Heal Your Church WebSite

Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Using MovableType to generate a Passion of the Christ Subdomain at Redland Baptist

Like many churches around the country, Redland Baptist has joined in the ‘True or False’ Outreach.com Campaign based upon Mel Gibson’s Movie ‘The Passion of the Church.’ Yes, I realize some of you have problems with both the commercial and/or Catholic aspects of this film, but there is no denying that this film is going to raise questions. The Church is therefore called to answer these questions and hopefully lead a person to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Many churches, such as Redland, have subscribed to the excellent evangelical services offered over at Outreach.com. This is a good service, but like so many of these plug-n-pray template-driven programs, all the sites look the same, and I suspect, will rank on search engines the same.

So how do we get a person with questions about ‘the Passion of the Christ‘ into the doors at Redland Baptist Church? Easy, create a search-engine friendly(ier) subdomain regarding the film, along with a link to sermons and related resources that answer these questions. In other words, if someone shows up hungry, we give them a banquet of information.

As many of you know, I’ve opted to use the MovableType as a content management system (CMS) for Redland. So creating a subdomain is merely a matter of establishing another blog on the site. The same can be done with any CMS and/or blogging system that allows for multiple sites/weblogs.
Sub-Page Header for the Passion of the Christ Subdomain at Redland Baptist Church

The next issue to tackle is file paths. As you can see from the screen snippet above, I don’t want to use the default archiving system. Instead, I what is individual pages that reside subdirectories of their respective category. I want to datestamp them as well. This means category archives need to create a subdirectory.

This requires two things in defining the system configuration. First is to define archives at the root level of the site. This is nothing more than a cut and paste of the home page setting on the same page. That done, the tricky part is setting the ‘Archive File Template’ for individual pages and categories to incorporate their names and the date in their filenames:
Archive Template Configuration Screen Shot

Individual Entry Archive Template:
<MTEntryCategory dirify=”1″>/<$MTEntryDate format=”%Y%m%d”$>_<MTEntryTitle dirify=”1″>.php

Category Archive Template:
<MTArchiveCategory dirify=”1″>/index.php

In the end, I get a url for an article entitled “Medical Evidences” in a category named “Related Links” that looks like this: http://passion.redlandbaptist.org/related_links/20040223_medical_evidences.php

One other advantage to defining my filesystem this way is that it allows me to create sensible breadcrumb navigation. Which I define in my Individual and Category ‘Archive-Related Templates’ as:

<a href=”<$MTBlogURL$>” accesskey=”1″>Home</a> » <MTEntryCategories><a href=”<$MTCategoryArchiveLink$>”><$MTCategoryLabel$></a></MTEntryCategories> » <$MTEntryTitle$>

Again, it is likely that you can do this with just about any decent CMS or blogging system, though I suspect your tags and templates are going to look quite different. If you have some examples online, leave a comment below.

Speaking of comments, bear in mind, this site is still a work in progress. I’ve still got some fonts to tweak, some permalinks and datestamps to add and other small stuff I missed in the first go-round. So please, resist the urge to run it through validators and give it the old ‘Vincent Flanders’ … though as always, I encourage and appreciate sensible suggestions.


  1. Is that screenshot showing IE! [Gasp!] [Shudder!]

  2. but there is no denying that this film is going to raise questions.

    Yeah, that’s the church for you. Most of the commentary from church “leaders” I saw was of the same ilk — “we’re asking our people to invite their unchurched friends…”

    The church sees this as a marketing opportunity. “Hey, people are going to have questions! We already know the answers — they’re dumb and lost, we’re able to see spiritual truth! Let’s give them the answers they seek!”


    No wonder so many people are going to hell.

    And then there are the people who don’t go to church.

  3. Dean – one comment. You have a link titled “Home” I thought that would take me back to their main site. May want to rethink that one or give users some visible means to navigate back.