Website...

...Technology to Enable Mission


Introduction


Welcome to Website Version 4.0 -- Our mission of reaching people with the love of Jesus Christ extends to the Internet too. With that in mind, the goal of this website is to facilitate outreach by utilizing the most up-to-date technology available, inviting people into a Christ-centered community.

A variety of gifts will be needed to make this ministry a continued success, namely people with an understanding of the culture of our congregation and gifts of communication to shape an online picture of Lord of Life that expresses our community. Maybe this means you are a writer, photographer, or graphic designer... or, yes, even the tech geek who gets a thrill out of debugging PHP code. If you are interested in joining this ministry, contact the web administrator.

Continual Growth and Refinement


While we are very enthusiastic about the new technical features of the site and the possibilities for ministry outreach the site offers, continuing to make this a useful tool of ministry outreach will require targeted expansion and fine-tuning.

Into the future, elements will be refined and expanded, with new features added into the foreseeable future. Most of the new features that have been implemented thus far came as a result of an early-2008 congregational survey about what people hoped to find in a website. As this ministry continues to evolve, feedback from members of the congregation will be important to crafting a website that is relevant to the needs of current congregational members. To give feedback about this site, contact the web administrator.

Under the Hood


JoomlaSince 2009, Lord of Life's website has been powered by the Joomla! content management system. Many aspects, including its ease-of-use and extensibility, have made Joomla! among the most popular website software solutions available. Joomla! is used as the backbone of sites as varied as the International House of Pancakes and the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Advances in the Joomla! platform have allowed Lord of Life to be on the cutting edge of using websites for missional outreach. Read more about Lord of Life's site revision history in the Change Log below.

More Information

Change Log

Website 4.0 - Sophistication, Elegance, and Long-Term Stability


By late 2012, the 3.x series website had over three years of operational success. The site was fulfilling the missional goals of reaching others with the love of Jesus Christ, and was further acting as a conversation-starter for ways to enrich other ministries.

However, 2012 also signaled the end of life for the version of Joomla! (version 1.5) that powered Lord of Life's 3.x series website. The change meant that no more security updates would be released for Joomla!, leaving Lord of Life's site potentially vulnerable to attack. This came at the same time as forthcoming personnel turnovers in the website ministry created a demand for greater ease-of-use for future web administrators.

Only a sweeping change to Lord of Life's website architecture could address these concerns. Website 4.0 is based on the latest long-term stability release of Joomla! (version 2.5). The new Joomla! will support security updates through 2015 and includes a seamless migration path for future releases out to the end of the decade.

Along with the new Joomla!, Website 4.0 utilizes a totally new suite of components to power the Member Directory, Newsletter archive, FAQ interface, and Compassion Weekend registration subsystem. This set of next-generation components provides a level of administrative ease that was impossible to achieve with the previous toolset.

Based upon data from Google Analytics reporting over the last three years, Lord of Life's site visitors have embraced the trend of adopting widescreen displays. This trend will only continue as time progresses. With an eye toward using the 4.x series website for at least the next several years, the new graphical interface is built to capitalize on widescreen displays. Along with that transition, the new interface strives for and achieves a substantially greater level of sophistication and elegance than the 3.x series website, while still maintaining branding consistency using the same color palette that was introduced in Website 3.5.

Parallel to the Joomla public site, the scope of Website 4.0 also encompasses a new infrastructure for email and collaboration.  As a 501(c)3, Lord of Life qualifies to use Google Apps for Nonprofits.  Google Apps provides enterprise-level email, calendar, collaboration, and file sharing across a cloud-based interface, using Lord of Life’s own domain names.  Church staff and ministry leaders have Google Apps accounts with acceptingall.com email addresses.  Those email addresses also have alias nicknames for the acceptingall.org and lordoflifeluth.org domain names.  Emails to alias nicknames are redirected in a similar manner as the public site.  As a cloud-based solution, Google Apps enables productivity and a consistent user experience anywhere the user has an Internet connection.

Website 3.6 - Making it More Missional


In the year since the launch of Website 3.5, Lord of Life has begun to see the website ministry bear fruit. Many new visitors on Sunday mornings and friends who have chosen to become members of the congregation have shared a similar sentiment: they learned about Lord of Life through the website. Similarly, the web administrator has answered requests for advice and comment from congregations across the United States and Canada to learn about how and why Lord of Life's website works.

In that time, the need for Lord of Life's website to be more explicitly missional became evident, specifically, the need to make the site more accessible to first-time visitors to our website. The major revision in Website 3.6 is a paradigm shift in the home page of the site. Instead of a primarily blog-like listing of upcoming event highlights taken from the monthly newsletter, the home page is now designed to be task-based. The goal is to make the growing library of content in the site easily accessible to new visitors who have a few fundamental questions in mind when looking for a church to attend, namely "What happens on Sundays, when, and why?", "What's going on at this church?", and "How can I find a place to meet God in community?"

From a technical perspective, the new layout of the home page is also designed to cater to the indexing algorithms of search engines.

Other changes in version 3.6 incorporate incremental additions that have been made over the last year, including the Compassion Weekend event registration engine, online Spiritual Gifts Inventory, linking of event details to corresponding "pinwheel" landing pages, and the microsite for the "dream Bigger" capital campaign.

Website 3.5 - Performance and Expandability, Refined


Since the launch of Website 3.0 in July of 2009, the website team kept close watch on the successes and growing edges of Lord of Life's site. Toward addressing those needs, Website 3.5 was introduced in November 2009.

The most obvious change is a new graphical interface, with softer tones, a more consistent palette, and layering via fields of color instead of gradients. However, the true motivation for the upgrade is the presentation framework of the site. The new framework allows web administrators access to over a dozen new module variations in appearance and location on a given page. This will allow a more efficient layout of pages, particularly on the front page of the site. Further, by implementing a state-of-the-art framework that uses CSS sprites and GZIP compression, page rendering time has been decreased. Finally, the menu system has been completely rewritten, eliminating previous usage difficulties.

This upgrade does not alter site topology or general page element layout. In other words... everything is works like it did before, it just looks different.

Website 3.0 - One Giant Leap, Inside and Out


The major technological innovation of version 3.0 is the use of the Joomla! content management system (CMS) as our operating platform. Many aspects, including its ease-of-use and extensibility, have made Joomla! among the most popular website software solutions available. Joomla! is used as the backbone of sites as varied as the International House of Pancakes and the Harvard University Graduate Scho ol of Arts and Sciences. The use of Joomla! for church websites is still comparatively uncommon, and we at Lord of Life are excited to be using this tool for missional outreach.

Email Newsletter Subscription

If you would like to receive Lord of Life's weekly newsletters by email, sign up here.


Congregational Member Login

What's Up with the Login Box?
Here's the deal: members of the congregation can receive a personalized username and password to access the Digital Narthex section of the website. Digital Narthex contains information of interest to congregational members, including an online member directory.
Member Login