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  • Stuart Macadam

Case Study: Abundant Life Church

About


Abundant Life Church is a vibrant church based in the heart of Tauranga.


Founded by Mike and Jane Cullen in the early 1980's, the church now has more than 120 people attending each Sunday service. Their desire is to share the gospel and Jesus with the city, region and New Zealand.


Problem


Abundant Life understands the importance of building and growing and strong online presence. One of the core pillars of this is having a user friendly, optimised website that is easy to navigate and represents the core values and beliefs of the church.


The church had a website, but it was very old and outdated. A lot of the plugins it was using were broken, the formatting was very old fashioned and many of the events and announcements were hard to find straight away.


Senior pastor Rod Kell had engaged the services of a local marketing agency, but they were unable to deliver a website which reflected the church online.


Initial Thoughts


This project was a large undertaking. I very rarely take on website design projects -unless like Public Relations roles - I truly believe in the organisation who I am doing it for.


After sitting down with senior pastor Rod Kell and identifying the scope of work required, I agreed to take on the project.


Approach To Building Church Website


  1. Identify all the content that is required. This includes written content and picture content. In this situation, it was a combination of the church providing content for direct upload. On other pages, I was required to create the content from scratch.

  2. Choose a website platform that is user friendly and easy to operate, especially when the handover is made to the team. I decided to continue working with Wordpress and Elementor. Rather than transfer everything over to another platform, which would have been very time consuming and expensive. I have managed multiple websites with varying complexities on Wordpress too, so it was easier to prepare tutorial lessons and instructions for the staff who were going to be using the website on a regular basis.

  3. Begin building the website, working with a UX developer when needed to make the more technical changes.

  4. Draft was presented to the clients for feedback. Edits and requests for changes were made.

  5. Changes were made.

  6. Second and third reviews. This was where the website was presented to the leadership team at the church.

  7. Tutorials and run throughs on how to update sections of the website were added in.

  8. Website domain and hosting package are connected to the new website.

  9. Website goes live.


Result


A 21st century looking website that is optimised for desktop and mobile.


All small groups, ministries, sermons and events are easy to find.


There is now a dedicated giving page.


Rather than boast about it, you can go here are see for yourself what I designed.


What The Client Says


People who visit our church for the first time enjoy the warmth and friendliness which the members of our congregation show to them and each other.

One of the pressing things on my mind when my wife and I took over as pastors of Abundant Life was the website. 

It was clunky, old-fashioned and ill equipped to help our members stay up to date with church announcements, events, listen to the weekly sermon or find out more about the local small groups.

We hired a local web development company that promised the world but unfortunately ended up delivering a very disappointing website. The pictures didn't suit the website. The layout was poor and it just didn't feel like a website we could be proud of.

When I first sat down with Stuart, I was cautious due to the unmet promises of the previous developer. However Stuart’s approach was refreshing, thorough and knowledgeable, and he had the ability to ask perceptive questions. Instead of getting told what to do, he first listened to what I envisioned and then worked with me to create a roadmap as to what the website may look like.

It wasn't all plain sailing, but things slowly began to take shape. Within a few weeks, we had a draft website. After a couple of modifications and changes, the website was presented to the leadership team. All of them really enjoyed the new look. I was very pleased to receive the finished product in the time frame that was discussed.



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