Lamb of God Lutheran Church needed a new website and needed it fast.

The small church in Anaheim, Calif., had hosted their website for years on website feature of Office 365. But now Microsoft was shutting down that system, leaving the church without a website.

“That site was really cumbersome to try and manage,” Pastor Steve Biegler said. “I avoided it for the most part.”

Fortunately, Lamb of God is within the Pacifica Synod of the, ELCA. In December 2016, the synod redid their website with the help of Faith Growth. So when Biegler needed to look around for help, he knew right where to turn.

“The reports I got back from the web manager at the synod office were very encouraging,” Biegler. “She said she found Christopher and Faith Growth very good to work with. And I liked how the Synod site looked. I also liked the fact that I was working with someone who knew churches and and their needs and wasn’t mostly a business-based thing like 365.”

The initial discovery process turned out to be relatively easy. Along with learning about what kind of content the church needed, Harris also needed to learn what Biegler’s technological skill level was.

“The pastor is doing everything on the site,” Harris said. “He’s the one that’s updating it. So where is he at so that we can give him a good fit technologically wise and make it easy for him to maintain.”

Picking a theme for the church’s new site was even easier. Biegler settled on the Outreach Pro theme, the same theme the Pacifica Synod currently uses. The reason? Biegler like the way the theme looked, and he knew he had a quick place to go if he needed help.

“I showed him a couple of themes, be he was like, ‘No, we’re going with that one,’” Harris said. “It just gave him another resource to get help. That was another level of security that we were able to give him.”

Development wise, work was easy on the new site. In fact, the only tough spot came when Harris needed the domain registration.

“The guy who set it up years ago and is no longer with the church had all of the domain stuff,” Harris said. “He was willing to point it for me, but I was like ‘We need to get it into your hands, pastor. We’re transferring it to the church.’”

But for Biegler, the challenge was working through the intimidation that comes with learning and running a brand new site and system.

“For me it was getting past being intimidated by sitting down and just applying what Christopher had taught me,” Biegler said. “I kinda froze for a while — let my tendency to procrastinate get the better of me. Then there were the holidays and then some other stuff came up that took my attention away a bit. That’s why it took as long as it did to launch.”

The work, however, was all worth it in the end. Lamb of God’s new site launched in March 2018. They now has a usable website that provides all the information members and visitors need. And it’s easy for Biegler to update.

“I enjoyed seeing that I could do it after all,” Biegler said. “Although I will surely need help from time to time. The format from WordPress is really very user friendly. Editing pics is the hardest part for me. But it will come with time I think.”

The new site is still in its early stages, so Biegler said he hasn’t quite seen any noticeable boost in the church’s ministry. But he said it has been helpful, especially for new people.

“I think the folks mostly like it,” Biegler said. “Most of our folks don’t probably spend much time on it. It’s there for other people to get a sense of who we are and what’s available here. I don’t blog as yet, so there’s not much for our folks to do on the site beyond check out the calendar.”

Meanwhile, Harris said there are two things other churches in a similar situation can learn. First, Faith Growth will help you learn how to use WordPress effectively. And second, even with a limited budget, Faith Growth can give you a good foundation for a website.

“This was a stretch for their budget, but it’s still the same solid foundation so they can grow it in many ways like our bigger clients,” Harris said. “They have that same starting place and take that website anywhere right now.”

As for Biegler, he said he’s very happy with the experience working with Faith Growth.

“I really enjoyed the time I spent with Christopher,” Biegler said. “He was very patient and professional and generous with his time and knowledge — perhaps overly generous with my procrastination. I like the result, and I think it will serve us well.”

Visit Lamb of God’s new site -> https://www.lambofgodanaheim.com/