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Tag Archives: Church

OneBody

Starting around mid- to late-2006, I started a little project for my church. The idea was to rewrite our existing online membership directory to make it more searchable and to take a stab at creating something somewhat social, where people can easily communicate with each other and also see their interests and such. Plus, I was dying to build something significant with Ruby on Rails, my new favorite web framework.

As the application got closer to completion, I started showing friends and family my creation and getting feedback. The application grew. And grew. At the time, I was heavy into using Facebook to meet up with old friends and new, and started to see the value in connecting people online in ways that just don’t happen offline. And the application grew. And grew.

The application went online the very first day of 2007, and it was a hit. The tech-savvy people in our church got it right away. While others took awhile.

For the past year, the site has been humming along, and we’ve made several big changes as we got feedback, complaints, etc. We worked with people, classes, and small groups in our church to teach them how to use the site and got more feedback.

I’m very proud of the product we have today, and I think it’s time to give it to the community. This week, I have worked to get OneBody out on the web and ready for use by other churches.

I’m praying for a strong, friendly community to grow around OneBody so it becomes the absolute best of its kind. Though I have to say, I still haven’t found anything quite like it, especially not free!

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Greg makes an extreme point to show that people often go off the deep end when it comes to church and Christ + hypocrites. Here’s the scoop for those who haven’t figured it out: People are hypocrites. How many times have you said something but done something completely different? I think if I’m honest with myself, I’d admit it happens about every day.

Every night I think I’m going to wake up early, every day I say “I’m going to eat healthier for lunch.” If we can lie to ourselves on a regular basis unintentionally, why is it such a shocker that people do it in public, too?

I’m sure I have a point in there somewhere… basically, I wish people would give us Christians a break — hold us accountable, yes — but don’t say “I won’t go to church because it’s full of hypocrites.” We’re trying to be full of integrity, but oftentimes our human nature comes out. That’s the real point.

Greg Pittman, the preaching minister at my church, now has a blog. I got him set up this weekend, and he’s started it off with a great post about our recent prayer week.

He also said something interesting to me that really got me thinking about how the Web has affected us the last few years:

I’m not looking to be trendy. It [blogging] just seems to be an effective way to communicate with an ever-ambiguous, mobile congregation, and in a more interactive fashion.

For Cedar Ridge, 2007 seems so far to be the year of connectedness, at least in the electronic sense (and hopefully/consequently in the community sense as well). This year, we launched our new website, we launched a Facebook-clone site for members (I won’t bother providing a link since you can’t sign in anyway — but trust me, it’s cool), we just finished revamping and reorganizing our podcast section, and now our staff is starting to blog.

I think Greg said it perfectly… we’re not wanting to follow a fad — we’re simply hoping to make the best use of the tools we have before us. And the fact that normal people (not just geeks) are utilizing the Web for more than just school research and ebay purchases is pretty darn cool to me.

It seems all the work Jennie and I have been a part of for the past several years is finally converging and helping (albeit in a tiny way) to strengthen the church body as a whole.

As we tend to do every couple years, Jennie and I have once again overhauled the website of Cedar Ridge Christian Church, our church home in Broken Arrow, OK. I’m very proud of this one. It has a clean look but seems modern enough to not look like your run-of-the-mill church website.

Cedar Ridge Christian Church Website

We just started using an email filtering service at Cedar Ridge. So far, I’m very pleased with it. In the two days it’s been in place, only a handful of spam messages have passed through to our server, and every one of those were filtered by our existing DNS blacklist filtering.

The filter works by proxy, meaning all mail destined for our domain is first delivered to junkemailfilter.com. Their server filters out the spam using some fancy voodoo and delivers the good stuff to our server. Very simple, and no configuration needed or software to be installed on our end.

These filtering services seem to be getting more popular, or maybe it’s just that I’m noticing more of them. The cool thing is that the junk mail never touches our server, so the server load is lightened considerably. I’d guess our mail server will be doing about 25% of the work it used to. That saves us bandwidth, processor load, and generally makes our staff much happier.