Amazon. Google. Social Media. The world is a very different place than it was 20 years ago, and it would be difficult to find a field in which that was more obvious than in the church. I spent 25 years serving in pastoral ministry, and I can attest that ministry in the year 2000 looked nothing like ministry in 2022.
Cell phones, streaming video, and social media have played huge roles in changing the landscape of the local church and their connection to their community, but nothing has turned the church world upside down like the church website.
In the early 2000s, most churches didn’t even have a website. Churches that had ventured onto the world wide web typically did so quite unceremoniously with websites that were either flashy and confusing or completely outdated with no meaningful information about the church, their vision, or their events and activities.
Now, almost every church has a website, but many are doing more harm than good. Poor design, outdated information, and confusing navigation often send potential visitors packing before they ever darken the door of the church. Let’s explore a few reasons why your church website is so important.
Your Church Website IS Your Front Door
Recent studies tell us that 80% of people will check out your church’s website before they ever step foot into your building. Over 17 million unchurched people visit church websites every year. That is a staggering statistic if you are a church leader or invested in the growth of your congregation.
Imagine if someone accidentally drove their car through the front door of your church building. Odds are high that the front door would get repaired right away. After all, you want to make a good first impression. However, your front door isn’t attached to your building – it’s online.
If your website is outdated, confusing, hard to navigate, or poorly designed, then you need to fix your front door!
Your Church Website Communicates Who You Are and Where You’re Going
46% of people surveyed said that the design of a website is the most important factor in helping them determine the credibility of an organization. If your church website is your front door, and their visit to your site determines your credibility in their mind, then some important questions arise.
What does your church website say about your congregation? What does it say to someone who wants to be part of a bigger mission? What does it communicate about your heartbeat, your leadership, your values, your beliefs, and the pathways to growth and connection.
People want to be involved with organizations that are vibrant, active, alive, and making a difference. What better place to showcase who you are and what you’re about than on your website?
Your Church Website Communicates Information to Potential Visitors
Since most people check church out online first, a church website needs to contain detailed information for visitors that can help them feel more comfortable when they arrive at the physical building.
Your website can proactively answer questions for visitors, which makes them more comfortable with the idea of attending your church in person.
- Where do we go when we arrive?
- What do we do with our children or teens? What does the Family Ministry look like?
- What can we expect from the sermons? Can I watch them online somewhere to get an idea of the preaching style and values?
- Is there anything we should do as a first-time guest? Are there specific pathways you’d encourage new visitors to take to learn more about the church?
Your website can help alleviate the fears of those who may want to visit by clearly communicating information about their visit beforehand.
Your Church Website Helps People Engage and Connect
Churches are all about connection. Community is key, and relationships are central. Your church website can be a hub for your community to engage. In churches, people most often connect in small groups, courses and classes, events, youth groups and family ministry, giving, service opportunities, and through the weekly services.
Does your church website help people engage with your church community? Can they find details, times, and crucial info about your upcoming activities and special events? Are there clear calls to action and simple pathways for deeper connection?
In conclusion, church websites are powerful tools that can encourage growth, new connections, and deeper engagement. Conversely, a poor website conveys to potential guests that they may not find excellence and care inside the physical walls of the church building. The church website is the first opportunity to invite an unchurched member of your community into the story God is writing. And that is excellent!
Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.”