Toolkit

Here’s a range of links and resources to help your church communicate better. To support the ‘Church Online’ books, now available. Ideal to give to friends and churches who aren’t online (yet)!

This site is no longer updated, but there are more posts, articles, tips and ideas at the new updated CPO toolkit here.

Looking for a complete rethink of your website?

We can help you begin to think it through and provide some solutions, as can some of the church providers mentioned on other cards. The booklets at cpo.org.uk/reachout will help.

There are benefits to different platforms. If you are familiar with your existing editor you may save time by improving what you have rather than starting from scratch. If you do want a complete overhaul remember that you will need to budget a minimum of £200 for domain/hosting a year, and will need a clear idea of whether you’re looking for something very low maintenance, or something which is likely to grow over time. Will a Facebook page do a better job for what you need? If you are building a site for multiple sites or congregations you will save time (and potentially cost) by deciding in advance what you want to say, and who gets to make the final decision on content. Find out more about new ways CPO might be able to help at cpo.org.uk/websitebuilder. We can do a review of your existing site with specific recommendations for immediate improvements for £100.

Have a website with Church Edit, Church Insight or Church123?

Looking to update your website? Contact your existing provider to see if you can change your template at no cost, or upgrade your template. There may be far more you can do than you realise – and small changes can make a huge difference, like changing the font to something cleaner and more modern, removing unnecessary graphics, replacing pictures with cheerful real-life faces, and changing colours.

Do you have a completely defunct website, or website address which doesn’t go anywhere?

  • You can take your existing website address (e.g. myvillagechurchstjohns.org.uk) and redirect it to your new page at ‘A Church Near You’ or ‘Find a Church’. To do this you’ll need to know where your web domain is registered. Popular ones are GoDaddy and 123Reg. If you don’t know this, your billing history may help, or the website Icann.
  • Once you have found your domain provider and logged in, you can forward the address to point to your church’s page within ‘A Church Near You’ or ‘Find a Church’.
  • Once this has been done, you can delete your defunct website and stop paying for any hosting for it, although you will need to continue paying the annual fee for the domain name (the website address) through the same provider as before.

Want a new website address of your own even without your own website?

  • You can create your own website address (URL, e.g. stjohnsbumbledown.org.uk) and have it go to your ‘Church Near You’ or ‘Find a Church’ page. This is a low cost way to ensure an online presence.
  • If your church has never had a website before, so no existing address, you can buy one through a service like GoDaddy or 123reg. Choose something as close as possible to the name of your church and its location, and make it short, memorable and relevant. Once you have bought your address you can forward it from there to your page on ‘A Church Near You’ or ‘Find a Church’.

Not got a church website?

  • If you are a Church of England church, your page at A Church Near You may meet many of your needs. Find out how to set up and become and editor here. Make the most of your page and some of the free features here.
  • If you are not a Church of England church, do you have a full profile at www.findachurch.co.uk? A full profile can show an image of your choice, full details of all your activities and contacts, a map, description and can be edited. The cost is only £22/year.
  • Stay in touch with CPO so we can help you make the most of free social media instead of a website.

Photo and image copyright compliance

One of the largest photo and image agencies in the world, Getty Images, now has software that can automatically detect the use of unauthorised images on any website. They are acting to protect the rights of the photographers and artists involved. If the image or photo used is not covered by a copyright license, it is possible that you will be faced with an invoice for hundreds of pounds per picture. Search the internet for ‘licence compliance Getty Images’ for more information.

See more here.

To build a picture of your locality

The Centre for Theology & Community has a list of sources of local information for churches, such as those mapping poverty or religious affiliation, with questions for churches to use: www.bit.ly/2l494XE.

Census summaries from www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination, or the incredible www.datashine.org.uk

A free trial of Acorn (www.acorn.caci.co.uk) will describe your neighbours down to where they’re likely to shop

If you’re brave enough to use a questionnaire to find out what people think of your church, sample questions might include:

  • How long have you lived in the area?
  • What local services do you use?
  • What do you think are some of the issues locally?
  • Have you ever connected with [name of church] 
in any way?
  • Have you visited the church hall or equivalent?
  • Did you know that the church offers [activity/event/course/service]?
  • Would you find it useful to be notified of future 
courses/events?
  • Would you like prayer?

Outreach to schools

Examples of words on noticeboards

  • We seek to be a centre of attentiveness to the living God and a place of challenge and reconciliation.
  • We welcome you to our services and hope you will find us a home of generous hospitality.
  • We care and we’ll share your problems. We listen – we do not judge. We accept you as you are.
  • Unified by love and hope, Jesus welcomes all. Worship Him here together.
  • Churches together welcome you and invite you to join them for worship, refreshments and other activities.’
  • Your local church welcomes you.

Large public signage

For an introduction to ‘Out of Home’ advertising, try Exterion’s guide here: http://bit.ly/2kd3Uqu

Local companies often manage bus shelter and billboard advertising. One individual CPO customer in the south west paid to display an outreach poster for two weeks before Easter for less than £250. You may need to get quotes from large companies like Exterion, Signkick, Clear Channel Direct or Outdoor Advertising Ltd for your area.

Planning permission on adverts and signs

Rules will vary according to area, but in 2016 temporary event notices up to 0.6m square can be displayed (permission under Class 3(D). Planning ‘standard conditions’ are that signs are clean, tidy, safe, permitted by the site owner, do not obscure transport signs, and can be removed carefully (from ‘Planning Portal’: http://bit.ly/2jLasyb). Religious institutions have ‘deemed consent’ for some permanent signs under class 2(c) in England and Sales, and 2(3) in Scotland and Northern Ireland. You may be limited to 1.2 square metres, and one on each road frontage. Banners do not normally require a faculty or planning permission, provided they’re not there for longer than month before the event and 2 weeks after.

There is guidance for churches on the National Churches Trust site here: http://bit.ly/2kcYgou

Song lyric / worship presentation software

Whatever you do, don’t use PowerPoint. There are loads of tools that already have thousands of songs with the correct words ready to go.

You need a copyright licence from CCLI. Then you can also purchase licence for software which will display songs, and also produce music and chord sheets. Song Select is a song library resource designed from the UK from CCLI which enables you search by keywords, writer, lyric, theme, and transpose to the right key signature.

Start here: churches.uk.ccli.com/2016/01/whats-with-all-the-software 

Here are some reviews of popular tools: bit.ly/2kfGOzL focusing on EasyWorship, ProPresenter and Media Shout bit.ly/2kfCd0k focusing on Power Music and Zionworx bit.ly/2kGRatc focusing on OpenLP, OpenSong, FreeWorship

bit.ly/2lbZEpL: a list of Song Select API partners

Proofreading checklist

  • Is the basic information clear and accurate?
  • Are the names spelled right and correct?
  • Is it relevant for the audience? Is the tone right?
  • Are you consistent in your terminology?

For more help on church magazines have a free trial at parishpump.co.uk

On Christian bookshops and stalls

Get a good feel of the Christian book trade by taking a look at the Facebook pages for ‘Christian Resources Together’ and ‘Christian authors, booksellers and publishers’. You also might want to subscribe to christianresourcestogether.co.uk and Christianbookshopsblog.org.uk.

There is practical advice on setting up a bookshop or bookstall here:

Great guides on managing your building for church and community space (specific)

The links listed here are more specifically produced for different denominations:

Great guides on managing your building for church and community space

What advice does the Bible give?

A Bible study on some pertinent verses can really help a group wanting to dig into a deeper perspective on social media. Here are some suggestions to whet your appetite.

  • Mark 12:28–31
  • Philippians 2:3
  • Proverbs 29:11
  • Proverbs 15:23
  • Acts 20:28

Church online giving/fundraising

  • www.give.net is part of Stewardship, a Christian charity who will give you advice on all areas of church finance.
  • Public fundraising tools like www.justgiving.com, www.virginmoneygiving.com, www.gofundme.com and www.easyfundraising.org.uk can work for churches, or try bit.ly/2duKIlg for advice.
  • JustTextGiving enables giving via text and is free for charities.
  • Pingit is a way of transferring money via mobile phones. Expect huge growth in mobile payments.
  • www.leptongiving.com is an app to help churches with giving, even enabling contactless payments.
  • The resources and advice at www.parishresources.org.uk are meant for Church of England churches but could be applied to all churches.
  • The UK Church Fundraising Handbook by Maggie Durran (Canterbury Press, 2003) remains an excellent printed resource for churches running fundraising campaigns.
  • For text giving, try Push Pay and get.tithe.ly.

Questions for small-group discussion on social media

The following questions are suggested by Thom Rainer (www.smallgroups.com).

  • How do you use social media? If you don’t use social media, why not?
  • How have you seen social media used for good? How have you seen it used for harm?
  • How can social media ‘magnify our voices in unprecedented ways’?
  • When have you been tempted to share a ‘retouched’ version of your life on social media? What is the effect of sharing a not-completely- accurate portrayal of your life?
  • How does your social media usage a ect your face-to-face relationships?
  • What guidelines do you think Christians should use when they post, tweet or pin?

Social media, children and young people’s resources

  • The Methodist Church guidelines have been carefully considered: bit.ly/Methodistguidelines.
  • Those working with children and young people should also familiarise themselves with www.thinkuknow.co.uk. There are sections designed for each age group, for parents and for teachers and trainers (Sunday school teachers and youth workers).
  • For more, I suggest the excellent book by Bex Lewis, Raising Children in a Digital Age (Lion, 2014), which has a very handy ‘jargon buster’ and bibliography.

Social media church guidelines

Search for ‘church social media guidelines’ and the following:

  • ‘Diocese of York’, particularly the points on ‘Being a high profile individual on social media’
  • ‘Bath and Wells’, especially for some great action points from Steve Tilley for those considering dipping a toe into social media for the first time: bit.ly/BathWells.
  • ‘Diocese of Lichfield’, with guidance on clergy relationships, and PCC guidelines on social media and young people.

These guidelines could all be usefully applied to churches of other denominations.