Contact: Brad Russell, FaithVillage.com, 214-630-4571 ext. 1015
PLANO, Texas, March 10, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- FaithVillage.com, the social network for faith experiences, today announced ten new feature enhancements as part of an expanded Church Partner program available in 2014. Along with its open social network and content community that connects thousands of Christians across the Internet, the site enables churches to launch their own private online community and publishing platform.
Opportunity for daily engagement
"The great opportunity created by the explosion of social media is that churches can now engage their members on a daily basis to accelerate spiritual growth, relationship-building and volunteerism," says Brad Russell, Founder and Sr. Editor.
But while online users of all ages are flocking to general social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, many church leaders have observed that these channels aren't always conducive to the community-building and discipling tasks of the church.
"We love Facebook for outreach and engagement in the marketplace of ideas, but it's not a great space for having thoughtful faith conversations," says Russell. Along with security concerns, an often distracting river of information and ever-changing algorithms that keep reducing visibility of posts, research shows that many Christians also tend to restrain their faith on Facebook due to diverse friend-circles, fear of minimizing dating prospects among singles or privacy issues.
Sacred conversation, sacred space
"We believe 'sacred conversation deserves sacred space,'" says Russell. For the same reasons that Christians dedicate time and space to meet with fellow believers in physical space, they can now connect online in a faith-friendly space. Where there are obstacles to getting together in person, believers can conveniently connect online from anywhere, at any time.
Church Partners who "move in" to FaithVillage can set up a church organization, a customizable social space called a loft. The church loft acts as a hub for a network of affiliated groups and members. Through the loft, a church can post status updates, schedule events, share photos and files, offer online giving, and upload their own articles, video, audio and blogs. The service is not a replacement for church websites but a complement to them that provides the community and content tools that churches typically can't afford to build into their own sites.
Churches also get access to thousands of pieces of content from the FaithVillage contributor community that includes over 700 church leaders, authors and bloggers. The content can be shared into their church loft, small group and member lofts, as well as to popular social media channels.
While the site was in beta testing prior to 2014, churches were offered a basic suite of tools for free. The site's expanded Church Partner program with ten enhanced features will require an annual subscription tiered by worship attendance.
The newly announced features include:
1. Online Giving
Online giving and event registration integration is easy-to-use and highly visible every time church members engage with their friends or inspirational content. Churches can use existing merchant accounts or have one created for them. Growth in donations by making online giving conveniently accessible in well-trafficked areas could easily pay for a church's annual subscription.
2. Prayer Wall
A Prayer wall conveniently captures prayer requests and notifies the church loft admin when one is posted.
3. Serve Wall
A Serve wall provides dedicated space for posting and responding to service opportunities throughout the week.
4. Ads Replaced with Action Reminders
Previous advertising in church loft and affiliated group lofts has been replaced with graphic reminders to Pray, Serve and Give that are linked to the appropriate tab in the church loft.
5. Primary Organization
A Primary Organization designation for site members has been created that displays the member's church name and link beneath their name, in the top navigation bar, and beneath the name of any group affiliated with a church organization. This effectively creates a visible online community exclusively for church partners.
6. Feature Article Permissions
Permission is granted to church partners to create feature articles with photos, custom bylines, church branding, donate now/signup now buttons for response and more. Previously, feature article permissions were only granted to content partners. Church partners continue to have permission to upload video and audio, along with networking blogs into the site via RSS feed.
7. Expanded file sharing
File sharing volumes and file sizes have been expanded. Subscriber churches get up to 100 files of up to 20 MB each for the organization and each affiliated group.
8. Expanded video tutorial library
The video tutorial library for site training has been expanded to get church teams up to speed quickly with all site features and functionality.
9. New In-Church Launch Resources
New launch resources are available including a Church Leader video, a Church Member Move-In video, a step-by-step Move-In Kit, worship insert, PowerPoint slide, church website badges, social media icons and graphics package for church promotion.
10. Support by Move In Specialists
Move In Specialists will provide our Church Partner subscribers with personalized Online Leader Training and support by phone and email.
These new features are now available to churches that subscribe to the partnership level plan appropriate to their average weekend attendance.
If you would like to schedule a free trial and online demo of these new features register online at www.fvlg.me/movemychurch or contact [email protected] or 214.630.4571 x1027.