Bethany First Church
Bethany First Church Stays Connected with LightCMS
Oklahoma church opens its doors online with an attractive, informative website that’s easy to manage
Over the years, Bob Miller, communications pastor at the Bethany First Church of the Nazarene in Bethany, Okla., has regularly fielded calls from other churches around the nation on who and what it used to build such an attractive and inviting website.
The answer: The LightCMS content management system that was implemented at Bethany First Church to replace a difficult to manage, custom-built website. Over the past years, the church has continuously enhanced its site as the go-to online resource for parishioners and prospective members, with a broad range of information on services, ministries, events, volunteer opportunities and more.
“The ease of use of LightCMS makes my job much easier because I don’t have to worry about behind-the-scenes technical stuff or know HTML coding”
“I view our website as the main source of information for anything going on at Bethany First Church,” said Miller, whose church attracts more than 2,500 congregants on any given Sunday. “Most people, before they visit the church for the first time, have been to our website, and it’s very important they get a feel for who we are before they walk in the door.”
Ease of Use for Non-Technical Users
Originally implemented by the LightCMS professional services team, the Bethany First Church website has seen increasing site traffic, time on site, and page views per session over the years as more people increase their Internet usage. A recent redesign, also by the LightCMS team, has given the site responsive design capabilities to adjust automatically for an attractive presentation on tablets and smartphones.
“More and more people are using mobile devices to access information, so it makes sense for our site to be able to adapt to any screen,” Miller said. “The LightCMS services people have done an outstanding job with our site, and they’re very responsive any time I have a question.”
Intuitive ease of use is a major benefit for the non-technical Bethany First Church staff and volunteers who maintain and update the site. Because LightCMS is so easy to use, the church can delegate responsibilities across a broad range of users, helping ensure that content is updated in a timely fashion.
“The ease of use of LightCMS makes my job much easier because I don’t have to worry about behind-the-scenes technical stuff or know HTML coding,” Miller said. “LightCMS makes me look smarter than I really am.”
Balancing Simplicity and Content
On-demand video sermons are an especially popular content type among people who have moved from the area, are confined to their homes, or otherwise unable to attend services in person, Miller said. With LightCMS, the church staff is able to quickly upload lengthy videos to LightCMS’s hosted service.
LightCMS’s design flexibility also helps the church present large volumes of information with good balance and navigation. With several hundreds of pages of content, and archived sermons dating back more than six years, a clean, elegant design and on-site search functionality helps site users find the information they’re looking for.
“There’s a lot of information on there, and it can be a challenge to figure out how to keep it simple and make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for,” added Miller.
By making its website its informational focal point, Bethany First Church has curtailed what had been up to 3,000 mailings a week, saving substantially on printing and postage costs. The church also runs a separate website on LightCMS, www.swazipartners.org, which supports a charitable foundation to help combat AIDS in Swaziland.
“It was difficult to keep our previous website current and I felt we needed more control,” Miller said. “We got that and more with LightCMS.”