On Wednesday, I encouraged all churches to get a domain name, whether or not they have current plans for a website. Now you may be wondering, “So where do we get a domain name?”

There are many places. My experience is limited to Network Solutions, Aplus.net, and Yahoo. Yahoo! was extremely frustrating, Aplus not so much. But I’ve transferred all UB domains to Network Solutions.

Network Solutions makes it easy to configure domains to use with websites hosted by other service providers. We have domains scattered among several providers, and have never had trouble configuring things through Network Solutions.

  • UB.org and UBMissions.com are hosted on the Huntington University system (with the server in my office).
  • Ubonline.org (home of the UB News page) is hosted by Aplus.net.
  • Bluehost.com hosts our atmychurch.com and healthyministryresources.com websites.

GoDaddy.com is the largest domain registrar; Tucows.com is also popular. I’m sticking with Network Solutions (which is a bit pricier) for the UB accounts, because I’ve had such good experience.

If you open an account with an internet service provider (Bluehost, Aplus, GoDaddy–there are scores of them), you often get a free domain name (at least for a year). But make sure the account is in the church’s name (not the name of a staff member or layperson). Make sure the church controls the name.

To search for available names, go to the homepage of Network Solutions or GoDaddy.

What advice or experience can you share?

Your church needs a domain name.

  • The potential domain names for your church decline every day. Unless your church has an unusual name, or you add “ub” to the end, you’ll probably have trouble finding an appropriate name. So get on it now.
  • When my church, Anchor Community Church, started a website in 2002, we had a terrible time finding a good domain name. Most any name containing “Anchor” was already taken, and that was six years ago. We finally settled on “Anchorpeople.org.”
  • Domain names are bargain-priced real estate on the internet. Prices vary, but $20 a year might do it.
  • Once a name is gone, it’s gone. Unless somebody forgets to renew it somewhere down the road (in which case, somebody else will probably grab it first).

You don’t need a website to have a domain name.

  • Even if you have no immediate plans to create a website, I recommend obtaining a domain name. Set it on the shelf until you need it.
  • The national office owns 37 domain names, most of which aren’t being used. We’re just saving them for possible future needs, and don’t want anyone else to own them (like unitedbrethren.com, ubchurches.us, ubchildren.org, and ubusa.org).
  • If you have an internet service provider, you can possibly use your domain name for email even if you don’t have a website.

To search for available names, go to the homepage of Network Solutions or GoDaddy.

What advice or experience can you share?

family_500.jpg
A few days ago, Jeff Bleijerveld talked about “crossroad cities,” a concept that fascinates me. He says he’s got a lot more to unpack on that subject.

Fort Wayne, like so many American cities, has some crossroads qualities. We’ve got the largest population of Burmese outside of Myanmar, plus a lot of immigrants from Bosnia and Darfur. And yet, they remain somewhat invisible to me. I don’t know where to find them.

Last Saturday, I attended the dedication of a Habitat for Humanity home that my church, Anchor, along with three local Presbyterian churches, funded and built. The keys were handed over to a Muslim family (seven kids!) from Somalia. That’s them in the photo, along with some other folks from Somalia. This family spent 13 years in refugee camps before making it to the States four years ago. The husband and wife, and I assume the kids as well, now speak English very well.

During the ceremony, two young men, immigrants from Ethiopia, expressed their appreciation to us for helping their “brothers and sisters” from Africa. Very cool.

So we got a touch of the crossroads thing. In building this home, they saw the best of Christianity, and maybe some seeds were planted.

In case you’re wondering:

  • UB.org is the official, flagship website of the US National Conference. Anything you want to know about the UB church you can probably find there. Use the search box on the homepage.
  • UBMissions.com is the official website for Global Ministries.
  • HealthyMinistryResources.com is the website for the national office only.

An email was sent out yesterday afternoon to the UB constituent list, which consists of 1070 addresses. It gives information about current work trips, our newest missionary, and other things.

How about forwarding it to your church’s email list, with a note inviting parishioners to subscribe on their own? The email includes a link they can use to subscribe. There might be other people in your church interested in receiving these emails.

Scioto Youth camp kicks off today with senior high camp. The camp, located near Junction City, Ohio, is a free summer camp for children of all ages. It is operated and maintained primarily by dedicated volunteers from UB churches in southern Ohio.

There are four weeks of summer camp this year, ending with Primary Camp July 13-19. Finances are tighter, now that they no longer receive $10,000 a year from the conference.

The land was donated by Rev. and Mrs. Herbert Householder, with the intention that it always be free for any kid wanting to attend. That vision remains alive. Many kids over the years have found Christ at Scioto.

Huntington University’s summer “Godspell” troupe kicked off their summer tour with a performance in Huntington on June 8. People around the Healthy Ministry Office gave it rave reviews, noting especially the strength of the vocals. The group is headed east this weekend, with a performance tonight at Atlantic Avenue UB church in Franklin, Pa., and then at Salem UB in Chambersburg, Pa., on Sunday (both at 7 p.m.). Check the schedule for a performance near you.

This is the last Friday, for a while, that the Healthy Ministry Resources office will be open. For the rest of the summer, we’re going to a four-day schedule, with ten-hour days. 

Hours: 7 a.m. — 5:30 p.m., Monday – Thursday
Dates: June 16 — August 29

We traditionally leave at 1 p.m. on Fridays during the summer, tacking an extra half-hour onto each other day. But with gas prices so high, it didn’t make sense asking half of our workers, who drive 20-40 miles one-way, to come to the office for a half-day of work. So we’ll see if we can put up with each other for ten hours at a shot. 

NCPlanning_500.jpg

The planning committee (l-r): Nate Perry, Steve Dennie, Josh Greenfield, Heather Umbaugh, Chris Kuntz, Amy Pennington, Ron Ramsey, E. J. Ramsey, Donna Hollopeter, Opal Sherman, Marci Hammel, Cathy Reich.

The 2009 National Conference will return to Saw Mill Creek Resort (Huron, Ohio), scene of the 2007 US National Conference. Last weekend, an extended version of the planning team (above) met at Saw Mill Creek to continue the planning they’ve been doing for the past nine months.

The date: June 4-7, 2009. That’s Thursday through Sunday morning. We’ll follow pretty much the same schedule we did in 2007.

The location: People liked the general location, northern Ohio, according to the evaluations. It made a good mid-point for the bulk of our people (Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, the Virginias). We looked at various venues large enough to accommodate 900-plus people, and Saw Mill Creek floated to the top of the list.

Two things to know:

  • Saturday will feature a “missionary homecoming.” Many currently-serving UB missionaries will be brought back for what promises to be an amazing day.
  • We intentionally minimized conference business in 2007. But next year, we’ll need to spend more time in this way, and will devote all of Friday to conference business. It will include election of a new bishop.

We’ll get you more information as plans come together. But for now, get June 4-7 on your calendar and begin talking to people in your church about attending. By year’s end, you’ll need to identify persons to represent your church as lay delegate(s).