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Church Finds a new use for Old PCs
It might seem like an unlikely pairing, but religious institutions are increasingly using technology to recruit and maintain members. Technology, specifically self-service technology, enables religious organizations to keep pace with the rest of society.
With approximately 2200 members in its congregation, Westmoore Community Church (WCC) employs 11 staff members dedicated to continually improving technology. WCC is regarded as a tech savvy church, remaining contemporary in what is normally regarded as a traditional field. This church strives to be non-traditional, known as “The Flock that ROCKS!” because of their music, relaxed atmosphere and casual dress. Shawn Keene, Technology Manager and Webmaster at WCC, describes the church as, “Not the typical ‘churchy’ church.”
WCC maintains an impressive website (www.westmoorechurch.com) that informs its members of upcoming events and opportunities to volunteer. “We recognize that society today is very technology and media driven, so our web site functions as a point of information for our congregation regarding all our church events, youth trips, and more. Online our congregation can submit payments for classes, trips, or even tithes or offerings,” states Keene. In addition to these programs, members can post messages to each other in an online message board, and teens can access information on issues they face today. Promoting people to stay connected, the church advertises its website on television stations such as VH1, MTV, ABC Family Channel, and others.
With WCC’s website being an integral part of its parish, WCC realized the need to convey the website to members of its congregation that may not have regular Internet access. The staff decided to take on a project of turning a couple of old PC’s into a self-service information center. This center is located in the middle of WCC’s lobby and surrounded by informational brochures, supplementing the self-service kiosk integration. The center allows members to access WCC’s website, sign-up for events and to volunteer, and access sermons from over a year ago. WCC has integrated the kiosks into the parish, by using staff members or volunteers to assist anyone using the kiosks during Sunday services. “The kiosks are not replacing human contact, they’re supplementing it. People who are familiar with technology feel more at home when they can use the kiosk stations,” states Keene.
Locking down the kiosks was a natural decision since WCC wanted this information to be available to anyone in the building in addition to Sunday services. Religious organizations, as well as any other organization, need to be assured people do not have access to the computer’s hard drive. Using offthe- shelf software, such as KioWare, allows religious organizations to focus on more important issues. With KioWare, WCC also has the ability of using an optional toolbar, allowing access to other websites, and logging users off after a specified period of idle time. Additionally, WCC is utilizing KioWare’s attract screen feature to cycle through pages of its website during periods of idle time. Using this feature Keene is able to highlight a particular sermon series, cycle through pictures from an event, or advertise signing up for an event from the kiosk. If interested, members can click on the page and are directed to more information. If they click on an event, they are directed to a page on the website to sign up, where they are then entered into WCC’s database.
WCC innovated a self-service information center on a budget, allowing anyone access to its website at anytime. With KioWare, WCC has the ability to keep members informed without worrying about users hacking into its system. WCC is just one example of many religious organizations which are keeping pace with society and technology.
KioWare kiosk software wraps around existing browser-based applications, securing the OS and browser, and allowing users to access only your application. KioWare is fully customizable with a product line ranging from basic browser-lockdown to server based remote monitoring.
ABOUT WESTMOORE COMMUNITY CHURCH
With approximately 2200 members in its congregation, Westmoore Community Church (WCC) employs 11 staff members dedicated to continually improving technology. WCC is regarded as a tech savvy church, remaining contemporary in what is normally regarded as a traditional field.
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