In a variety of situations and on a variety of topics I’ve been asked for resources lately and I realized that it might be helpful if I passed them on to CCMag readers. The following links are a mixture— some very basic (but people are always starting out in church communications) and some more advanced web-creation resources. Some are links to free ebooks that I have (no strings attached, no signups or anything, just download). I’ve added a few comments on each so you won’t bother checking out ones that may not be useful to you. One more caveat, my ministry takes no advertising or affiliate relationships, the following are all ones I simply feel are useful for church communicators.
This is one of the best resources for learning all things about communications, design, computers, online. I am a little concerned because they are in the process of being bought out by LinkedIn, so get it while you can. They only charge $25 a month for unlimited classes.
Communications Resources, http://www.comresources.com
A classic source for basic church artwork—though they have expanded into a lot of other useful resources such as their Online Member Directory. You don’t always need edgy, contemporary photos to illustrate your communications and their clipart is great for kids and many other traditional church ministries.
When you do need the edgy, contemporary photos for your church communications, this group has some very nice ones. They aren’t the biggest, but I find when I want to create something for both print and the web as I did with a recent brochure and web feature for the adult discipleship classes at our church, out of the many resources I have, this is often the one I turn to. Pricing is average, but one major reason I’m listing this is that each week they give away free photos and a vector image, plus sometimes free video clips—worth getting on their mailing list for that.
If you haven’t tried Canva you are missing out on one of the greatest both design resources and training resources on the web today. Their Design School tutorials are free, easy, take just minutes, and have great quality content. Very contemporary designs, lots of fun.
Upfront caveat from me—I think WordPress is the best way to build a website, for many, many reasons, too lengthy to detail here, and a skill every church communicator (and most staff members and pastors) should have. I have built many sites with it over the years and I continuously am amazed at all it does and what features are added to it. It is also free. You have to pay for hosting, but that can be minimal and instead of being locked into a proprietary system and cost, once you learn this (and it is easy to learn) WordPress is one of the most cost-effective way for a church to have a complete and flexible site. If something else is working for you great, but if you are checking out systems for websites, make WordPress on the top of your list.
One of the best ways to get up and running quickly with WordPress. Easy-to-follow and understand tutorials. Sure, you can view a million of them on YouTube, but you never know what version they are demonstrating. This site constantly updates their training. In addition to basics, more advanced topics easily explained.
Note: Lynda.com, referenced above does have a number of WordPress tutorials—but for some reason, I think they are some of her weakest courses—this is much better for WordPress.
WP Beginner, http://www.wpbeginner.com/
Not only beginners, but everyone who uses WordPress can benefit from the blogs and resource links on this site. Not terribly advanced, but very useful materials.
“a free WordPress newsletter” http://wpmail.me/
This is the geeky newsletter with the latest news from the WordPress organization, developers, and gurus. However, it has a lot for ordinary users, including great articles about plugins and overviews of new themes that have passed the WordPress standards. It comes out once a week and I always find something useful in it.
Church Themes http://churchthemes.com/
My favorite theme site—for many kinds of WordPress sites—I recently discovered it and am building some sites with it. I wanted to wait to tell people about it until I launched them, but I like it too much to wait. The reason I like this site so much (other than the obvious reason of well-designed themes) is that it has the best tutorials for how to use the theme. I have spent way too much money buying premium themes that sounded so good and were next to impossible (for me anyway) to make them do what the demo theme did. The theme creator walks you through each step. You can modify the themes for many purposes other than churches, but it has great, built-in tools for a great church site.
Free e-books from Effective Church Communications
In the past, we sold these books, but decided to make all of them free for a limited time at these links. They are some of our most popular and helpful resources. The titles are self-explanatory. You have our permission to make copies and share them with whoever you want.
Are printed bulletins still needed in the church?
Church Connection Cards, Special Edition, connect with visitors, grow your church, pastor your people, little cards, big results
If you want the free KINDLE version of this book, go to this link:
Devotions for Church Communicators, the heart of church communications
Mother’s Day and the often-missed evangelism and spiritual growth opportunities
The Six Strategies of Effective Church Communications
PLEASE share your resources! I know these are just a few of the great resources out there for church communicators. Please send your favorites to: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll pass them on.