RSS For Your Church

March 27, 2007 by

So today, I was thinking to myself, “Self, those guys over at the Barna Group have some pretty neat statistics, why don’t you subscribe to their RSS feed?”


I searched. And I searched. And I searched. Almost frantically, in fact. Where was the little orange button with the white circly things? You know, this one: 2007_03_23feedicon.jpg

Wait, you don’t know? It’s probably one of the most under-utilized technologies by churches today. Let’s be honest. People like me won’t visit your site without that button. As always, Wikipedia does a great job of explaining what RSS is.

Essentially, when you set up a feed reader (aka aggregator), it checks the sites you subscribe to for updates, and automatically loads them so you can read through them–quickly and easily. Personally, I use Google Reader. But there are services from Yahoo, Bloglines and many more.

After subscribing to feeds, you go to your aggregator’s home page, and you’re presented with a handy list of new articles from everyone you subscribe to. I might have 25 new items, 7 from CNN, 2 from Church Marketing Sucks, 8 from ESPN, 5 from Lifehacker and 3 from Church Relevance. Thus, I never have to visit these pages to find out what’s new!

So what could RSS do for your church?

  • Announce Events
  • Announce Prayer Requests
  • Send Out Devotions
  • Weekly News Updates
  • Series Announcements
  • Encouraging Messages
  • Anything At All!

There you go, you received permission. Go talk to your church tech guy, and get on it!

Post By:

Joshua Cody

Josh Cody served as our associate editor for several years before moving on to bigger things. Like Texas. These days he lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, and you can find him online or on Twitter when he's not wrestling code.
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8 Responses to “RSS For Your Church”

  • David Russell
    March 27, 2007

    I think it’s also important for churches to get RSS working dynamically with the content of the site. I’ve learned that manually updated RSS feeds are great if you’ve got a web guy who knows to maintain them. If the situation is different, with perhaps administrative assistants updating the site in a content management system, you’ll want to make sure that system does the work for them.
    You’re so right about RSS. It’s simple, flexible, powerful and it’s a no-brainer. :)

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  • Pastor Chris
    March 27, 2007

    I’ve expereinced this frustration too many times. I’m visiting blogs, reading them, and want to subscribe (i’ve learned quickly).
    Its very simple to subscribe with a button thingy. What is not simple is when i hit the subscribe button and get a website full of code. What do I do with that!
    Pastor Chris

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  • David
    March 27, 2007

    The Barna group of course has an email update which is how most people follow them. So you can use an email subscription within bloglines to follow their updates in your RSS reader.
    See the bloglines FAQ

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  • Ron
    March 27, 2007

    I had the same experience searching for a feed button with Barna. So I settled for another option and signed up for their email newsletter. Too bad it’s not in my Google newsreader. I’ll look into Bloglines & see if that will help.

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  • anthony
    March 28, 2007

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  • Sarah
    April 9, 2007

    RSS for churches… who would’ve thunk it:)

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  • Jeff Patterson
    September 6, 2007

    Pretty late to this discussion, but seeking to influence my church this direction, as the younger crowd appreciates content on the website, and not just a cool-looking dynamic collage of images but without any relevant or updated content (our is neither cool-looking or updated). Lending a hand.
    Bring on the content and the RSS!

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  • David
    November 7, 2007

    How can you do these things? I wrote an article on my software company’s website: The best thing is, you might be able to do this without any programming at all.

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