"It's like a Christian 'Craigslist' and Yellow Pages all in one," declares the Home Page of a new website, created by a pastor in the California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
ChristProfits.net is the brainchild of The Rev. Dr. Lois Black, pastor of First UMC of Yuba City, who says she designed the site as a place for the entire community to access Christian businesses - but also to locate community church events. In this way it acts as a safe place for commerce, while providing local churches with a free web presence.
The name, ChristProfits, is based on the assumption that, as Black says, "When Christians prosper, their giving increases and this is an immense benefit to the community during trying economic times. When the Christian community profits - ChristProfits."
The website is designed to serve the community as a "one stop shop" for matching needs to resources, posting want ads, or "surfing" for a church. On the commerce side, users may search by 14 different categories. And they may search by date, zip code, event, or church to find community events loaded by churches.
To protect the site content, only pastors and their staff may load in church data, calendars, and special events - but other members of the community may post classified items free of charge. When an individual loads an ad, he or she is asked if he/she is a part of a local church. If that person is aligned with a church, the pastor is notified and copied on the ad content. (Besides providing a monitoring function, this allows the pastor to stay informed of needs and resources.) Personal ads placed by those not identifying themselves with a specific church are screened by local pastors to protect against the upload of questionable subject matter.
ChristProfits.net accepts paid ads, as well, which are visible throughout the site without any action being required by site users. It also offers blogging capability, providing "a forum for the faith community to keep their faith fresh throughout the week."
ChristProfits.net was excited to receive 236 hits within the first 48 hours after its launch, with users from five countries and six different states.