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| | |-+  Zondervan Acquires Online Community-Building Resource for Churches - The City
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« on: November 25, 2008, 08:19:21 AM »

Zondervan Acquires Online Community-Building Resource for Churches - The City

by Staff
November 25, 2008

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., (christiansunite.com) -- 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 is an essential part of the way our members and our staff communicate every day," said Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill's founding and preaching pastor. "Thanks to Zondervan churches and organizations around the world will have access to this resource to help people meet Jesus and build community."

Zondervan plans to build out the current features of The City and offer scalable and customizable modules to churches nationwide who want to create their own vibrant, interactive community for members.

"The City is the most creative, dynamic church- building resource that I have seen, and we are thrilled to be able to make it available to churches of all sizes and denominations," said Moe Girkins, president and CEO of Zondervan. "The impact The City has had on Mars Hill is nothing short of remarkable, and I'm confident other churches will be attracted to the substantial community-building benefits that come from offering this unique resource to their church members."

The City is specifically for the church internet community. Each church member has a unique username and password, assuring the community of a secure and reliable network. Members of each church's social network can post and maintain their personal profile, find spiritual resources, sign up for volunteer opportunities, engage with their small group members, join book/study groups, maintain a journal, access news, and connect and share personal feelings, experiences, needs, and prayer requests with other church members.

"The City is much more than a social network as it helps churches to solve their greatest challenges - whether it's church planning, fundraising, developing small groups, building the global church, bolstering a sense of community or improving communications among members," added Girkins. "We are excited to take this incredibly valuable resource that Mars Hill has created and bring it to other churches throughout the U.S. and around the world."

As a result of the acquisition, The City creator Zack Hubert will be joining Zondervan as Vice President of Church Community Networks.

A virtual tour of The City's features can be found at www.onthecity.org.

About Zondervan

Zondervan, a HarperCollins company, is a world leader in Christian communications and the leading Christian publishing brand. For more than 75 years, Zondervan has delivered transformational Christian experiences through general and academic resources by influential leaders and emerging voices, and been honored with more Christian Book Awards than any other publisher. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., with offices in San Diego, Miami, and London, Zondervan conducts events and publishes its bestselling Bibles, books, audio, video, curriculum, software and digital products through its Zondervan, eZondervan, Zonderkidz, Youth Specialties, Editorial Vida, and National Pastors Convention brands. Zondervan resources are sold worldwide through retail stores, online and by Zondervan ChurchSource, and are translated into nearly 200 languages in more than 60 countries. Visit Zondervan on the Internet at www.zondervan.com.

About Mars Hill Church

Mars Hill Church is a non-denominational church that meets in seven different locations throughout the Seattle area, with twenty weekly services broadcast via satellite from the flagship campus. In 2008, Outreach magazine named Mars Hill Church the second-most innovative church in America. The church began in 1996 as a small Bible study in the home of founding pastor Mark Driscoll. Today, over seven thousand people attend Mars Hill on a weekly basis, with millions more accessing free sermons, music, and other resources through the church's extensive Internet library. To learn more about the ministry of Mars Hill Church visit www.marshillchurch.org.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion07823.shtml

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