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Jan
16

How a Church Could Use Google To Host Its Calendar Online for Free

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Thumbing through Google’s many free services, I started checking out the features for their free Google Calendar (which I’m starting to use for all my personal and business calendaring instead of Outlook’s Calendars).

Anyway, here’s a tutorial for using Google Calendar to host your church’s calendars online for free.

Note: This is not a solution for everyone and would probably not work for a large church. But I thought I’d throw it out there though for those church who are cash-strapped and want an easy way to post a calendar online. My preference, which I use for my church’s calendars, is My Church Events for about $60 a year.

Here are the steps to publishing your Google Calendar on your website:

1. Log into your Google account and click on “Calendars.” It’s probably obvious now that if you don’t have a free Google account, you oughta to get one. You’ll be glad you did.

2. In Calendars, click on “Manage Calendars” (bottom of left column) and “Create a New Calendar.” Since I use Google Calendars for my personal calendar, I want that to remain private, but for this one, I selected to make it viewable to the “public.” I named my “Sample Church Calendar.”

3. Boom! You’ve got your calendar. Now you’ll need to go add events. I added our Sunday morning worship services as a sample and set it to “repeat” and “repeat weekly.”

Start with all your reoccuring events and activities first. Then later, after you’ve put it on your website, you can add individuals events as they come.

NOW … how do you put this new calendar on your website?

Here’s how …

1. Now that you’ve made your calendar, click on “Manage Calendars” again and then your church calendar, in my case “Sample Church Calendar.”

2. Scroll down and look for “Calendar Address” then the baby blue graphic beside it labeled “HTML.” Click on the “HTML” icon. This will pop up a window ….

3. In the popup window, you could simply click OK, but to get the HTML code for your church website, click the link labeled “Use our configuration tool to generate the HTML you need.”

4. Fill out that information, then copy the code provided in the window at the bottom and paste it in a web page on your church website.

5. Final step — share it with others. You’re done!

BONUS FEATURES:

1. Google Calendar also provides a neat little button that you could put in email signatures or on different pages without rendering the entire calendar. It looks like this:

Access this by clicking on your calendar, then the “Share This Calendar” tab.

2. If you notice on my calendar or yours, people can also “subscribe” to your calendar too.

SUPPORT DOCUMENTS:

Here are some helpful links to supplement this quick tutorial.

See also my post on 20 Free Web Tools and How Churches Can Use Them here.

 
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Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Great use of gCal ;-)

    You can also get your Calendar on your mobile device for free too.

    Check it out at http://www.goosync.com

    Chris.

  2. Tim says:

    Hey Cory. Great idea for using Google calendars on a church website. This can also add great functionality to a CMS if it doesn’t have as robust a calendar as say Google does.

    Also, I’m not sure if you’ve ever told your readers about Google apps for your domain, but that is another great feature Google offers now allowing them to setup several great applications including email (with the Gmail interface), plus chat and also Calendars as an organization and run it on their own church domain. And, of course, it’s all free.

    When you do organizational calendars like this each individual can share their calendars to a corporate internal calendar as well as having a corporate public calendar. There’s a lot of use there for the church, not to mention the Gmail.

    It’s detailed at http://www.google.com/a

  3. Rich Schmidt says:

    Hope United Methodist Church (www.explorehope.com) uses Google Calendar on their website. I met their pastor on pastors.com forums. He did the site himself. Just passing that along, in case anyone wanted to see what it could look like.

  4. Cory Miller says:

    Chris, thanks for the link … I haven’t even tried to wade into mobile stuff going on … yikes!

    Tim, I’ve been thinking about posting on Google’s Apps for Domains feature after hearing about it from Element’s Web 2.0 Conference that you guys were gracious enough to invite me to. I love how you all are using Google’s free features!

    Rich, thanks for that link too … although it’s a really simple site, I really, really like it. And love how he’s included the Calendar into the page …

  5. Mari Etzel says:

    This was fabulous! Thanks so much!

  6. James Dalman says:

    You’re welcome Mari!

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