orange asian man

scattering ideas for the good of humanity

The City Innovated Church Tech Had a 10 Year Life Span — October 5, 2019

The City Innovated Church Tech Had a 10 Year Life Span

There once was a popular church in Seattle with lots of people and they built a digital platform called The City to engage churchgoers. That was 2006. And it was a beautiful vision—

The City is driven by a compelling vision emanating from Matthew 5:14.

Having recently left his job at Amazon.com to become a pastor in his church, Zack Hubert was wrestling with ways of harnessing technology to facilitate the growth of a rapidly self-organizing and expanding church. He was inspired to create the original concept for The City after this passage in the Bible that says, “a city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Since inception, we at The City have been driven to make it easier for churches to connect newcomers, build deeper community, equip leaders and unleash people to serve and make a lasting impact on their world with the Gospel.

The City has grown and is now being used by churches and organizations all over the world. As The City continues to grow, so does the vision, and we feel blessed to be along for the ride.

https://web.archive.org/web/20091123121845/http://www.onthecity.org/about/

The City Grew Larger and Larger

In November 2008, The City was bought up by Zondervan and grew its user base. A blog post briefly described the sale—

Zondervan, a world leader in Christian communications, has acquired The City, a propriety online community-building software program created by Seattle-based Mars Hill Church. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Developed over the past two years by Mars Hill pastor of technology, Zack Hubert, who spent eight years in management at Amazon.com, The City was created in response to the church’s need to improve communication, better engage with members, support small groups, build a stronger church community and free up administrative resources. Mars Hill launched The City earlier this year to create a dynamic, engaging interactive online community for its more than 7,000 members. Within two months of launch more than 85% of the church’s members had signed up and more than 75% visit the site every single day.

The City digital platform went from serving one church to hundreds of churches using the subscription cloud+based service. An article described its growth from 7,000 to 165,000 people using The City.

The City by Zondervan Enables Churches to Achieve their Mission through Robust Web Platform (Christian Newswire, October 2010)

Thousands of pastors today are seeking new engagement and organizational tools to further grow their ministries and build discipleship within their membership. Zondervan is helping churches of all sizes realize these goals by creating safe, open and fulfilling online environments through The City.


The City by Zondervan is an innovative web-based platform that is revolutionizing how churches communicate, organize ministries, build connections with members, and simplify organization, outreach and worship. The City’s comprehensive approach brings together everything from email, Facebook and Twitter to finance and administration all in one place.
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The City is currently used by more than 165,000 people and is effectively enabling church attendees to reach out to each other. During the month of September, more than 3.2 million emails were sent among members of The City, all without the risk of spam, phishing scams or email viruses.
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The City brings church to members beyond Sunday service by creating an online environment for church leadership and its congregation. It offers tools that help drive small-group management, empowering a church to achieve more effective discipleship among church attendees. It also helps leaders organize their ministries to enhance our communities and local culture.
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The City is now used in 12 countries around the world and has proven to be a valuable platform for both small and large churches. …

About The City

The City is a division of Zondervan and is located in Seattle. This innovative web-based platform is focused on empowering churches to realize their mission. The City enables churches to connect newcomers and regular congregants to meaningful community and discipleship, and uses social networking technology to help keep everyone in touch throughout the week, serving each other’s needs and sharing life together. The City also gives leaders powerful new ways to communicate to congregants and brings fresh insight to church administration, children’s ministry, and operational management.

3 Years Later, The City Gets a New Owner

In May 2011, Zondervan sold The City to ACS Technologies

Last Wednesday, ACS Technologies announced its acquisition of The City from Zondervan. This acquisition will allow ACS Technologies to combine The City’s innovative community and communication engagement tools with its vast portfolio of church office solutions.
The City is one of the most widely used church-focused social community with over 600 churches and over 200,000 people engaged nationwide. It was birthed by one of the country’s leading megachurches with an innovative spirit to serve the local church and to encourage community transformation from within a local church. The City allows churchgoers to engage with one another on their own terms, whether they’re scheduling events, sharing prayer requests or information, connecting for outreach, using a community calendar, giving, or keeping contact information accurate. The City has led the way in social community and communications innovation since 2008.

The City ran for years, a long run with ACS, from 2011 to 2018… it’s home page had several designs, like—

When The City’s Technology Was Obsolete and Replaced

By February 2019, with ACS’ help, everyone had moved out of The City into something called Realm. This FAQ explained the why—

Words of Farewell: “Thank you for your long-time commitment to authentic church community and The City. It has been an honor to support your ministry with these communication and relationship tools. We have been helping churches using The City move to Realm®, our next-generation solution that not only includes tools for engagement like The City had, but also offers full administration functionality and much more. …”

back when iBelieve.com closed in October 2000 — October 4, 2019

back when iBelieve.com closed in October 2000

One early Christian community on the internet was iBelieve.com, launched in June 2000. Their vision statement was:

About iBelieve.com
Our Vision: We seek to be the preferred internet gathering place for Christians worldwide to come, experience, and grow in their faith.

However, by October 20, 2000, iBelieve.com suspended operations due to lack of funding.

Dear iBelieve.com members and visitors,

Despite a tremendous launch and site traffic that ranks as the leading Christian community on the Internet, iBelieve.com has not been able to secure additional funding to continue to keep the site up, and we are forced to close our virtual doors effective immediately.
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As you know, iBelieve.com has worked hard to create the leading Christian site on the Internet – a place where believers of all denominations could come, experience and grow in their faith. With 550,000 members, more than 2 million unique visitors, and 60 ministry partners, we have consistently exceeded our business and ministry objectives…except one: raising additional funding. Like many Internet companies, we were unable to raise capital given the current market conditions, and we are left without options.

Our prayer is that God has used iBelieve.com, in some way, to touch your life. We hope you have been encouraged, challenged, informed, and entertained along the way. Thank you so much for the feedback and encouragement you have provided to us over the past months.

We’d like to end our time on the Internet the same way we started… by giving glory and praise to our great and awesome God who holds all of history and the most intimate details of our lives in the palm of his hand….

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Here are two great features you will recognize from ePrayer.org: Daily Devotional and Prayer Request System. …

May God bless you!!
The iBelieve.com Family

After closing its virtual doors, they shortened their notice in January 2001 to —

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Info about the Table Project Church App — September 20, 2017

Info about the Table Project Church App

The Table Project was a free church-based social network that had a good run from 2011-2016. Their own marketing had this description:

“The Table is a relational, online web application, custom-tailored for the church. Their purpose is to help churches engage their community, empower leaders and move people beyond the pews and into authentic, life-changing friendships.”

the-table-app-banner-wide.png

In May 2013, Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, acquired The Table (ht: Church Tech Today; Churchmag; CMS; Press Release). At that time, The Table had empowered more than 700 churches “to take community to the next level.” The church had ambitious plans for this church social network, as described here:

“… the leaders at Gateway began researching ways to merge spiritual learning, active pastoring and community with technology—around the same time The Table began working toward church community building. Now, the two are joining forces, each bringing unique strengths, to see the dream for church congregations to make connections and learn more about the Bible through The Table.”

When The Table was hitting its stride and gaining traction, it was serving over 7,000 churches in 62 countries, mobilized over 24,000 volunteers, and tracked over 2.3 million prayers prayed. Influential churches using The Table included Gateway Church (Southlake, Texas), Granger Community Church, Bethlehem Baptist Church, and Substance Church.

table-statistics

By September 2016, this tweet linked to an “Important Table Update” that most likely announced the shutdown of The Table. (Currently, unable to find an archive or cache of that announcement on the internet.)

2016-sep-update-table

In March 2017, Carlos asked a Table team member that replied: “the organization we sold it to shut it down”.

2017-mar-table-shutdown

When Josh asked in July 2017 about what happened to the Table Project, the reply was: “it was sold to Gateway Church a few years back and they have begun to shut down service at this point.”

2017-jul-table-shutdown

That’s all the information that is available on the internet we can find. If you know of other public chatter, please add a comment so we learn more.

History of ForMinistry.com — March 10, 2016

History of ForMinistry.com

Curious about the history of ForMinistry? It was a notable initiative that provided free church websites in the 199-Year History of Innovative Bible Outreach by American Bible Society: “Launched ForMinistry.com, a service that provided websites at no cost to churches and ministries to encourage them to lend their voice on the Internet

And, on a personal note, it was a program for which I worked for about 6 years myself. It closed its doors and went offline in November 2013.

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Looking for Information about Monvee — March 5, 2016