How to start a Christian online discussion community

Do you own a Christian community

  • Yes.

    Votes: 1 5.9%
  • Yes, but it hasn't taken off well.

    Votes: 7 41.2%
  • No, but I plan to open one.

    Votes: 4 23.5%
  • No, but I would have if I had some help.

    Votes: 1 5.9%
  • No.

    Votes: 4 23.5%

  • Total voters
    17
Oct 24, 2009
32
3
8
South
I have a Wordpress blog as well. I understand one can turn those into forums too, though I haven't tried it yet. I sort of debate with myself between the advantages of owning and running a forum myself and contributing content and fellowship with other sites, even as part of an admin team.
 
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Another good resource to teach you everything you need to know about online communities is:

Admin Zone Forums - Discussion Forums & Resources for Online Community Administrators

I frequent that community quite a bit.

I have one board running phpbb3 and another running Vbulletin
Thank you first for this thread, and for this post. I just became a member of TAZ (Admin Zone Forums), as I was searchin for a Christian Webmaster Forum.

I am also a member of a number of Christian Forums, and a forum for campers which I forgot to visit in a very long time now. Like someone said in a post higher up this thread, I too visit some of them more frequently than others, based on many factors, most of which have to do with being busy living outside of the internet too.

Still, I was intrigued at finding the Lampstand Christian Forum, which existence I did not know yet. If I subscribe, I'll be easy to identify, since I always use the same user name on every forum I belong to.

My contribution to the present thread is a link to the Developping and Publishing a Web Site page of my site, www.savoiretcroire.ca (Knowing and Believing). The third paragraph (of five, as I write the present post) lists the only Christian Webmaster forums I have been able to identify so far on the Web.

Anyone of you know of Christian Webmaster Sites other than the ones listed there?
 
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How to start a Christian online discussion community

How to start a Christian Online Discussion Community

Online message boards and BBS systems can be a great way to connect people who share similar interests. By following a few easy steps, you can create a thriving online community which will provide you and your membership with many entertaining discussions.

Steps
  1. Choose a specific community topic. If you plan to manage the community yourself, pick something that you are knowledgable about and interested in. Because there are already so many online discussion forums available, it's best to serve a well-defined niche. For example, "Christian Webmasters" will probably work better than "Christian Community".
  2. Select a hosting package. If you have some webspace and a good bit of experience with web development, you can set up your own message board using a software package such as vBulletin. If you are unable to set up your own hosting, you can use one of the remotely hosted forum services such as EZboard, or Proboards.
  3. Create your forums (discussion areas). Ideally, you want 5-15 separate forums, each dealing with some aspect of your community topic. For example, you can have a "General Discussion" forum, a "Prayer" forum, a "Bible Study" forum, etc.
  4. Advertise your community. If you have some online friends with similar interests, send them a quick e-mail to let them know about your "grand opening." If you have a website, announce your new community to your visitors. Whatever you do, avoid "spamming" (advertising to strangers without permission). Spamming will ruin the reputation of your community before it has a chance to get started.
  5. Select moderators. Each separate discussion forum within your community should have its own moderator. The moderator keeps the discussions fresh by starting new topics and removing inappropriate content. Community users who are knowledgeable about the subject matter of the forum and willing to spend a few minutes a day helping the community grow will make good moderators.
  6. Manage the community. You and the team of moderators should agree on some basic rules of conduct (such as "no personal attacks"), and enforce them. Occassionally, you may need to ban a disruptive user from your community in order to prevent problems.
  7. Make strategic alliances. Exchange links with other communities with similar interests in order to grow your user base. As your community increases in size and activity, you will have more opportunities to create strategic partnerships with other websites.
Tips
  • Don't expect overnight success. It takes time to build a large and active membership. Keep at it, and the word will eventually get around.
  • Tailor your rules and standards to your subject matter. For example, a religious community will probably have much stricter rules than one about making prank phone calls. Your community standards should be neither too strict or too relaxed for your target audience.
  • Create a community atmosphere. You need to foster a sense of loyalty and "belonging" among your membership, or they will eventually go somewhere else. Games, contests, custom titles for users, and other "gimmicks" work well, but simple friendliness and respect are even better.
Warnings
  • If you choose to have someone host your forum for you they may force your forum members to view advertisements. This is the case with most free forum hosts such as invisionfree.com. You can usually remove the ads for a small fee. You can, however, sometimes find a free forum host without forced ads. One good example of a free forum host without ads is WebringAmerica - Free PHPBB3 Forum Hosting With No Ads!. You can usually find others by doing some digging on Google. Choosing a host without ads gives your forums a more professional look that your visitors will enjoy.
  • As a community administrator, be prepared to encounter some occassional harassment. Disruptive users are a sad fact of internet life, and many of them do not take kindly to being banned from the community. If you are highly sensitive to criticism, you may want to consider letting someone else run your community for you.
My Recommendations

Do your own research before you decide to invest into your community. These are some of my recommendations (not official, therefore choose wisely):

Slightly modified version of an existing article: How to Start an Online Discussion Community - wikiHow

Initial Author: James Curtis Hale .
Contributors: James Quirk , Krystle C. , Ben Rubenstein , Tom Viren , Acebrock and others.
All text shared under a Creative Commons License.
This post aims at providing additional input to step 6 in the above quote : «You and the team of moderators should agree on some basic rules of conduct (such as "no personal attacks"), and enforce them».

My reasearch for Christian Webmaster Forums led me to a Bizantine Orthodox Church Web Site which I found examplary in its statement of purpose, focus, rules, and rule implementation principles. Here is a link to the home page of that Web Site: OrthodoxChristianity.net. The entire article is worth reading in its entirety: Some Reflections on Managing an Orthodox Cristian Discussion Forum, by Anastasios Hudson, Oct 2, 2014. I provide the title in case it ever gets moved from the front page of their site. I found it interesting to read also because it encourages good practices as a simple forum participant.
 
I have a Wordpress blog as well. I understand one can turn those into forums too, though I haven't tried it yet. I sort of debate with myself between the advantages of owning and running a forum myself and contributing content and fellowship with other sites, even as part of an admin team.
Just yesterday I was scanning through some WordPress plugins that promise to extend the interactive functionalities of WordPress blogs, either by improving the Comment feature, or by providing Forum capabilities in various ways. The reviews however make me cautious, as some of these plugins are said to break your site.

I decided I would not make any such change until I have succeeded in setting up my web site locally, where I can experiment with new features, before implementing them live.
 

By Faith

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Thank you first for this thread, and for this post. I just became a member of TAZ (Admin Zone Forums), as I was searchin for a Christian Webmaster Forum.

I am also a member of a number of Christian Forums, and a forum for campers which I forgot to visit in a very long time now. Like someone said in a post higher up this thread, I too visit some of them more frequently than others, based on many factors, most of which have to do with being busy living outside of the internet too.

Still, I was intrigued at finding the Lampstand Christian Forum, which existence I did not know yet. If I subscribe, I'll be easy to identify, since I always use the same user name on every forum I belong to.

My contribution to the present thread is a link to the Developping and Publishing a Web Site page of my site, www.savoiretcroire.ca (Knowing and Believing). The third paragraph (of five, as I write the present post) lists the only Christian Webmaster forums I have been able to identify so far on the Web.

Anyone of you know of Christian Webmaster Sites other than the ones listed there?
visited your site. I like the faith approach in the complex way it presented it with the chart. A geeks understanding of faith came to mind. I set up a forum but am not promoting it yet. I have chat, shout box and even a music station. currently helping wife setting up her Word press forum and testing plugins on a sub domain (My blog) Not concerned about plugins breaking things as it's easy to just redo and set up again.

One guy was able to hack my wife's site and embed a ad for selling Viagra into her header. I hunted for that thing for hours, even deleted the plugin folder. I then figured He put it into the Word press instalation itself so I saved all the files with blog part on them and people sign up and replaced all the files and themes. Fixed it. Not sure how he got in there, but I changed the passwords.
 
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Thank you for what you say about my site www.savoiretcroire.ca.

There are some unbelivers who are not aware that their presuppositions are what blocks them from accepting God's truth. So the diagram you are referring to may help getting this point across.

Likewise, we Christians are not aware of some of what influences us in thinking the way we do about some issues. The diagram may also help getting that a little clearer.

For readers of this post who would like to view the diagram for themselves, you will find it with textual explanation amongst the English pages of www.savoiretcroire.ca --> Believing --> Knowing and Believing.
 

By Faith

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www.wolpub.org
Thank you for what you say about my site www.savoiretcroire.ca. There are some unbelivers who are not aware that their presuppositions are what blocks them from accepting God's truth. So the diagram you are referring to may help getting this point across. Likewise, we Christians are not aware of some of what influences us in thinking the way we do about some issues. The diagram may also help getting that a little clearer. For other readers of this post who would like to view the diagram for themselves, they will find it with textual explanation amongst the English pages of www.savoiretcroire.ca --> Believing --> Knowing and Believing.
My son is a programmer. He carries pens, flashlight, tablet, smart phone, knife, screwdrivers on him at all times.

He writes complex equations on his tub in the shower with those kids tub markers.

He spends hours combing programing books.

Most of what He explains needs to be graphed and the numbers behind it. Even his bible studies tend to get into code form.

To him, without the numbers and graphs, it could not possibly make sense to anyone. I have to remind him to speak English when he comes and visits. I just learned about interperters the other day. Not sure what I'll do with that. I hope it cleans dishes better.

Great site though, I read through several things. A bit technical for me, but very well laid out.

Blessings.
 
I have a Wordpress blog as well. I understand one can turn those into forums too, though I haven't tried it yet. I sort of debate with myself between the advantages of owning and running a forum myself and contributing content and fellowship with other sites, even as part of an admin team.
One factor to key-in to this type of decisison is one's ability to ensure the security of other people's posts. The very first forum I joined crashed a few months later, and that's how I learned from experience what I read reported by forum members in posts elsewhere: it's no fun at all to no longer have access to posts we wrote in any given forum.

So as much as I would like to add some form of interactivity to my own Web site, there are a number of things I need to make sure I understand first.
 

Fish Catcher Jim

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I have run several Christian groups in the past and I enjoyed it so very much. I am truly enjoying how a forum is set up and operates. I have been searching for a good forum host and have found some that sound kind of good but still have too many questions.

I know there are some really good free ones and tend to come with adds and some offer a premium package with no adds or 50,000 add free page visits etc.

Some require software to be loaded onto your computer and some do not and handle it all on their end. So this leaves me with some questions that I am not satisfied with the answers I find in the support forums of the possible host.

So here is where I am at.
For a while longer I will be using an android tablet.
For a while longert I will be with the limited data that I have now. We split 100 mb a night between two people.

This is why I am concerned with adds and the constant changing and loading of them. Data chewing up. I would have to go some place and borrow some wi fi if I have to load software on here.....

So I am looking for some tips and advice on picking a good host and less data usage.
I have seen some from 5 dollars to 10 dollars for add free and unlimited bandwidth.
OLI and ProphpBB: and proboard there was one cow something that has gone green but I lost the email.

I really want to do this so any help would be so thankful
Blessings
Jim
 
Hello Jim, Being from Canada, a friend of mine advised me to go with HostPapa. Another friend was with Register4Less.com. I began with the free package offered by HostPapa. Here is a link to their product page including prices. I only had to pay the dues for my domain name www.savoiretcroire.ca. I have been with them since May 2013, and so far upgraded my package twice. I came to realize that this gave me the most freedom to add what I want when I want in terms of disk space.
 
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Hello Jim, Being from Canada, a friend of mine advised me to go with HostPapa. Another friend was with Register4Less.com. I began with the free package offered by HostPapa. Here is a link to their product page including prices. I only had to pay the dues for my domain name www.savoiretcroire.ca. I have been with them since May 2013, and so far upgraded my package twice. I came to realize that this gave me the most freedom to add what I want when I want in terms of disk space.
ERRATA IN THE ABOVE QUOTED POST
INSTEAD OF : «I began with the free package offered by HostPapa»
I MEANT TO WRITE : «I began with the free package offered by Register4Less.com.
SO: The link to Register4Less product page was the right link since I want to promote R4L.

With by Register4Less.com I do not have to justify how much space I use for what purpose. If I want to keep large audio files on my site instead of using a free service such as utube or godtube, I just have to pay for whatever space I use and that's it. I'm not exactly sure of what goes on with other host providers, I just know I like the way R4L.com is organized.

That being said, my friend using HostPapa tells me he is very satisfied. The site he works on is a fairly large one too. So you just have to shop around, read what the host providers conditions of service and what they say about themselves.

In the long run, I'm not sure that «free» solutions are all that interesting. If you don't buy your own domain name, then you'll have to manage this when you change host and buy your own.

Hope these bits of my own thought on the subject can be useful to someone else.
 
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Fish Catcher Jim

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ERRATA IN THE ABOVE QUOTED POST
INSTEAD OF : «I began with the free package offered by HostPapa»
I MEANT TO WRITE : «I began with the free package offered by Register4Less.com.
SO: The link to Register4Less product page was the right link since I want to promote R4L.

With by Register4Less.com I do not have to justify how much space I use for what purpose. If I want to keep large audio files on my site instead of using a free service such as utube or godtube, I just have to pay for whatever space I use and that's it. I'm not exactly sure of what goes on with other host providers, I just know I like the way R4L.com is organized.

That being said, my friend using HostPapa tells me he is very satisfied. The site he works on is a fairly large one too. So you just have to shop around, read what the host providers conditions of service and what they say about themselves.

In the long run, I'm not sure that «free» solutions are all that interesting. If you don't buy your own domain name, then you'll have to manage this when you change host and buy your own.

Hope these bits of my own thought on the subject can be useful to someone else.


Thank You Daniel,
I will check into these and keep you posted in any way I go.
Thank You Again and have a wonderful blessed week
Jim