Let’s not beat around the bush. It’s time we recognize church websites for what they really are:
- More important than your curb appeal
- Better doors to community than actual doors
- “Places” where hope is shared and lives are changed
- Signs of respect for young adults
- Points of discernment for budding disciples
Put simply, your church website is a vital ministry that should demand the respect it deserves. That’s easier said than done.
Here’s how you can move your congregation from thinking about a website as just information to thinking about it as an important ministry.
1. Form a Team of People that are Invested in the Information Shared
If a lay leader in the church is responsible for a ministry that appears on the church website, then train him or her how to use that part of the website. This puts the person most invested in the program closer to the people that are consuming the information. Conversely, every opportunity in the church should have a contact person’s name attached to it, along with instructions for how to engage.
By forming a team of invested stakeholders, you are “disciplizing” your website. This a far cry better than assigning your website to youth that will be off to college in a year or two.
2. Create a Site that Empathizes with Visitors First
Jesus is always the model when it comes to dealing with outsiders, his preferred audience. We need to do the same with our websites. The goal is that a visitor can imagine participating in the life of your church based on what they experience on your website. This means that visitor-friendly content should be front and center, in language and images that they can understand.
3. Empower Discipleship
Just because visitor-friendly content is front and center, this doesn’t diminish your site’s capacity to lead members into a deeper relationship with Christ. Online giving, volunteer sign-up forms, event calendars, social media integration, reflective blog posts, member directories: these are just small sampling of the tools you can use to empower discipleship through your church website.
Don’t get me wrong, these are hard tasks to accomplish. However, the same could be said for any worthy ministry. It’s easy to under-prioritize your web ministry due to it’s virtual nature, but to do so is a mistake. Like Joshua crossing the Jordan, we Christians are often called to “do a new thing”. I have no doubt that God’s work is being done through vital church web ministries.