Here's the presentation I'm doing for the Florida-Georgia District LCMS. If your district needs someone to discuss websites or technology, feel free to contact me. The book can be useful to help with a church website and is a companion to the free tech tools presentation.

The full text of the presentation follows for search engine purposes only:

Totally Free Tech Tools for Churches
Getting Way More Than What You Pay For

Why Free?
Free means it’s not part of your budget
Tools are often as good as paid services
You probably don’t need more than the free version
Experiment and buy (upgrade) if it’s right for you
Often more exposure (Facebook or Youtube)
Open Source mindset
It’s cheap

Why Tech Tools? (These Are Factors in Church Growth)
Good leadership
A clear mission and purpose
Willingness to self-reflect, to change and adapt according to context
Involvement of lay members
Being intentional in prioritising growth
Being intentional in chosen style of worship
Being intentional in nurturing disciples


The Catch
Training and implementation
Identity and email
When it goes paid
When it goes belly up
Restrictions (part of upsell)

Our List
Google Calendar
Google Maps
Google Suite (Drive/Docs/Slides/Sheets/Forms)
Survey Monkey (or similar)
Groupme (or similar)
Newsletter (or website add-ons)
Images - Gimp, Tiny PNG, Google Photos, and Flickr
Video - Lightworks and Windows Movie Maker
CMS Websites

Obvious Tools - Facebook
The Good
Timely photos and updates
A lot of exposure
Good format for referring to official website (Twitter, too)
Fast and easy

Obvious Tools - Facebook
The Bad
Not easy to find posts = not good as a website
It’s based on advertising, so you are helping Facebook target its audience
Audience has short attention span
Not every single person uses it (really)
Unfriends and dislikes
Privacy concerns
Exposure is immediate but not lasting

Obvious Tools - Facebook
Embed Facebook feed on your website
Write short intros (on Facebook) linked to articles on your website
Direct people from Facebook to your website and church
Avoid using it as an official homepage, calendar, or photo album
Avoid entering into Facebook debates (unless that’s what the church wants)
Be careful what you like

Obvious Tools - Youtube
The Good
Timely photos and updates
A lot of exposure
Good format for referring to official website (links work)
Can be fast and easy
Better than hosting large video files, especially if no one ever sees them
Options for unlisted videos = more privacy

Obvious Tools - Youtube
The Bad
It’s based on advertising, so you are helping Youtube target its audience
Limited editing capabilities
Copyright concerns (Facebook Live ignores this)
Stats don’t lie - most people aren’t watching
Youtube pushes people to other, more viewed, content

Obvious Tools - Youtube
Embed on your website
Write short descriptions
Use the keywords
Direct people from Youtube to your website and church
Sermons (even if audio-only)
More subscribers = more potential to be seen

Obvious Tools - Google Calendar
The Good
Edit anywhere
Repeated events
Simple for novices
Others can add your calendar
Can still print pdf

Obvious Tools - Google Calendar
The Bad
Tricky to embed on website (initially)
One more update
Printing what you want can be a challenge

Obvious Tools - Google Calendar
Embed on your website
Encourage others to sync with it
Separate church, school, child care, etc., into different categories (colors)
Do not use it as a replacement for website articles about events--it’s really just a nice calendar of events

Obvious Tools - Google Maps
The Good
The most exposure, as it’s linked to searches on Google
People can find your church, even if it’s hard to find
Relevant information and photos
70% use Google Maps

Obvious Tools - Google Maps
The Bad
Star-ratings are important and neglected
Photos are often done by fly-by local guides, so no people or interior shots
This is the first click for most people, before your official website

Obvious Tools - Google Maps
Claim the church
Add photos
Encourage reviews
Add link to official website
Let Google direct people to you

Obvious Tools - Google Suite
The Good
Does most of what Office can do
Collaboration amongst staff from anywhere
Links from website to online documents
When documents are edited, those edits are live immediately
Gmail can be linked to your domain or used as a personal emailer to avoid hosting issues and SPAM problems

Obvious Tools - Google Suite
The Bad
A hassle to learn for those who like Office
Sharing settings can get confusing, and people using Android need to be signed into correct account
Conversion of old Office files (to edit) not always perfect
If folders are not set up properly, the whole system becomes confusing very quickly, and files are hard to find
Add-ons are mostly old and never supported
Some cool features (forms) are way too advanced for most users
Google Sites is not a replacement for a good website

Obvious Tools - Google Suite
Most important: set up a shared folder that everyone adds to their own drive, and subfolders within that main folder
Make documents public on the web for others to see, and then link to those docs
Admit that it’s not the best tool for every purpose and that you’re not going to try to do too much with it

Obvious Tools - Website
Check out the link to my website presentation
The website is a great place to put all the other free tools together

Other Tools - Survey Monkey
The Good
Get opinions from those who attend church
Make informed decisions
Avoid decisions that cause head-shaking
Others will feel they have a voice, especially those who do not want to speak up at voters meetings

Other Tools - Survey Monkey
The Bad
We don’t always want to know (can’t handle the truth)
Never 100% participation
Popular opinion isn’t always right

Other Tools - Survey Monkey
Great for minor decisions that could impact the congregation in ways that might not be seen by a small group of decision-makers
Should we get screens? Where should the band set up? Is the lighting OK? How’s the A/C? Do we need a Saturday night service?
It even works AFTER the decision was made in order to inform next steps or solicit new ideas to improve
Keep the surveys short and targeted, and only ask for write-in answers if you’re prepared to read and respond to those concerns
Validate surveys with explanations about decisions

Other Tools - GroupMe
The Good
Sends messages as either a text or as part of an app
Instant communication with a large group - email and texting have limits
The ability to coordinate quickly
The ability to respond

Other Tools - GroupMe
The Bad
Can devolve into forum-like discussions
Can have way too many posts
Seems cold
One more form of communication not everyone will use--is it THE one?
Hard to know when someone sends a PM
Everyone has to respond once to stay in group
Special permissions needed for 200+ members

Other Tools - GroupMe
Church to all members = simple
Ministry leaders, school, child care, and more - well suited to smaller groups
Whether Group Me, another app, email, texting, or Twitter/Facebook, it’s probably best to stick with as few apps as possible across all levels. Some are more for school (Remind, Bloomz), all can be accessed on smart phones, and any can get annoying, especially if the organization uses several
Reminders received immediately, as long as everyone subscribes
Remind all users of the purpose


Other Tools - Newsletters
The Good
Saves on printing or mailing
Mailchimp (currently) offers “Up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month” - small churches should jump on this
You own and control email list if it’s on your own website (as opposed to online service)
Start small (free) and upgrade if necessary

Other Tools - Newsletters
The Bad
When sent from your own website, may be seen as spam
Must be mailed in intervals (own website)
Must know CanSPAM rules (own website)
Fewer analytics (free versions or own website)
Can be more complicated than online tools (own website)
Initial setup costs $200 - $1000 if hiring web designer -- Luthernet can do this, but we can’t really beat the free version of MailChimp if that suits your needs
Have to be concerned with any service that offers free usage and collects emails

Other Tools - Newsletters
Wordpress - many free add-ons available to download
Joomla - ACYMailing and JNews (others available but not tested)
Some paid websites may have free options for limited recipients, but this is a common upsell with these types of inexpensive websites (like Wix)
Weekly news recap; most should also appear on website
More personal details that you don’t want on the website (prayer requests, maybe)


Other Tools - Images
The Good
GIMP = Professional photo editing, logos
TinyPNG = resize for websites
Google Photos or Flickr for albums (automatic uploads)
Many free apps or downloads to alter, crop, and fix images


Other Tools - Images
The Bad
Difficult to learn, but tips are online (GIMP)
Time-consuming (all)
None of these tools allow you to create a usable, embedded image gallery on your website (on their own), but online image storage allows albums to be shared and linked

Other Tools - Images
Use these tools to make your photos look more professional and speed up your website by resizing for the internet
Your website should have some images independent of social media sharing
For large albums and archiving, upload to Google Images or Flickr and link to a shared album from website
For a few images here and there, Facebook works (and it might be the best choice for sharing for some churches)
Choose the right program or app for the right use

Other Tools - Video
The Good
Better than any other format for showing people your church
Editing a video makes it appear more professional than posting unedited clips (Lightworks and even Windows Movie Maker)
New Youtube editing tools?


Other Tools - Video
The Bad
Difficult to learn, but tips are online (Lightworks)
VERY time-consuming (all)
Without care, results can be frustrating
Some people are camera shy; others are hams


Other Tools - Videos
Simple promotional videos
Sermons or full services

Other Freebies -
Old Electronics - Phones
My old Motorola G can stream video on wifi even though it’s not connected to a cell network.
It can also take photos that can be uploaded immediately to Google Photos, Flickr, or Facebook. Keep one in multiple areas or several in the church office, charged and ready to use.
Old phones are perfect as voice (mp3) recorders for sermons. Like tape recorders in lecture halls.

Other Freebies -
Old Electronics - Computers
Computers - Old computers can be given new life by installing a new operating system. I have three decade-old laptops running Linux (Ubuntu)
These can play loops of Google Slides presentations or photo galleries without much difficulty
Use in welcome area as-is or hooked up to cheapo television ($250) as a monitor - don’t waste money on a dedicated computer monitor
Or run it as a kiosk


Other Freebies -
Old Electronics - Cameras

Sometimes, you’re better off with an old camera, one that can take smaller photos and video, and that isn’t someone’s personal device. Our church in WI bought a $1200 video camera that blew through SD cards at a rate of 1gb per minute, so it was not used at full HD, which made a $1200 video camera the same as one I would have donated for free.
Smaller photos are easier to add to the website - sometimes no editing. I have a 2005 video camera that takes perfect website-sized photos (under 100kb) on an sd card.
Use digital still cameras or even old phone cameras to take digital photos of archived 35mm or slides. Faster than scanners. Even framed wall photos.
Upload to a desktop and backup to Google Photos and Flickr

Other Freebies -
Old Electronics - Cables
Computer and A/V cables can be costly, but they can be re-used for many years, so keep them around
Sometimes, a wired mic works better than wireless. Or, maybe that’s always.
A wired computer connection is still faster than wi-fi, so use those ethernet cables to save some bandwidth
If you use older video equipment, an older cable can often make the connection directly to a computer, saving time
At last count, I have about 100 old cables in the house, some of which I just added to my wife’s classroom to get her monitor and projector to work better. Just ask.

Other Freebies -
Most people who attend your church own something that could be used by the church, and are willing to give it away or lend it out
Many people have skills that could be useful in implementing free tech tools, particularly young people who are not always engaged at church
You can’t come up with all the ideas for what might work for your church on your own, and this guide is just a starting point
People will make mistakes when it comes to technology, but differing opinions might help to avoid the most expensive mistakes, or stop the problems from spiraling out of control