From a student in Nigeria…

From a student in Nigeria…

I gained a lot in all the lessons, Praise God! I am thrilled and have been wonderfully schooled, on how I can live my Christian and ministerial life and achieve all that the Lord has in plan for me. Thank you very much and remain blessed.

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Request for Webhosting

Request for Webhosting

     I received a request for webhosting this week, and it was definitely a first for me! This gentleman wants to start an online church! I am in the process of vetting this person to determine if he is real, but the request is interesting.

     I have a demo website set up so people can play with WordPress (I guess I can install other software as well) at churchdemo.us before going live with their own website. It also allows me to test out plugins and graphics without having to mess-up some ministry’s live website to see how something looks or works to try something out.

          “I would like to start a website church. There I would, with the help of our Lord and you create a bulletin board and a chat room, we would be able to minister to a vast amount of people all over the world. Providing they have a computer and access to the internet. There will also be official membership offered.

     I found this of great interest since this is bring me back to my roots. We started out ministry by putting a brick and mortar church online with a bulletin board and we did offer chat rooms. Our Bulletin Board systems were membership based systems, but they were not online churches. They were (as the websites today are) churches online.
     I have mixed feelings about this. There ARE millions of people around the world that are not anywhere near a church. But there are people around the world that are too lazy to get up, get dressed and drive 5 miles to go to their local Bible preaching local church.  Would this be another excuse to not fellowship with other local believers? (Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”)
     If you have ever been involved in church planting, you know that you have to get out and be knocking on doors, send out mailings and reach the people in your area and invite them out to church. How do you “plant” an online church. While I have not had an in depth discussion with this gentleman, I can see one on one witnessing, but I have no urge to partner with a person if their idea might include a mass email (spam) campaign.  
     How do you send out an electronic “school bus” to pick up kids to bring them to church?
     It will be interesting to see what this gentleman has in mind.
     I have set up a membership program, chat room, Forum (Bulletin Board) on the demo system, and it looks like it will meet his needs. This will be an interesting endeavor if the Lord is behind it and he is really committed to making it work. (Romans 8:31 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

 

 

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First Navajo Baptist Church

     Back in 2009 I put up an “unofficial” website for First Navajo Baptist Church in Crownpoint New Mexico. It was one of 1500 basic “websites” that were put up for the Baptist Ministries database we were building back in 2009. The Baptist Ministries Database is a link based system, so in order to provide something to link to I built “Unofficial” web pages.

     This offended some people, so over the years I changed the name to a “placeholder” page (I find it ironic that Facebook has no called their pages “unofficial” with a host of other service providers).

     These web pages provided contact links and a link to Gospel tracts (which have taken over 78,000 hits over the years)!

     Several weeks ago I was contacted by the pastor of First Navajo Baptist Church in Crown Point New Mexico requesting I provide them with an official website.

     While they are still working on what content they want on the website, they have decided on a domain name (firstnavajo.com) and have added some basic information.

     It looks like I will be maintaining the website for them (at least initially) and updating it as they are able to provide content).

     I registered the domain for them, and installed a WordPress website. It was an interesting problem trying to find their location on Google maps without a street address (their church building IS on Google maps if you can find it).

     Crownpoint New Mexico is a small town with a population of less than 2500 people. It is a blessing to help this small church that is ministering to this small town and particularly to the Navajo people.

 

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From a student in North Carolina…

From a student in North Carolina…
What is of most importance to me in this course is the teaching of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It blesses my heart to know that Jesus loved me enough to leave Heaven for me & He loved me enough to DIE for me, & He loves me enough to make intercession on my behalf before God the Father. What is of great importance than God's love for you and I?

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From a pastor in Louisiana

From a Pastor in LA who takes our Bible lessons…
The course God's Great Salvation, lessons 13 & 14, God's Great Plan and God's Blessed Hope, he wrote,
Every bit of this is important. This whole book is my favorite out of all them so far, awesome.

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Sandy Lane Baptist Church

Sandy Lane Baptist Church Fort Worth Texas    

Back in 2009 I “rescued” a domain “sandylane.org” for Sandy Lane Baptist Church in Fort Worth Texas. I worked off and on with the pastor at the time, but never really established an official website for the church.

     I received several phone calls over the years from people wanting to set up websites for the church, but for whatever reasons, no one ever followed up on getting the domains taken back, or I was never able to contact the pastor of the church in a timely manner to verify the person(s) were acting on behalf of the church (I will never turn over a domain to an unknown person unless I am reasonably sure that person actually represents the ministry that should own the domain). Believe it or not I was actually burned before by people that took over a domain claiming to represent a ministry that they did not.

     I have had a burden to visit this Sandy Lane Baptist Church since we went back full time in the ministry. Several months ago I received a call from the pastor I had worked with, asking what it would entail to get back control of the domain, I tried to explain, but I never heard back from him.

     We decided to visit Sandy Lane Baptist Church this morning. I told Maureen as we were driving to the church that I was of the impression (and for the life of me, I can’t remember why) that the church might actually have had a new pastor.

New Pastor at Sandy Lane BC     When we arrived at the church, sure enough, the sign in front of the church announced that the pastor was celebrating his second anniversary on June 5th.  The current pastor’s name was Robert Moreland.

     Maureen and I went into the church, and I was able to introduce myself to Pastor Moreland. We were able to talk briefly, and as has been the case so many times before, it was a blessing to hear the words, “the Lord brought you here!”Pastor Moreland of Sandy Lane BC

     They had been discussing the website over the past couple of weeks and were trying to come up with a plan on how to contact me and figure out what to do with the website.

     I took some pictures and all the basic information I could lay my hands on (they have a VBS coming up at the end of the month) and I told Pastor Moreland I would get a basic website up this afternoon (done).

     Pastor Moreland said he was familiar with and comfortable with WordPress and I told him I would be happy to talk with him this week as time permits and set him up with the plugins he needs.

     He feels that he and his staff and family could easily maintain and update the website. I showed him the WordPress app on my smart phone and he seemed very happy. I could tell his mind was already working on the possibilities that were available to him through WordPress.

     I am looking forward to working with Pastor Moreland and his staff to help them accomplish all they want to do for the Lord at Sandy Lane Baptist Church in Fort Worth Texas!

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Bible Baptist Church – Harrisburg Illinois

     I "rescued" a domain for "Bible Baptist Church" in Harrisburg Illinois back in 2009. They are a small Independent Baptist Church. Harrisburg Illinois has a population of around 10,000 people. We have been "officially" hosting their website since a member found their "rescued" in 2010. He has been creating offsite content and uploading the content to our server via FTP.

     I received an alarm from their website (harrisburgbiblebaptist.com). I run monitoring software, and when a website we host goes down I get notified. This website had been down for a while and I needed to do some research.

Monitoring Bible Baptist Church Harrisburg Illinois

     I checked the server and saw that all the files were gone from the website, and of course I was in a panic. I had some old offsite backups, and the server has some backups onsite as well, but I wanted to try and contact the webmaster before I tried a restore.

     I had not been in contact with this church, or the webmaster for several years, but was fortunate enough to reach the webmaster Richard, on the first try.

     Richard was revamping the whole website and had decide to start with a clean install, so he had deleted everything. That was a relief for sure!

     Richard said he was glad I called, he was going to try and get in touch with me, he wanted to add a calendar and some email.

     They are not running WordPress, but I was able to set up an install of an application called “WebCalendar” on the server for them.

     Richard asked if I could install two email “forwarders.” This is where we set an email address that simply forwards to another email address. I set up two email addresses for their domain (one for Richard and one for the Pastor) that forward to their personal email accounts. The good thing about this is they can still give out a “church” email address, but they still only have to check one email address.

 

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Grace Baptist Church La Porte Texas

I was contacted last week by Pastor Rawls of Grace Baptist Church in La Porte Texas. He said he was unable to get into his account to pay for his web hosting and wanted to update his credit card information.

     I chuckled and told him that if he had to pay for his hosting I was definitely not providing his hosting for him, and explained to him that I did not charge for anything I did.

     We talked a bit and he told me he thought he was with us, he was getting our newsletters, and explained he could not log into his hosting account, and no one knew how to get in, the hosting account was about to expire, and the website was about to go down.

     While we were talking I had done a search through my database, gone to their website, and checked the whois record on their domain. Their domain was registered through Godaddy, their hosting was elsewhere.

     I finally remembered Grace Baptist Church in Laporte Texas. I was providing their hosting when back in 2011, they moved their domain to Godaddy and their hosting somewhere else. Pastor Rawls said he would have his wife give me a call, he wanted to get his hosting back on our service.

     Later on in the week I received a call from the Pastor’s wife. Back in 2011 (if I remember correctly) a church member paid for the church’s hosting and set up their hosting account (separately from the Godaddy domain registration account). The church member apparently was gone, they were locked out of the account, their VBS was coming up next week and they wanted to update the website for the VBS.

http://gracebaptistchurchlaporte.org/vbs/

     Mrs. Rawls gave me the information on their domain account so I could rehome the domain (gracebaptistchurchlaporte.org) to our servers. I set up WordPress, and duplicated their old website content, and added the VBS content she sent me. I sent her the Login information for the website.

     At some point, when Mrs. Rawls gets time to work on the website, or wants to update it she will give me a call and I will show her how to work with WordPress.

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Grace in Gun Barrel!

     Maureen and I had the pleasure of visiting Grace Baptist Church in Gun Barrel City Texas today. We had not visited the church in about four years or so and I had not been able to get in touch with the church via telephone.

     The church is a very small church and is typical of the kind of church that we started our ministry to help out. They have no expertise in building a website (the pastor dies not even own a computer), and, in fact would have no idea in how to start going about the process of getting a website built (if the thought even occurred to them).

Grace in Gun Barrel

     The church is still up on the old Website Baker templates and I want to update the website to WordPress. I had registered one of my favorite domain names ever for this church back in 2011 (graceingunbarrel.com). I got some new pictures and will upgrade the website to WordPress some time next week.

     Gun Barrel City Texas is a small City with about 5700 people. Pastor Mickey Loftis has been faithfully preaching there for the last nine years to a small older congregation.

Pastor Mickey Loftis

     It has truly been an honor to host and maintain their website.

      Maureen and I had a wonderful time of fellowship with Pastor Loftis and his wife Jodi after the service today.

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Some Training

     I took some training today to stay on top of the latest plugins that are available for WordPress. There were some good ones that have been released, particularly one that can be used to drive traffic to some of the websites from the social media pages.

     I have another webinar scheduled for Monday.

     Maureen and I are planning on visiting a church on Sunday we have not visited in quite a while (it’s about 70 miles out from us). It is a very small church, and I cannot get anyone on the phone. I hope they are still open.

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