For church leaders trying to navigate the digital age, the challenge can take on biblical proportions. While the psalmist looked to the hills in his hour of need, pastors, staff and lay leaders today find themselves looking to the "cloud" – that place in cyberspace where a host of new Web-based resources and services are found.
It’s all part of the digital church, where multimedia and social networking are as common as hymnals and printed bulletins. And LifeWay Christian Resources is making it easier for church decision-makers to access and download a wide range of resources through the new Web portal, LifeWay.com/DigitalChurch.
"We launched LifeWay’s Digital Church to provide solutions that will help churches be more effective in ministry," said Tim Vineyard, LifeWay’s chief information officer. "Ministry leaders now have access, in one place, to a full range of digital resources. Digital Church services and solutions are easy to use and come from trusted resource providers."
The "cloud services" available through LifeWay’s Digital Church include existing LifeWay resources such as WorshipMap Pro and SongMap, the groundbreaking online services that enable users to download and customize worship music; LifeWayLINK, the church Web site service; and eMediaLINK, the solution for adding online video to ministry Web sites. It also features new services available through alliances between LifeWay, Fellowship Technologies and ServiceU.
Among these new services are:
- Church management software through Fellowship Technologies’ flagship product, Fellowship One, which provides secure, fully integrated solutions for managing members, visitors, contacts, small groups, children’s check-in, volunteers and contributions. Ministries of all sizes around the world, from new church plants to mega-size, multi-site churches, use Fellowship One.
- TransactU, software that equips churches to set up online giving and event registration. The software comes from ServiceU Corporation, a world-class software development company. ServiceU is one of the few companies in compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards as a Level 1 Service Provider – meaning customers can have the highest degree of confidence in the security of their credit card information when making online purchases or donations.
"We are very excited to be a part of LifeWay’s Digital Church initiative," said Jeff Hook, chief executive officer of Fellowship Technologies. "It is an honor to have a world-class Christian organization such as LifeWay select Fellowship One as their recommended church management software. Their vision for the Digital Church aligns perfectly with our mission to empower the local church through advanced technology."
Tim Whitehorn, founder and CEO of ServiceU, added, "The LifeWay name carries a high degree of trust with churches nationwide. We are honored to work with LifeWay in helping churches utilize technology to further their mission."
Other services and service providers will be added in the months ahead, said Vineyard, who added that LifeWay’s Digital Church solutions help ministry leaders in a number of unique ways: It’s easy to access from any computer with a username and password; it’s highly secure and easy to navigate; and it’s trusted because it features well-known LifeWay resources and LifeWay-recommended services and service providers.
The Digital Church initiative is part of a larger strategy for LifeWay, according to President and CEO Thom Rainer. In his address to trustees last month, Rainer said LifeWay will maintain its historic biblical fidelity, but enhance its delivery systems to keep pace with the digital needs of the church.
Rainer cast a vision for LifeWay for the next decade. "LifeWay will be the ministry leader in the digital world," he told trustees. "When people think about digital Christian resources, they will look to LifeWay. A digital strategy is critical to our future."
Rainer stressed that more people are coming to LifeWay for digital content. Church and ministry leaders are going online to download hundreds of valuable resources from multiple areas of LifeWay.com including LifeWay Kids, LifeWay Women and many others.
"We want to provide the best content and delivery that makes a ministry difference to our constituents and customers," he said. "With cutting-edge ministry resources and a tech-savvy business strategy, we are better positioned and aware of the opportunities that lay before us."
More information is available at LifeWay.com/DigitalChurch.