How It Came About
The idea to redesign NFCN’s (Nacogdoches First Church of the Nazarene) website came about when my wife and I were having lunch with our Pastor (Joe) and his wife (Ashley). We were discussing how awesome it was that the church was in a place where they (the pastors) weren’t having to ask members to help out. Instead, God was providing the right person, in the right time, in the right place, to meet the churches needs and get our goals accomplished. These people were completely ready and willing to help out in any way they could.
The lunch was actually set up so we could get to know each other a little better. So, of course I told them about my abilities, and immediately offered to provide technical advice anytime they needed it. We all left the lunch in good spirits, but I couldn’t help but feel God wanting me to offer more.
When I got home, I took a look at their website. It wasn’t the worst website I’ve ever seen, but it felt unorganized. I was also aware that it wasn’t easy for the church to add content themselves. They needed something fresh, clean, and easy to navigate. They also needed to be able to easily add content, such as new events, sermons, videos, etc., themselves to keep the site up-to-date.
Building The New Website
After discussing the details with Pastor Joe, I began working on the new site. I purchased a new .org domain (they are a non-profit after all) to use while building the new site. This allowed the existing website to stay accessible until the new website was complete. Thankfully, they already had good text on their website, so most of that was just copied over, saving a lot of time! I only had to correct a few typos, reformat the text to match the styling of the new site, and add some original content for a few of the pages.
The most time consuming aspect of the entire site development was spent finding the appropriate plugins to use for sermons and events. Eventually, I came across a premium theme, designed specifically for churches, called Churchly. It featured robust capabilities for sermons and events, just what I needed! Any other churches looking to redesign their websites in-house should definitely look into it.
The only real hiccup I encountered involved the uploading of sermons. The mp3 files were relatively large, and the web host I had chosen only provided 2GB of space, which wouldn’t be enough. They could always upload the sermons to a third party host like SoundCloud or MixCloud, but that would increase costs and complicate the uploading process. I wanted it to be easy. But no worries, it should be simple enough to migrate the site to a different web host that provides more storage right? Well, turns out some of the security software I had already installed made that difficult. I wrestled with trying to migrate the website for most of a day, until finally giving up. Instead, I opted to rebuild the entire site on a different host, from scratch. It was the only way to ensure they wouldn’t have issues down the road related to the migration.
Rebuilding the website took an entire Saturday, but I got it done. In all, the entire website took about 2 weeks to finish, and so far the feedback has been great! The website is fully encrypted (thanks Let’s Encrypt!) and provides relevant information to visitors in an easy to find way. It also allows them to listen to sermons online, tithe online, search/register for NFCN events, and find ways to get involved.
If you’re in or nearby Nacogdoches, TX and you’re looking for a church to call home, come visit us at NFCN!