• • • What three (3) important opportunities does a web (i.e. Internet) presence provide for its congregation?
     • • • What four (4) basic requirements of a web (i.e. Internet) presence can hinder its congregation?
     • • •
An Exploring God’s Word homepage will help your congregation gain these benefits and take care of these requirements.
     • • • Acknowledgment of congregational autonomy
     • • • Ready to subscribe?


     • • • What three (3) important opportunities does a web (i.e. Internet) presence provide for its congregation?

     1.  An opportunity to extend a welcoming introduction locally to area residents, but also broadly to people elsewhere who may be planning to visit (or even to relocate) to the area
     2.  An opportunity to offer sound, Bible-based teaching
          a) to any lost willing to listen (possibly even to some who would normally refuse an invitation for personal or group study, but yet want to learn more)
          b) to any saved seeking some “
convince, rebuke, and exhort” from the Scriptures, as per 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5
     3.  An opportunity to cultivate further contact
          a) since traditional advertising (such radio, TV, newspaper, business cards, brochures, etc.) and word-of-mouth can easily serve beyond itself by steering people to the congregation’s web presence
          b) by allowing people to voluntarily “visit” the church’s message anytime day or night, especially those wanting to reserve some privacy and anonymity
          c) and thanks to the strengths and peculiarities of Internet search engines (as compared to traditional advertising), some will gain their first initial awareness of the congregation via the Internet — locals and other people who normally would either (1) have been underexposed to the traditional promotional efforts or else (2) have ignored them
     
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     • • • What four (4) basic requirements of a web (i.e. Internet) presence can hinder its congregation?

     1.  The required financial costs
          a) of the initial setup (web address, hosting, site design & layout, etc.)
          b) of the ongoing hosting & site maintenance
     2.  The required technical skills and time
          a) to adapt teaching & information materials for web use
          b) to put those materials on the web site
     3.  The required teaching skills and time
          a) to plan, research, and develop new teaching materials (outlines, sermons, articles, etc.)
          b) to assess & review materials both for good communication practices and for sound doctrine (i.e. Is your message coming across AND are you sending the right message?)
     4.  The required creative experience
          a) to design (or to oversee the design) a website layout that is both useful and easy to use
          b) to periodically review the website to identify & repair technical problems that hinder function and navigation
          c) to periodically review the website design for opportunities to improve function and navigation
     
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     • • • An Exploring God’s Word homepage will help your congregation gain these benefits and take care of these requirements.

The basic concept

     The Exploring God’s Word website is designed to provide your local church of Christ an economical means to present itself on the internet using a customized homepage that provides both local contact information and access to a library of articles shared by other customized homepages.  The editor of EGW handles the technical and creative skills of the overall website including the homepages and the shared library.  Each homepage is adapted from an EGW template (thus dramatically lowering setup costs) to present that congregation’s local information.  The shared library allows each congregation to offer a growing supply of reliable, Bible-based teaching for a fraction of the actual cost of development.  The basic subscription includes (1) the congregation’s homepage (including welcome and local information), (2) an PDF-form or electronic-form page allowing readers to contact the congregation, (3) one other page for providing additional information about the congregation, minister, etc., and (4) menu buttons accessing the welcome & local information and the shared library.

About the editor

     David Churchill has been a member of the church of Christ since September, 1979 and currently attends Brookings church of Christ in Brookings, South Dakota.

The exciting benefits for the local church of Christ

     1.  The navigation interface for Exploring God’s Word was developed over a three-year period and reflects over twenty-three years ongoing experience creating professional multimedia and print presentations.  If you have ever been frustrated using slow or confusing internet sites, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.  Articles in the shared library can be easily located by feature column, subject, title, and the site search engine.  The library’s unique design allows a user to locate and begin reading any article in six or less mouse-clicks with the most recent articles available in just one or two clicks. EGW is for information and not entertainment, so files download quickly with a minimum of time-consuming graphics.
     2.  Users are reminded of the local church, because they access the EGW main library using a local church’s homepage. Each homepage is customized from an EGW template allowing that congregation to present itself locally with a welcome or introduction, contact information, and assembly schedule.  In addition to this basic subscription, congregations may purchase optionals such as extra pages for announcements to members, weekly / monthly articles, or even a maintained library of their past articles -- all “localized” in the sense that a congregation’s local materials are available by visiting its homepage and not by simply visiting the shared library from another congregation’s homepage.
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     3.  A motiving incentive is EGW’s low cost.  For less than the average phone bill, your congregation can be promoting itself with a professional, informative, and growing website.
     4.  Another advantage to consider is a simple easy-to-use internet address for your congregation’s homepage.  For example, suppose the Mystreet church of Christ in Sample, South Dakota subscribes and gets the address “www.exploringgodsword.co/sd/sample”.  Then a sister congregation in the same town – say the Ourhope church of Christ – subscribes later, “www.exploringgodsword.co/sd/sample_ourhope” would become its assigned address.  (For a small fee you may have us arrange for a domain name.  An example of a real domain name redirecting users to a real congregation’s EGW homepage: “www.huronchurchofchrist.org” >>> “http://exploringgodsword.co/sd/huron”.  However, you will find it cheaper to arrange this service yourself with a domain registration site and have them redirect the name to your EGW homepage.)
     5.  Already have your own Internet website and domain name?  You’ll still appreciate the mutual benefits of links between your EGW homepage and main website.  Visitors to your EGW homepage via EGW’s directory of subscribing congregations are informed about your primary site while visitors to your website are given the option to benefit from the growing number of materials in the EGW library.  Due to the website challenges described above, many smaller churches struggle to provide teaching materials of their own online, often settling for only audio recordings of their sermons to reduce preparation effort.  However, most Internet-usage devices are primarily visually-oriented because most people process and navigate information more quickly by looking than listening.   Therefore EGW materials are typically presented in text format for reading on-screen and for printing paper copies while most newer articles also include PDF and/or MP3 formats allowing broader flexibility for users to apply their preferred learning styles.
     5.  Last, but not least, all articles in Exploring God’s Word, except for one feature column, are prepared and edited by Christians with years of trained experience studying the Bible and preparing Bible-study materials.  As the exception, the column “With an Open Mind” presents unusual articles selected for their denominational authors’ rare and noteworthy efforts to seek out Bible teaching even when it challenges their denominational backgrounds.
     See for yourself how Exploring God’s Word’s library works by checking out this working homepage, “www.exploringgodsword.co/sd/mitchell” (basic subscription), or by visiting the homepage of any congregation listed in our directory
     For more suggestions and guidelines about how you might utilize your EGW hompage, check out “www.exploringgodsword.co/sd/sample” (basic subscription). When your congregation subscribes to EGW, the editor will add it to the directory at “www.exploringgodsword.co/churchesofchrist”.
     
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     Acknowledgment of congregational autonomy

      ***** Special note from the EGW editor:  In the New Testament, churches of Christ are presented both as congregations independently answering to Jesus as their head and as groups of individuals seeking unity subject to salvation and instructions offered by the written word of God (Rom. 1:16-17; 2 Tim. 3:16 - 4:5) as recorded through the inspired writers of New Testament. This fact of autonomy is especially made clear by Jesus’ letters to seven churches in Asia (as recorded by the apostle John in chapters two & three of Revelation) — Jesus evaluates, judges, and rewards each congregation based on its own demonstrated obedience or disobedience. This fact of unity appears to be the motivation in the many examples of congregations sharing financial resources in times of need and sharing experienced teachers to encourage & edify.
     Respecting the biblical tradition of congregational autonomy, seeking unity based upon the Scriptures, and understanding that every business relationship has some guidelines and expectations, the Exploring God’s Word website is neither a superior institution overseeing the subscribing churches nor an authoritative governor dictating their efforts nor a license agency certifying biblical compliance.
     EGW homepages with their access to EGW ’s shared library are simply tools provided via subscription at the discretion of the local congregations’ leaders and/or private individuals.  A congregation’s subscription to a homepage should not be misconstrued as a blanket endorsement by that congregation of the other listed congregations, by them of it, or by the EGW editor.
     With those facts in mind, the EGW editor reserves the right to refuse any requested subscription or renewal if he believes doing so is in the best interests of the website or of our readers.
    For additional informations about copyrights and general permissions, please see our guidelines for usage of articles. *****     
     
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     Ready to subscribe?

     Question:  
     Would your congregation like to have a highly functional and easy-to-navigate website on the internet…
     … presenting your local information and a growing library of reliable Bible-study articles and materials?
     … requiring very little extra of your time to maintain, yet still offering new and thought-provoking articles each month motivating visitors to return regularly?
     … costing far less than the hundreds of dollars investment in setup and update fees usually required of a professionally-maintained website?

     Answer:  
     Then your congregation needs an Exploring God’s Word homepage.  Here are some of the other fine-print details you should consider before subscribing:
     •
At present we are accepting requests for only new basic subscriptions about congregations physically located in the United States’ fifty states.
     • Subscription entitles you to receive free samples of the various promotional tools we develop.  Some, like our 20-month calendar bookmark, are available to you at no cost when requesting 400 pieces or less… higher quantities require we ask you to pay only the shipping costs involved.  This bookmark is an excellent tool for both personal evangelism and mass distribution… users are consistently reminded to visit www.exploringgodsword.co and its church directory which in turn points them to your congregation’s homepage.  Other materials such as CDs and some brochures require a small fee to help cover our production and/or shipping costs. 
     
***** Interested in subscribing?  You’re in luck!  For a limited time (until December 31, 2017EGW is currently offering to self-sponsor all new subscriptions.  That's right… from now until Dec. 31, 2017, all congregations to newly subscribe will get their subscriptions free of charge to them until they notify us to cancel the subscription!!!  (Please note:  These EGW-arranged sponsorships may not be used to renew previously-canceled subscriptions.  Renewal of such requires advance payment of subscription fees either by the congregation itself or else on the congregation’s behalf by a non-EGW-arranged sponsor.)  Please note that the EGW editor reserves the right to refuse at his discretion any requested subscription or requested renewal if he believes doing so is in the best interests of the publication and/or of our readers. *****
     Interested?  Then send us your name, contact info, and request for an enrollment packet today! (Please include a valid postal address.)
     
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     Still not convinced?  Need more information?  Have some questions yet?
     By electronic mail, you may contact David.
     By postal mail, you may contact him at:
          David Churchill
          309 - 3rd Avenue NE
          Watertown, SD 57201-2524
          United States of America
     
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      This page last updated week of April 7, 2017
      Exploring God's Word website (www.exploringgodsword.co) ©2002-17 David G. Churchill
      For quality Bible-study materials, contact your local church of Christ or visit www.exploringgodsword.co.
      Send us your Bible-related questions.
      Exploring God's Word is a publication of David G. Churchill.