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Standard offers easy websites for churches

___Your church's presence on the Internet is only a mouse-click away, thanks to Good News Texas, the Baptist Standard's new Internet program for churches, Editor Marv Knox announced.
___"We're thrilled to offer Texas Baptist churches an easy-to-use, low-cost option for simplifying communication with their members and extending their ministries to the
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World Wide Web," Knox said.
___"Good News Texas enables any church that has at least one person--staff member or lay volunteer--who can operate a computer's cut and paste functions to have its own presence on the Internet."
___Good News Texas is more than a rigid, hard-to-change web page, Knox added. Because of its ease of operation and low cost, it will enable churches to produce online newsletters, which can be updated daily or weekly and actually sent to church members through an e-mail message.
___"This is our churches' 21st century solution to meeting the communication demands that are extremely important for vibrant, vital congregations," he said.
___Good News Texas represents a partnership between the Baptist Standard and two large communications companies--the Dallas Morning News and KOZ.com, a national Internet communications pioneer.
___Because both the Dallas Morning News and KOZ.com focus on communications, they have designed a program that combines a wide array of useful functions with a system that's simple to operate.
___"This is what we would have designed for our churches if we were computer scientists," Knox said, joking, "It's so easy to use, even a middle-aged newspaper editor can do it."
___The cost is $12.50 per month, with no start-up fee. Knox said this compares favorably to the hundreds or thousands of dollars computer programmers often charge churches to build websites that cannot easily be updated. Good News Texas is designed so a church can make all its changes itself, without having to pay a programmer.
___Good News Texas offers churches several communications features, including:
___Texas Baptist news bluebull Home page. A church can custom-design
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Using simple and easy page-building software, your church can join the Good News Texas online community today.
its own site, or it can incorporate its information--written copy, photos or artwork--into pre-designed templates provided by the Baptist Standard. Also, a church that already has a web page but wants to take advantage of all the features of Good News Texas can import its existing home page into the Good News Texas program.
___Texas Baptist news bluebull Newsletter pages. Simple point-and-click options enable participating churches to publish their own online newsletters, with no limit to the amount of material attached to the newsletter. These may include photos and copy, placed anywhere on the open screen.
___Churches also can create special newsletters for different groups. For example, the music and youth ministries could have their own e-letters, with material directed specifically to members of those groups.
___Texas Baptist news bluebull Chat rooms. Church members could carry on conversations at their individual computer screens. This function could help committees do their work or Sunday School teachers and directors plan for Sunday.
___Texas Baptist news bluebull Calendar. The church can maintain its own master calendar that is instantaneously available to all members online.
___Texas Baptist news bluebull Message boards. Prayer requests, ministry needs and other updated information can be posted on message boards and available for the church membership in a moment's notice.
___Texas Baptist news bluebull Good news. A church's webpage will be linked to a special selection of good news articles--inspirational human-interest stories and other uplifting information--taken from the latest edition of the Baptist Standard. "These articles will be free of politics and conflict--just the best news about being a Christian and a Baptist," Knox said.
___Participating churches also will be able to provide free e-mail accounts to their members.
___Good News Texas also offers similar communications programs to other Baptist groups, such as associations and convention institutions.
___Participants will receive training materials specifically designed for Good News Texas users, and additional instruction is available online. Also, the Standard provides technical support.
___To purchase a Good News Texas website, call David Clanton at the Baptist Standard, (800) 749-4610, ext. 15, or visit the Good News Texas website at www.goodnewstx.com.

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