Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

the new fellowshipchurch.com is here...

Yesterday, we launched the brand-new version of FellowshipChurch.com!

Visit the new site

Since we made the switch to open source and standards-based web development last April, this was the day we've been waiting for. We launched the new EdYoung.org in June and the new FellowshipConnection.com in August. Both of these sites were perfect proving grounds due to their scope and complexity. The FC site, however, was hundreds of pages across four different campuses and required a custom-built content management system, form builder, user management tool, and integration with our church database. At the same time, we were committed to building a site that was 100% standards compliant and functional across all browsers.

I've had the privilege of working over the past year with two of the most talented and dedicated web developers I know, Brad and Jeph. They are proof of the power of small teams when you have the right people in place - the new FellowshipChurch.com site was built in just 5 months, while still maintaining 4 other sites.

Take a look around and let me know what you think. Many of you are web developers, many of you are on staff at churches, and some of you are privileged to do both! I have no doubt you can provide invaluable feedback.

I'll post an overview of what our goals were, the cool features, and the behind-the-scenes technology soon. You can enjoy one of the pieces we're most proud of right now, though. A big challenge that every site redesign presents is how do you help your current users have an easy and enjoyable transition. Yesterday morning (yes, the morning of our launch) I had an idea.

A few months ago, we built a moderated online chat for FellowshipConnection.com. Very similar to Campfire, it is a clean, simple, elegant tool. It came to mind yesterday morning and I thought, "Wouldn't it be great to give people instant access to help with the new site through an online chat?"

Believe or not, the team retrofitted the application for the FC site in the middle of our launch day and by 6:00 last night, we were answering questions and getting feedback from many friendly, appreciative people. Have I mentioned how much I love this team?

You'll find a link to the chat on the homepage throughout the day, so stop by and say hello. It will be available next week as well as people start to use the new site.