Winner of the Most Engaging Large Church Award, Jason Baldry tells us why winning this award the second time around is encouragment that St Thomas Norwich is heading in the right direction and why churches should avoid cliches when starting a digital project.
What inspired you to create the website for St Thomas Norwich?
Back in 2012/2013 the old St Thomas Norwich website had been put together just before Ian (Dyble) planted the church from HTB. It was running on an outdated platform and subsequently got hacked. This opened up an urgent need for a replacement. Ian knew I had done a few websites so i offered to lend a hand.
What was your first reaction when you heard you won the award for Most Engaging Large Church Website?
We were thrilled. We were very humbled to win the award in 2015 and were really pleased to be invited back again. To win the award for a second time is fantastic and it's a real testament to everything happening at STN. Lots of activity makes for great website content.
What does winning this award mean to you?
It really special. It tells us we are heading in the right direction, to bring church to people in a modern and contemporary way that can rival the best from the private sector organiations and established charities/organisations. There's no reason why church media can't be every bit as good as the other materials people see every day.
How has winning the category impacted your work?
It has renewed my personal drive to press on further with finding new ways that we can reach out to people.
What are your plans for St Thomas in 2017?
I want to bring a fresh face to the website and incorporate more video from our amazing filmmaker Jillian Fosten. We want to tell more personal stories of people coming to faith and how Jesus has impacted their lives, whether it be at STN or anywhere else.
How important is the Premier Digital Conference in today’s modern Christian community?
It's great to have a central resource that recognises the challenges we are all facing. Sharing these challenges and our experiences of overcoming them is hugely beneficial.
What advice would you give to Christians with a digital project or idea that they want to launch?
Think about the quality. Avoid the old cliches that churches seem to fall into when working with digital media. Look at what great churches are producing and strive to match or better it. Also make use of the tools that are now available to you. Free stock imagery is now an amazingly rich resource whilst website builders are increasingly more intuitive and manageable. Seek out some professional help if you can. Having someone who has worked with websites, social media, video etc before will be invaluable....ask the congregation for the skills they may have to help. That's how I found myself in the position I'm in today.
How can people get in touch with you?
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