ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–It takes a “village” to plant a church. And the “village” has just undergone an extreme makeover.
Although it’s been around for a decade, the North American Mission Board’s Church Planting Village website (www.churchplantingvillage.net) has been streamlined, updated and made more user-friendly.
“The Church Planting Village is one of the largest websites dedicated to church planting in the nation,” said Greg Penna, church planting consultant for NAMB and editor for the site. “It’s a real treasure for church planters in the U.S. and even around the world.” Penna estimates the website generates 1 million page views per year.
The new site, which went live in mid-January, is optimized for information-searching using Google.
Another key change: church planters no longer need to know English to enter the site. It now is readable and navigable in eight additional languages: Spanish, Korean, French, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Russian and Vietnamese. German and Portuguese will be added soon.
The site now is organized into three distinct areas, depending on the user:
— church planters.
— church partners — churches considering a church plant, launching a plant or sponsoring a new plant.
— field partners — directors of mission or local association employees, a church planting strategist or a state convention partner.
Penna said information on people groups “has always been at least half of the site’s content, but it was interspersed in different places. Now the information is all in one place. We added a people group library so now if you search Hispanics, there will be more detailed information, say on Argentineans. It’s now very easy to find information on all people groups.”
Regardless of the site user’s area of interest, the website includes a resource library with 22 different church planting-related topics, such as administration, assessment, church plant models, church planting fundamentals, communications/marketing, doctrine/theology, finances/stewardship and a list of vendors for needs like websites, purchasing equipment and hiring consultants.
“The new site also allows us to include audio files such as podcasts, videos and other kinds of resources,” said Penna, who worked six months on the website renovation with a team of six members on NAMB’s church planting resource development and delivery team. “We’re also excited about new capabilities as we go forward into 2009, such as webinars, even more audio and video content and new features such as the ability to watch a PowerPoint presentation online and hear the presenter’s voice at the same time.”
Penna said individuals in church planting can get a free subscription to the bimonthly electronic church planting newsletter, “Planter Update.” He emphasized that both the website resources and the newsletter are free because of Southern Baptists’ gifts to the Cooperative Program and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
NAMB’s church planting group also will sponsor or support four major conferences in 2009: ChurchPlanters.com ’09 conference, Feb. 23-24, at Mountain Lake Church in Cumming, Ga.; the Church Planting Forum at the Westin Atlanta Airport, Feb. 25-28; “Storm the Gates – Church Planting Week” on the campus of Liberty University and Seminary, Lynchburg, Va., March 2-4; and NAMB’s State Summer Leadership Meeting at the Westin Atlanta Airport, July 26-29.
Mickey Noah is a writer for the North American Mission Board. For more information about the Church Planting Village website, contact Greg Penna at the North American Mission Board at [email protected] or 770-410-6286.