonesboro, AR) – 7 sections

Central Baptist Church Website

Christ Fellowship (Miami, FL) – 7 sections

Christ Fellowship Navigation

First Baptist Church (Woodstock, GA) – 7 sections

FBC Woodstock Website

Glad Tidings Church (Omaha, NE) – 7 sections

Glad Tidings Church Navigation

Scottsdale Bible (Scottsdale, AZ) – 7 sections

Scottsdale Bible Navigation

The City Church (Seattle, WA) – 7 sections

The City Church Navigation

For more church website inspiration, check out Church Relevance’s list of Great Church Websites.

Special Thanks to May’s Sponsors

Craig Van Korlaar —  May 13, 2013

Church Relevance is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. Each of them offers something valuable for ministry leaders, so be sure to check them out.

Big Sponsors

  • Thrive
    Thrive is a service offered by Axletree Media, which simplifies the creation and delivery of your messages to your members over multiple devices, platforms and mediums (website, mobile, social media, email, text, print).
  • Sharefaith
    Sharefaith provides affordable church websites along with one of the largest databases of graphics (50,000+) available, plus numerous document templates, videos, and more.
  • Shelby Systems
    Shelby is one of the top choices among church management software. They offer multiple products to better suit your needs, and their 9,000 customers represent organizations of under 200 persons to well over 80,000.
  • Graceway Media
    For the cost of one custom design, you can get access for a year to Graceway Media’s library of over 10,000 graphic and motion designs. Want a free sample? You’ll get an assortment of free designs just for creating a free membership.
  • FaithVillage
    FaithVillage is a new social network and resource hub for faith experiences. Set-up your loft and meet some new friends. Watch an inspiring video or join a cause. Share a ministry idea or post a blog.
  • Elexio
    Merge your church management and communications. Elexio’s Amp Fusion church management software gives you website, database, mobile, check-in, and creative design services all in one suite of tools.
  • Active Faith (Fellowship One)
    Fellowship One has long been a powerhouse of church management software. Now as part of the Active Faith technology network, they have the team, resources, and momentum to continue pioneering church tech innovations.

Sponsors

  • OpenChurch
    OpenChurch offers free ministry resource library with a growing list of downloadable resources along with ministry idea articles from from all cultures.
  • Leaders Book Summaries
    You can learn more in less time by subscribing to Leaders Book Summaries, which condenses notable leadership books down to 10 to 20 minute summaries. I use them.
  • Ekklesia 360
    Ekklesia 360 is a sophisticated church website content management system. If you want a custom look plus a user-friendly admin panel that has been tailored for churches’ needs, check out Ekklesia 360. When I used to run a web development shop, it is what we used.
  • Church Community Builder
    CCB is a web-based church management system which unifies core management tools, critical people-driven data, and social networking tools into a single solution.

If you would like to learn more about sponsoring Church Relevance, check out our sponsors page for the latest rates, options, and traffic stats.