Creating a website and social network for your worship team
I’ve just written an article for my Musical Chops column in Worship Leader Magazine all to do with using the power of web 2.0 in worship. One of the tools I recommended was creating a website or social network to encourage interaction and participation by your team. I wrote:
“For many teams with volunteer members with busy lives, blogs, forums and on-line admin tools can be a great way to team build, cast vision, share new songs, discuss musical ideas, facilitate healthy debate, sort rotas, cut out admin meetings and even create open discussions where members can safely ask, why on earth did we do that on Sunday? Building web resources doesn’t even have to be expensive and you certainly don’t have to purchase a full scale worship planner to create meaningful and effective participation.
Sites like Ning.com will allow you to set up a great looking blog, social network and members forum in minutes even for the technically challenged. You can post your thoughts, upload chord charts, music and videos and most importantly engage in two-way discussion with your team and even the wider church community. It’s a fantastic way to pastorally connect with your team and even identify previously unseen gifts, abilities and leadership potential. “
In this post I’ll walk you through some of the potential of Ning and hopefully convince you how even a technical incompetent can create a great looking site.
First you go to ning.com and sign up for an account.
Select “Create a new social network”
Give your site a name (I’ve created a sample for you which I’ve called “Worship Team”) and choose a url (mine is churchworshipteam.ning.com). Then click Customise.
Add in all the description info – you can change this at a later date. The tagline and description will both appear on the site so make them nice and descriptive of what you are doing.
You then click and drag features depending on what you want on your site. Below I’ve listed what you could do with the varous features:
Members – list with photos of everyone signed up to your site
Activity – lists what happened last on your site (eg Andy made a comment on xxx)
Groups – here you could create a new group for say each service (and have set lists, rota etc). You could also have a group for different teams – worship team a, tech team etc.
Blog – this is where all the discussion can happen so I would put this at the top of the centre column.
Music – you can upload MP3s here
Events – have info on events here (it works like Facebook events)
Photos – upload photos
Videos – upload videos
Forum – discussion, debate
You don’t have to have all those boxes by the way – just click and drag to the left to remove. For instance, you may just want to keep it to a blog without all the social networking features. Below is my first attempt at a layout template – you can put features wherever you like and its easy to change later.
Now click next and select design styles. I’ve gone for Pavement. Fiddle about as much as you like and click Launch. Go to Manage to make any changes. Once you’ve added some content you can then invite people to join.
I’ve added a couple of videos, a photo and greated a group as well as a blog post so do take a look. The finished site looks like this. Click on it to enlarge. You can go to the site here http://churchworshipteam.ning.com/ Go to the bottom right of the page to click through to create your own site. This one took me about 20 minutes – it really is that simple (and I’m about as far from a webmaster as you can get).