I'm sure you've seen the new series we're launching: Real Stories from Real Church Communicators. We want to really dig in and tell the stories of the churches we work with -- and share their wins!
Recently, I got the chance to get on a phone call and interview Michael Newsome with Fellowship Bible Church in Tulsa, OK. While on the phone with FBC Tulsa, we talked about a lot of things. Let's jump in!
Michael Newsome Volunteer, Fellowship Bible Church
As a dedicated volunteer at FBC Tulsa, Michael earns his place as an honorary staff memer an unofficial website developer.
His Role at Fellowship Bible Church
There's dedicated church member, and then there's super dedicated church member. Michael Newsome has never been one to shy away from helping his church. Because there was no full-time communications person on staff when it came time for FBC Tulsa to finally ditch their out-dated website, Michael wasn't shy to step up.
But here's the added challenge:
Michael had never built a full-scale website before, let alone one specifically for a church. But FBC Tulsa really needed a new-and-improved church website, and Michael was ready to rise to the challenge.
FBC Tulsa's goal was two-fold: One, to create an up-to-date website. And two, to have that website be a place where people could quickly find the information they need to be more involved in the church.
Four years ago, if there was a crown for "most old-school church website," FBC Tulsa would have been named king. It was bare, riddled with deep links, unresponsive, and, well, brown. Their mission was to make disciples, but unless you're Reddit or Craigslist, you can't get away with a website like theirs in the 21st century.
With no full-time communications person on staff, the new website project relied heavily on the hands of their volunteers.
"A website, in essence, these days, is a virtual front door for a lot of people. So we formed a committee to come up with what we desire for our website."
Fast forward one year to their first steps toward a new-and-improved church website.
Because Michael would have had to build the website completely from scratch with no prior experience, FBC Tulsa chose to purchase a website template from a different vendor to give himself a solid starting foundation. Michael and his small army of volunteers were ready to hit the ground running.
But as they got to work, their template didn't and couldn't lend itself to fulfill their church's needs. One or two changes to the template quickly turned to dozens and dozens—essentially meaning they needed to completely rebuild the template. This took far too long. And it quickly got expensive! Their foundation began to crumble.
After a long, downhill battle with their template, they knew it was time to find a new solution.
Michael and his team pulled the trigger and chose Ekklesia 360 as their new church website partner. Once they made the call to scrap the old half-sitethey had already started building, Michael and the Ekklesia 360 team floored the gas pedal. Up until then, Michael had never built a website from start to finish. Despite the lack of experience, it was easier for him to figure out than expected:
"This was a new experience for me, but it was very easy to figure it out on my own without having to always run to you guys. You offer a lot of helpful tutorials, videos, and things like that. But even when I do run to you guys, you always have good answers and very helpful ways for me to do it on my own. You not only helped me picture an issue, but would also send a screen shot or video explaining how you did it so I could learn it myself."
With his onboarding specialists Kellie Cameron and Charlie Wells, Michael worked every single day on their new site, scheduling time to speak with Kellie and Charlie on his lunch breaks and commutes home to go through his questions and walk through the bumps in the road (literally!) to get the job done quickly.
The result? A full-functioning website live and ready-to-go in just a month.Talk about breaking a sweat!
"It was really well-organized from [Ekklesia's] end, where the team was able to allow me to build a secondary site while maintaining a current site. I could just transfer the content once it was ready. I didn't have to rebuild everything from scratch. For a volunteer who works from his lunch breaks and evenings, it's been really helpful. To be able to say, 'I need all my sermons copied from the old site to the new site,' and have it done within a few hours has been a huge win."
If you're looking for more success stories like Michael's, we have just the ticket. Click to subscribe to our free series of stories of church communicators (just like you) overcoming the day to day challenges.