Cobblestone Blog

Church Website Wisdom and Your Community

posted by Drew Goodmanson on December 10, 2009 in Company

Pick up a copy of Your Church magazine, part of Christianity Today in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue to read Website Wisdom - New research, cooperative reveal best practices for churches written by Monk Development CEO Drew Goodmanson.

The article touches on developing a community engagement and reasearch from congregational and church studies.  It reads:

Your Web Strategy Should Integrate With the Online Communities People Already Use.

After "I'm New" information, the second-most popular content category that people visited online was group information. People sought out ministry groups, home groups, and other communities to connect into the community and serve.

When asked to select the top five features or activities they would like to see in their church websites, 39 percent of people selected "connect with other members," which ranked highest. And in the congregational survey, more than 70 percent said the website was important in facilitating participation in their church community. People desire ways to participate online with others from the church.

The rise of social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, has trained users to seek online interaction with friends and family. Church members now desire this online experience for church. Respondents said the following features, listed here in the order of their popularity, appealed to them in a private, online community:

  • Ability to post prayer requests or needs (with appropriate permissions);
  • Ability to find opportunities to serve at the church, based on interests or gifts;
  • Ability to access a phone/email directory;
  • Ability to join and interact with home/Bible study groups;
  • Ability to share resources.

Read the full article: Website Wisdom

Cobblestone on Facebook

posted by Drew Goodmanson on December 10, 2009 in Company

See the latest announcements, view screenshots of Cobblestone and much more when you join the Cobblestone Facebook group.

Cobblestone on Facebook


Cobblestone in Collide

posted by Drew Goodmanson on November 23, 2009 in Company

Park Community was featured in Collide Magazine, here's an excerpt from the article Church Spotlight: Park Community Church

COLLIDE: How does Park utilize social media in its ministry and communication?

Schraeder: In services texting plays a couple of different roles… we use it for people to text in questions about our messages and also have used it to take polls to get a feel for where our congregation stands on different current events or controversial issues.

We only print a bulletin once a month since a majority of our congregation is hyper-connected to the Web and social media. Throughout the week we depend on Facebook and Twitter to communicate upcoming events and opportunities for people to connect. But we also use it to see and hear what people who attend Park are talking about. Social media enables us to maintain a pulse on what people in our church are talking about and lets us know what they are thinking and how they are responding to our services. And in many cases, it has introduced us to people we had no idea attended our church.

With the launch of our new website we’ve also launched a private social network for our regular attendees with the help of the Cobblestone Community Network ( Most of our 200-plus small groups have private groups on the network where they are able to communicate with each other, post prayer requests, and share a calendar. Different ministries in the church are using it to communicate news and information, and it enables us to have classifieds, job postings, a volunteer board, and other things that we wouldn’t necessarily want on a public site or on Facebook or another social network.

The key in all of this is that we’ve found a way we can best communicate with our congregation and we’ve put a lot of time and energy into ensuring we’re doing that to the best of our ability. We have a church that responds to media and technology, so we use it. For other churches that might not be the solution. It’s all about discovering who your people are, how they best communicate and receive information and creating a strategy around that. Not every church needs a killer website or Twitter, but if that’s a key way people in your church communicate then by all means you need to get involved in conversation with them where they are talking.

Walking the Streets of Cobblestone

posted by Drew Goodmanson on October 28, 2009 in Company

Small Screenshot of 3 Cobblestone

Media Salt takes a look at Cobblestone and writes the following:

If you’re a frequent Media Salt reader, you may remember me mentioning the Cobblestone Community Network in my post from last Wednesday. Over the last week, I’ve dug a little deeper into some of the groups solutions available out there and decided that we wanted to explore Cobblestone a little further to see if it would be a good fit for us. Beau from Monk Development was kind enough to cast the vision for Cobblestone and give me an extensive demo of the functionality it provides for ministries.

I was impressed.

First things first… It’s obvious that the guys at Monk Development “get it.” Too often a team of super-geeks get together to build these things and completely neglect making it graceful and usable. Not so with Cobblestone; not only was their beta build functionally viable, but it was actually very well thought out. I could tell a lot of thought and prayer has been thrown into the development of the tool, which is a welcome change from many of the other tools being developed in this arena. If I was building something similar myself, this is how I would do it. Here are a few of my favorite highlights:

  • A unified view of all group activity. When a user logs in, they see the highlights from every group they’re involved in. Let’s say I was in an accountability group, a group for the choir and a normal small group. I would see the upcoming activities for all three of these groups in a single calendar specific to my involvement. Awesome.
  • Different ways to reply. For many chunks of interaction on the site, I would never have to log in to respond to a group member’s question or comment. I could simply reply at the top of the notification email and it would be added to the conversation on the Cobblestone site (similar to Basecamp). Very convenient.
  • Promotion possibilities. Folks are consuming more and more information these days solely through their involvement in social networks. Cobblestone provides many promotion avenues within the system to post video and large graphical billboard spots that all groups would see when they logged in. This would be a great tool for a church to promote upcoming volunteer fairs or future small group studies.

Obviously, that’s just scratching the surface of the functionality provided in Cobblestone. If your church is looking for a way to keep your groups doing life together online throughout the week, Cobblestone might be the solution you’re looking for. Definitely check them out.

Christian Social Networks

posted by Drew Goodmanson on September 1, 2009 in Company, Features

Integration ThumbA lot of people have asked if Cobblestone is a Christian Social Network.  This depends on how you define terms.  Cobblestone is not trying to replace MySpace or Facebook where individuals are at the center of the universe and everything revolves around them.  We suggest you continue to use these for missional purposes and social engagement.  Cobblestone is different in that it puts the community at the center and encourages people to move deeper into relationship.  We help facilitate and automate administrative functions to free your community up to be the church. 

The good news is the social networks can be leveraged further by your community because Cobblestone integrates with Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.