Friday, March 14, 2008

Web Design in the Ministry

Earth Water DropRecently I've realized that more often than not, smaller churches and ministries have websites that don't do them any justice. I'm also realizing that more and more people are using the web to find out about churches before they visit, and are forming opinions based on what they see on the site. If these churches want to convey a message to their potential future members, they are going to need a web presence that is attractive and hopefully tells people what they can expect when they visit. The worst case senario is a website that gives people a negative impression about the church and causes them to not want to visit.

That being said, I just finished my first "Designing Webpages" class at the Junior College and will be starting my second this week (the great thing is that they are online classes, so I can work in the comfort of my home after the kids are in bed). I was thinking it would be really cool to get some traction by volunteering to fix some websites that are broken (I know of a few), and improve some that are just plain terrible (I know of a lot). After completing a couple of these projects I could be a web design hero! I might need a cape…

Anyway, web design is a skill that you can learn on your own. I'm taking classes because it's giving me a great jumpstart, but the class is nothing more than working through some lessons in a book. I could've done that 100% on my own, and so can you if you are interested. The book is Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML and it walks you through learning HTML, XHTML (which are extremely similar) and CSS from the very beginning. I've found it extremely easy to use and understand, and very entertaining. It's not a dry textbook but more of an interactive, hands on experience.

Also, there are a ton of free resources on the web. One of the best is W3 Schools, which has up to date info and free tutorials that walk you through how to properly write HTML, XHTML, JavaScript, HTML DOM, XML DOM, PHP, XSLT, XPath, XSL-FO, WML, and CSS (don't worry, I don't know what most of these are either). I want to learn this stuff because there is a huge value in having computer skills in the workplace today, but this is also something that could be beneficial in the ministry. I would encourage anyone who is interested in having more to offer their local church to consider learning at least the basics of web design. If you can increase your church's web presence, you could potentially reach thousands of people with the Gospel who otherwise may never know your church exists.


1 comment:

L said...

Wow, step up www.newhopenews.net needs some work.

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