Current Solution (Community Church Builder)
Our current solution is Community Church Builder CCB, the site is located here.
The current software has an excellent back-end, but does not provide any CMS/Web hosting. Although it is possible to create a separately hosted web site, there is no obvious way to integrate the CCB backend with an external web application.
This leads to a serious dilemma when we want to have public group websites. It appears to be impossible to publsh group content to the web without requiring any visitor to obtain a CCB login.
The CCB site’s security model seems to be rather weak at first glance. The inability to publish groups without requiring a login is one example, another example is their document management solution. All documents published in a group are completely visible to the outside word regardless of the group’s privacy settings. This is due to the use of an external FTP server for document their document hosting solution. This requires that the FTP site publish all documents as public, snce there is no mechanism for passing the CCB credentials to the FTP server for file download. The license of CCB that we are using will cost us $600 per year, but we are still in an evaluation period.
- Role-based security, users can be given varying levels of administrative access for Groups or the Church as a whole
- No webhosting/integration with externally hosted website.
- No hosting of documents, this means that document management does not leverage the CCB security model.
- Groups canot be organized hierarchically, all groups appear at the same level
We found a website that provides an extensive searchable/filterable list of Church Management Software. We have begun to evaluate some alternative software that might be more feature-rich than CCB. We have created a matrix of features for some various web-based solutions here.
The first software package that we investigated in depth was Ascribe.
- Hosting plan includes Webhosting/CMS
- Hierarchical groups
- Unlimited public webpages for groups
- A bit more costly ($125/mo for first 200 regularly attending church members).
- Only 1GB of webhosting space in the standard base plan
Other Churches’ Solutions
We have also investigating church websites that are very slick, and/or include features/design patterns we wish to replicate.
South Side Life
At the 2007 Internet Ministry Conference, Tom and I went to a seminar in which a church group from Chilliwack, British Columbia demonstrated their church site South Side Life. They have a number of good ideas for their site:
- Including community-related content on the church site to increase traffic
- Microsites for community interests such as hiking that link back tot he church site and drive up traffic ans search engine rankings
New Hope Chruch
New Hope Church essentially created the foundations of the Ascribe church management system back in 2001.
- Church classifieds system called iNeed
- Internet Church Campus provides a chatroom, live video feed of the service, etc.
- Video feeds of sermons with side-by-side notes