Answer this question: What is the #1 goal of any church? Answer: To build community. To help in this mission, there are many wonderful tools available through the Internet to share information and socialize. But perhaps with all those different tools, you feel a bit overwhelmed. One ministry group communicates on Facebook, another on Google Plus, and yet another through Yahoo! Groups. For some people, it can get very confusing trying to remember which group is where, especially if you are the organizer of many ministry teams and events. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a tool that allowed you to organize your entire parish’s social groups and ministries, sent email from centralized lists, shared a single calendar that filters events based on group, and allowed your parishioners to socialize online in a safe and secure environment? Wouldn’t it be even better if it were free? Guess what? There is such a tool! It’s called WeGather.
WeGather was developed by Liturgical Publications, Inc. (LPi), who are well known for their production and distribution of church bulletins. Over the last few years, LPi has developed web tools specifically for parishes including website templates and online giving. WeGather is their answer to social networking that meets the needs and concerns of a church community.
Here are the main features:
- Provides a safe, secure environment – A church administrator approves all membership requests so only authorized people have access to the site. Secondary administrators can be given access to maintain particular groups and ministries.
- Centralizes email lists for easy updating and distributing information.
- Organizes ministries and committees by “groups.” Only members of each group can see information specifically for them but can be shared publicly (any authorized site member) if desired.
- Provides a centralized calendar of events. Information shown on the calendar can either be group specific or shared publicly.
- Allows members to easily post and share documents, photos, and videos specific to each group or publicly.
- Provides members the ability to create their profiles and control which information is available to fellow parishioners.
Again, the core system of WeGather is free but does offer some optional “modules” available on a monthly subscription basis:
- Online giving via WeShare, LPi’s online giving and event registration program. WeShare can easily be integrated with WeGather.
- Service Opportunities-promote your volunteer needs where members can easily sign up for volunteer opportunities of interest
- Additional Storage for documents and media
So, why use WeGather over other online tools?
- A clean, professional look that is easy to navigate for the casual computer user.
- A web based tool specifically designed for churches.
- The privacy of each parish and its members is strictly maintained. No information is sold or given to third parties of any kind.
- LPi working to build additional modules to plug into WeGather.
WeGather is a very powerful –and absolutely free –communication tool for any church and its members. If you are part of a parish that is looking to organize all of its online ministry outreach and communication in one place, check out WeGather and feel free to leave a comment on how it works for your church.