Your church needs a good website

Steve Kryger

Do you want your church to be a welcoming church?

Of course! No one answers 'no' to that question. We want to do whatever is within our means to ensure that people are warmly welcomed into our community. But what does welcoming look like? Welcoming starts well before people approach the front doors. In fact, the internet provides a new front door. 

Kevin de Young writes: 

"Your website is the front door of your church for many, many people. If you’d put a greeter at the front door of your physical church, and line up ushers in the sanctuary, and set up a hospitality center in the lobby, and make sure all the signs are attractive and pointing in the right direction, surely you ought to take the same care with your church’s website."

Here's the point - people may never get anywhere near your physical front door, if your virtual front door either doesn't exist, or is an obstacle course that requires skill and perseverence to negotiate. As de Young puts it:  

"We may wish it weren’t so, but it’s reality: most people on the web looking for a church will never visit if your site stinks."

Many people fail to understand that designing a decent website is both an art and a science - and that there's plenty that you can do to make an online experience a joy, or an immense frustration. On Communicate Jesus, I've got a 'websites' category - a collection of articles that explore some of these implications.

Kevin goes on to explain 6 signs a church website stinks. For example:

"Getting by on the cheap. Sometimes even newer websites look dated because they were designed by a beloved 55 year old from the congregation with a little web know how and some time on his hands. Not trying to knock 55 year olds, but your website will be used primarily by the young, so make sure it doesn’t feel old. Again, you don’t need to spend a lot of money, but the difference between $2000 and free will convince you that $2000 was worth it."

This is all too common, and can be the result of several issues. 

Here's just one - I'm aware of two churches where long-term members with basic web design skills hold the keys to the website. Nothing changes that they don't want changed. Nothing is updated that they don't want updated. This is poor form - and, based on how these websites both appear and function, is not serving potential visitors (let alone members) well.

De Young addresses those who think he's just another tech-head trying to push his tech-agenda:

"I have never been one to encourage churches to chase the latest trends. The secret to successful ministry is that there is no secret. The most faithful and fruitful churches are those that plod in mission, persevere in godliness, and preach the word."

but

"increasingly, if your church does not have a decent website you’re uninviting a lot of people who might otherwise have plodded, persevered, and sat under good preaching with you."

You can read the full article here.

Please, for the sake of the kingdom, have a good church website. In the coming weeks, I'll explore what this looks like, and some tools to help you make it a reality. 

Question: What are the 'defeater arguments' that you would give, or have heard, for why your church doesn't/won't have a better website?

(Banner photo credit: Ed Yourdon)