Written by Connie Larkman
In an effort to make online communication easier and more effective for every United Church of Christ congregation in 2017, the UCC's web partner, Ministry Designs, is giving away websites to every local church that needs one to kick off the New Year.
"It is our goal to help as many UCC churches with their websites as possible," said Tyler Rominger of Ministry Designs. "Our partnership has gone so well over the last couple of months and we've built so many amazing relationships that we wanted to completely eliminate the start-up cost and remove any barrier for other churches to get started with a great website."
In this offer, which runs from January 1 through February 15, Ministry Designs is offering to help create a website for local churches using one of four designs created specifically for UCC congregations. That service, when sold to the public, usually costs $1,000. Previously discounted to $500 as part of the UCC Stillspeaking 2.0 Toolkit, for the next 45 days, there are no set up costs. To be clear, churches will still be responsible for a minimal monthly hosting fee of $35, which also includes support, system updates, unlimited storage, unlimited pages, and unlimited emails.
"After several years of frustrating website design dilemmas, we finally found Ministry Designs," said Brenda Caswell of Bethany Church UCC in Randolph, Vermont. "Like many smaller churches, we don't have a large budget for a web design person so it was important to find a company that made eye-catching websites; offers an easy to use program so even a person with no web design experience could learn how to use it; and has real people to answer questions when necessary. They helped transfer pages from our old site to our new one; they have been responsive and patient with us as we navigated the process and I love their Youtube channel which allowed me to learn about specific editing tools, as necessary without being overwhelmed. The whole process has been smooth and feedback from our congregation on the final product has been wonderfully positive."
Once the website is up, Ministry Designs' content management system can be by revised by directly by people at the church, users with little or no web experience. The company also provides churches with the knowledge and the tools to update and maintain their site.
"Since I don't work on the website daily, the tasks aren't always fresh in my mind, so a quick call here and there doesn't seem to bother Ministry Designs," said Karol Collins of St. Paul's UCC in St. Louis Missouri. "We have saved time because we can make all the changes ourselves. On our previous site, we had to send in changes and wait for the updates to be made by someone out of town, which sometimes could take days or weeks."
Churches interested in taking advantage of this offer, or looking for more information should check out the company's UCC page. They have four themes built specifically for the UCC, with 18 looks that work for any faith community. After February 15, the start-up costs revert to $500.
"Having a quality website in today's day and age is a requirement for success however you define it," said Rominger. "We look forward to serving as many UCC churches with our award-winning tools and world-class support as we can!"