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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

A New Resource for Alabama Baptistscomment (0)

January 6, 2005

By Bob Terry


As 2005 begins, The Alabama Baptist is proud to announce the completion of the first phase of our ever-growing presence on the World Wide Web. Now all of the missions information, all of the how-to-articles, all of the personal help material, all of the resources for church work, all of the news and inspiration published in The Alabama Baptist for the past five years is at your fingertips. It is all available at www.thealabamabaptist.org.
   
About 18 months ago the board of directors made a decision to change the state Baptist paper’s Web presence. Instead of focusing on daily updates of the latest news, the Web site concentrates on being a resource for Baptists.
   
Now we offer study and research opportunities as well as current news and information.
   
When you click on www.thealabamabaptist.org and land on our home page (the first page you see), the navigation bar allows you to select material by demographics, by function or by missions interest. If you want to see articles pertaining to youth,  simply select youth from the pull-down menu of choices, and you will be taken to a page featuring all the stories about youth printed in The Alabama Baptist in the past five years.
   
If you want articles about the role of lay leaders in the church or stories about pastors or other staff members, you select the appropriate category from the pull-down menu and you are taken to the page devoted to that topic.
   
Missions news is divided into three categories — Alabama, North America and international. Again, you simply select the area of interest, click and find all the stories of the past five years for that topic.
   
You can be more specific. The key word search feature allows you to type in a key word and find all the articles dealing with the subject or country. By typing in Iraq, for example, you will find all the articles about Iraq published in the last five years. This is a great feature for mission studies.
   
The life issues portion of the navigation bar responds more like a table of contents than a listing. If you click on health care, for example, you are taken to a section offering topics ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to healthy eating. The life issues section is large with topics ranging from the Building God’s House series to entertainment to end of life issues and each issue has subsections.
   
Another important part of www.thealabamabaptist.org is the Resource Directory. Many of the advertisers in the state Baptist paper also promote their products and services in the Resource Directory. These business partners can be found by topic or alphabetically.
   
Church buses is only one category in the Resource Directory. I clicked on that entry and found three companies that offer church buses or vans.
   
By clicking on each of the three companies, I was able to learn about the company and to see what kind of buses and vans were available. I even looked at pictures and read descriptions of each vehicle.
   
In a matter of minutes, without leaving my chair, I knew what these companies offered.
   
The same is true for church architects, church sound systems and much, much more.
   
The Resource Directory continues to grow and promises to be a valuable tool for Alabama Baptists seeking products and services for themselves and for their churches.
   
There are other valuable features on the Web site. Frequently stories in the state Baptist paper will refer readers to the Web site for more information.
   
On the home page of the Web site is a logo marking all the “for more information” stories. By clicking on the logo, you find the list of stories from which to select additional information.
   
The Alabama Baptist Online also links to most of the Web sites for Alabama and Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) entities. There are also links to other Baptist Web sites in the United States and around the world.
   
You can even look up the Web site of a particular Baptist church or look for all the churches in an area through our link to the SBC Church Search Directory.
   
Of course there is information about The Alabama Baptist, our history and our staff. There is information about our Local Edition Service whereby any Baptist church in the state can have its local information printed on the back page of the state Baptist paper and mailed to the resident families of that particular congregation.
   
You will find important Statements of Faith used by Baptists and evangelism articles from the “Want to Know God?” column. And more is on the way. The goal is to continue making the Web site more useful and inviting.
   
Use of the Web site is growing. More than 50,000 visitors come to www.thealabamabaptist.org every month. The staff is excited because reports indicate 300­–400 new visitors every week.
   
The print edition of the state Baptist paper does not compete with the online edition. The two complement each other. They serve different purposes, and both can be helpful to Alabama Baptists.
   
We hope you will continue reading the state Baptist paper every week, and we hope those who use computers regularly will visit our Web site. Whether you are seeking the latest news or a story you misplaced or a service offered by a business partner, we believe you will find www.thealabamabaptist.org a helpful resource.
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