The third theme from the social media event at General Assembly was:
Here’s something to consider if you think your church doesn’t need a website: I’m not going to attend a church without a website. If I’m new to an area or passing through, I usually don’t think to look for churches until Saturday evening. If you don’t have a website, I’m not going to consider attending your church because I won’t know when your services are unless I happen to have driven passed it or know someone who attends… which usually I haven’t and I don’t. I can safely say many youth and young adults would say the same thing.
You don’t need an elaborate labyrinth website. Even a simple page that is easy to read and has the basic information right up front is leaps and bounds better than a disorganized and confusing website.
If you’ve stared at your website for so long that you don’t know if it’s useable for newcomers, sit down and start asking yourself questions like these:
-Is the text easily readable based on the font and colors?
-Are the worship times listed on the home page? Do you have to scroll to see them?
-Is our address and phone number listed?
-Is all the information up to date?
-If you have a nursery and/or Sunday school program does the website list the ages the programs are for?
-Is there any parking info new folks need to know?
You can even ask a friend who doesn’t attend the church to look at the website and give you feedback.
If you don’t want to set up a website but have the people power and desire to keep a website updated (however often it needs to be updated), get help. Ask your community if someone there has experience in website building. Sometimes presbyteries or dioceses (or the like) have programs to help churches set up websites. You can get professional help. I recommend Worship Times. Flexible, affordable, and they train you! (Disclaimer: I think Worship Times is so awesome I work for them part-time.)
If you’re looking for inspiration, look here. The Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville (Lawrenceville, NJ) is a traditional church engaging people in many different ways. It’s a pretty fancy website, but it’s easy to use and gives a good feel of the community who gathers to worship and make a difference in the community.
For a different kind of ministry website check out Two Friars and a Fool. I like that they have other social media links on buttons right on the front page. Also take a look at The Covenant Network, a group working within the PC(USA) for full LGBTQ inclusion. Whatever you’re looking on that site to find, you can find it in the navigation bars at the top.
Feeling inspired? Awesome! Share your excitement with others in your community. Get others excited and involved! You can’t do social media for an entire community alone!