The Zion Church Website

After a marathon creative and development session that stretched into the wee hours of last night, we launched a completely new and revamped website for Zion Church earlier today.

I suppose that, from a certain perspective, redesigning and relaunching the website so soon after the church burned down might seem like an odd thing to do. However, more than ever, the people of Zion needed an easy, centralized way to get information about upcoming events (including where we’re meeting on Sunday mornings) and needs within the church. And since many of Lincoln’s eyes are on us right now, due to the situation, a central place where people, be they media personnel or simply concerned citizens, can go and get “official” news, also seemed like a good idea.

But there’s another reason, one that’s just important. It’s important that we know who we are, where we came from, and what we believe. The loss of our lovely building was certainly a blow. But one good thing that can come out of the loss is that we are more focused than before on seeking out what’s truly important. And the hope is that the website can be a vehicle for that.

If you peruse through the site, you’ll see that it’s a bit on the empty side, information-wise. Much of that was due to the “scramble mode” we were in as we put things together. However, that will soon change.

We’re in the process of gathering all manner of content, all with the hope of allowing Zion Church to tell its story. It’s a story that is certainly marked with loss and sadness right now, but one that is also full of hope and faith, a story that hopefully points people to the Great Story — the gospel of Christ. We want to create an archive of our memories, our triumphs, our hopes, and our losses. We want to remember the past and respect those who came before us in the Faith. And though we may not have a building, we want to ensure that that which took place within the building isn’t lost along with the rest of the rubble.

So take a look at the site, and if you have something you could contribute, please let us know.

Okay, now onto the geeky stuff; you knew it was coming…

The design you currently see wasn’t the original. Originally, the design I had was much darker, taking its color cues from the bricks that made up the old building. However, it was impossible to read unless you had a nice, bright display like my iMac’s. And so the switch to the present multi-tone scheme. And due to the fast turnaround time required, the design isn’t finished. I look at it, and I see plenty of little elements that still need to be added, but all in good time.

Not surprisingly, the new site is running on ExpressionEngine. ExpressionEngine’s flexibility will be of a great blessing in the coming days, as we’re still in the process of sorting things out and figuring out how the site needs to be structured. In many ways, we did the website all wrong — but given the situation, that was unavoidable. And ExpressionEngine won’t penalize us for that.

The site also uses Todd Dominey’s uber-cool SlideShowPro for the homepage’s slideshow. We wanted visitors to the site to quickly get the full impact of what happened to Zion Church as soon as they saw the homepage, hence the slideshow, which contains photos culled from various blogs and Flickr accounts. SlideShowPro and ExpressionEngine play very nicely together, and the result is something that’s very simple and gorgeous (gotta love Dominey’s kung fu), as well as flexible and quickly updatable.

I have to say, I’m very pleased with how things came out, especially considering the quick turnaround. Of course, I wish it would’ve been under different circumstances, but ah well.