Confessions of an Internet Campus Pastor – Part 2 – Phase 1 – ‘Collect’


It’s really important for every leader to have a filter to process everything that goes into making a decision and executing a plan, here’s a quick look at mine.

I’m sure its something I picked up at a conference, book or the back of a Captain Crunch box.

  1. Collect :: Gather any and all information that seems to be relevant. Basically I make a big pile of stuff.
  2. Process :: Discard things that either don’t matter or can be done later. Also eliminate things that need a simple decision by making that decision now.
  3. Organize :: This can be the real time consumer. This is the step where people are delegated to and tools are selected to accomplish the task.
  4. Review :: Take the time to re-clarify what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and who is doing what. This is the time to catch mistakes and redundancies and save a lot of time.
  5. Do :: Pull the trigger!

So here we are at Phase One – Collect.

This is a unique challenge for me since I am new on staff. It’s one thing to have to collect all of the info that is spread all over Gateway Church, but on top of that I have to figure out who I should and shouldn’t be collecting info from.

So here’s the wide angle look at what we have in play right now: :: The current website is about a 4 year old design built on .NET Nuke. It would appear that when it was first designed it wasn’t envisioned to be able to handle the shear amount of content that is now on it. At first it was a great layout and design, but has since become an easy place to get lost as the site has grown.

bookshelfWe also have a space built on an enterprise platform that is a connection point for groups that is a part of our spiritual growth strategy. It’s clear that the space is not meeting the needs that we hoped it would, so we will reevaluate and look to relaunch on a new platform

Along with those, there are more than a dozen other sites and spaces spread out all over the place.

The tech side of this is important to be sure, but there are two pieces that need to be collected that are even more important:

Gateway’s Vision :: Since I’m new, I need to take the time to understand the vision, values and culture of Gateway Church, and fast.

Team Members :: I won’t get very far on my own, luckily I’m in Austin which is chalk full of really talented web digerati, designers and creative people of all stripes.

These two pieces are the foundation for anything we try to do and getting them right is paramount for success of the project.

As we collect web spaces in play, vision and team members, what starts bubbling to the surface are the specific needs that we have for our web presence.

  • What functions do we need the site(s) to perform?
  • What kind of back end do we need?
  • What kind of designs work for us?

…and the list goes on.

While all that is being gathered I am also gathering a list of web platforms that are out there. At some point all of the Vision and needs will point us to the platform(s) that will meet them.

So that’s where the ChurchCrunch community comes into play…

Rattle off some of your favorite platforms and CMS’s. Let us know what you like and dislike about them.

[Image from Thibodeau, Normann]


Eric Dye

I am a blogger, business owner and lover of coffee. I spend most of my time as Programs Director for Open Church, but you'll also find me as a writer and editor for ChurchMag, as well as working on Live Theme and ChurchMag Press. All while enjoying my family and sipping espresso in Italy.

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  1. says

    I'm not much good with platforms and CMS's, but for Gateway's vision and values, I'm your ace in the hole. I've been around longer than any staff member other than John and Charles, and I'm happy to make myself available to you for any questions, or just to deliver an impromptu talk on how Gateway was founded and how we've gotten to where we are now (both in terms of values/spirituality and in terms of technology, insofar as I know that side).

  2. aaron says

    I'm a big fan of ExpressionEngine. Spent quite a while researching CMSs, and landed on EE. It has tons of features like membership, permissions, mailing list modules, etc. V.2 of EE is being built on the PHP CodeIgniter framework, also good stuff, takes the headaches out of security issues and speeds up application development.

    • says

      I'm really digging expression engine. Looks like a solid core. I'm not sold on the back end for novice users…but its better than most.


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