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Monk Development, Inc.
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Lenoir City, TN 37772

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Client Spotlight: Technical Volunteer Jim Stephan

(NOTE: St. Therese is in the website building process and has not launched their site with Ekklesia 360)

In an effort to hear from our current clients and share their story, we will be posting a series of client spotlight interviews. We have so many wonderful clients at MonkDev that use our products in ways to further their mission online, it's time their story is told! This is a post in this series.

I recently had the pleasure of asking Jim Stephan, a volunteer at Saint Therese of Carmel, a few questions about the website building process and his experience with MonkDev.

Jim is a volunteer and sees himself as the concept and vision guy, he definitely understands technology without writing code, but he’s more of a marketing person with emphasis on technology. While Jim doesn’t work directly for his church as a paid staff member, he has played a vital role in creating a concept for their new website. He took this concept, along with guidance and support from St Carmel’s priests and church staff, and turned that vision into a reality.

Let's see what Jim had to say. 

How would you define your title/position?

I wear many hats but I basically manage the website, but that is a loose description. There is going to be a webmaster and I will remain a volunteer.

How did you first hear about MonkDev or Ekklesia 360?

I initially found Ekklesia 360 through an Internet search, looking at reviews it came high up for the best church CMS solution.

When I started my research I went out into the church CMS market and tried to keep an open mind. There were several specific things I was looking for with our new website solution.

To me there are two different types of websites categories, there is one that I would call a calendar where you go to the website for event information and then there is another kind of a website where you are going out and promoting an expanded message, taking care of the parishioners, taking care of the church but also going out and promoting your mission to the world.

Our current website is serving us very well for providing basic information and communicating internally to the tribe, but I was looking for a website that went out and was more focused on getting our message out to the world, not solely focused on information.

What is your experience so far with MonkDev?

I have been very satisfied with MonkDev, you have everything we need. There are certain things that could be done better, but I’ve worked with software for so many years, that is something you’ll experience everywhere. In general, Ekklesia 360 is good.

Can you give me an overview of what your website building process has been like thus far?

We wanted our Priests to have the ability to mass broadcast live, among other things that we wanted changed, thus began our whole search. The research process took a while for us. After gathering information I gave a presentation to the people in charge and got them to buy into my recommendation of Ekklesia 360.

Then, I created a team that would create the content and editing for all of our ministries. So, we did that and that’s where we started. Then we ran into a roadblock of things not working due to internal communication. We need to restart and look at our internal structure of communication because we have such a big group. My team is about 15 people. We needed to go in and set up the processes, what is the communication flow going to look like? We had to set up a process to make sure we’re building this structure.

I had to stop and start from the ground up and build an organization communication plan. We’re also putting together a marketing team that can help every ministry we have with their marketing efforts. We have to have this along with our new beautiful website, they go hand-in-hand. 

We’re at a very good place now. We’re taking all the work, all the ministry work and we’re rebuilding their marketing plan, everything for them. We’re not just creating a new website and putting stuff on it. Because, what is the use of a beautiful website if you don’t have traffic? Or, what if you have a beautiful page that doesn’t communicate the right message? We know that you have 3-4 seconds to capture a person’s attention or you lose them.

From a technical standpoint, why did you decide to go with Ekklesia 360?

I really like the separation of the pages with the events. We can combine all the events from the church together and filter by ministries. That met the needs of our church and our communication.

I saw the tools that MonkDev has, I saw our needs and I could envision how they connected together.

Going out to the world, we can grow.

Are you planning to set rules in place for which team members can manage certain content in the CMS?

Yes, we do have different types of people. We have people who have specifics pages and ministries that they are in charge of. Then we have representatives from different ministries and have trained them to do the data entry for their ministry. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that they are in charge of the page. We will remain in charge of the design and managing the site. In short, we will always be there to help.

How has your experience been with the support team and talking to Jesse (MonkDev Customer Experience Manager)?

Jesse has been great. He always has a straight answer for me, which I love. I don’t need a half page of going around in circles. Tell me yes it does, or no it doesn’t. I just want to know the answer. 

My experience is very much a partnership. I want MonkDev to succeed because I want you to invest back into the product, you want us to succeed because we will recommend you to others. I have nothing but good things to say.

I am the type of person who loves the personal relationship, so since we’re lucky enough to live in San Diego, I’m looking forward to meeting for a drink with the team some day.

Would you recommend us to other churches? If so, why would you recommend us?

Well I definitely recommend the software. The software does what it needs to do very well.

People say that you shouldn’t be using CMS because it limits your capabilities and doesn’t allow for customization, this isn’t true with Monk. If you are a software engineer or high tech person, you can have a lot of the control of the things on your website.

Basically, I have two guys that are software engineers that are able to go in and change menus and change things that customize the template. It’s beautiful. What a great thing to get a template and customize it as you want. I love this about the software.

Any issues we’ve had with the software have been solved. I would recommend you, definitely.

 (NOTE: Jim was not compensated in any way for this interview.)

Learn More

If you are interested in learning how MonkDev or Ekklesia 360 can help your organization, feel free to contact us or call (877) 452-0015.

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