Where the church and technology cross is of great interest to me. Find out more in this category.

Setting up OpenVPN on pfsense - Server Setup

Setting up OpenVPN on a pfSense firewall isn't one of those real obvious tasks, but can be accomplished easily enough with the proper instructions. I setup the VPN to depend on a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). It would be easier to just use a pre-shared key, but less secure. For a more exhaustive, but slightly out-of-date tutorial, check out this pdf.

Free Drupal 6 Themes for Churches

I recently went through all of Drupal 6 contrib themes looking for which ones I could see myself building into a church site for churches on a budget. I thought I'd publish my list. Partially, it's so I don't have to do that all over again, but also so others can check it out and see if they might find something that would fit them well. Click on the thumbnail to see the drupal project page for these themes. Some depend on Fusion and Skinr to make the theme really work.

Case Study: A Small Non-profit Infrastructure Rebuild

At a small non-profit I consult with, we were able to take an office in the depths of chaos and confusion due to an unstable and unreliable technology foundation and rebuild it into a productive and flexible environment based on simple technology that repaid itself in under a year. The benefits to productivity and morale were also very tangible, though not measurable in financial terms.

A Church Drupal Installation Profile

I've been thinking an Installation Profile for churches would not only be helpful to me, but also many others so I spent some time yesterday playing around with the idea and made some progress. I haven't figured everything out, but I started with the phpedu_profile-6.x-1.1-beta1. (As you can see my efforts are directed at Drupal 6.) phpedu_profile was far more complicated than I expect to need so I cut out a lot, most of it even. Then I exported content types from a church site I've done and used their code to import. I also have views, but haven't yet figured out how to import them.

Churches and Drupal

Churches are increasingly turning to Drupal for their websites. Sometimes built by web guys who are related to the church, sometimes built by pastors who see the need and then sometimes built by people with experience dealing with Drupal. I'd be glad to share with you how Drupal can make your church website sing. A list of other churches and religious organizations using Drupal for their websites can be found here.

Since elementary school, I've had the opinion that you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. I would watch shoes as I stood in the lunch line. Now I say you can tell a lot about a church by their website. I rejected this for awhile, but our latest church search simply confirmed it for me despite my desire not to believe it.

You may enjoy flipping through some and learning about the churches based on the information on the site, the quality of the writing, the quality of the design and the overall care taken in developing the site. Also, watch for who the audience of the website is. This will tell you a lot about who this church serves best. Some churches are better at discipleship and strengthening Christians. Others are stronger in evangelism and reaching outside their walls. Enjoy this casual study, should you choose to accept it!

Website Demo: "Our Mission"

It can be hard to visualize potential. I've created this video demo as a way to show what a basic website looks like, including a brief look under the hood. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Website Demo: "Our Mission" from Josiah Ritchie on Vimeo.

Collaborative Entertainment and the Church

Our world is growing more actively creative. The younger generations growing up familiar with the tools that technology provides are excited about using them in new and interesting ways to express themselves. Participation in the entertainment is becoming a key part of entertainment. Television is going to be forced to adapt, but the church must also. With this high level of participation come the expectation of others to participate. How is your church going to participate in a collaborative entertainment to God's glory?

Here's a great video example of what participation means to the rising generation and the opportunity to share truth from the Bible in the middle of it.

Getting Started

So it appears that this contracting thing will be kicking off real soon. I enter the realm of IT contracting with confidence in my technical and support skills; however, I am a bit unsure of my business skills. I suppose this is how all new contractors feel.

As this is the path God has given, I'm confident that He will provide for and teach me along the way. May his wisdom go with each action taken in this endeavor.