I've said before that foregoing a church website is akin to not bothering to list your church in the phonebook. In fact, it could be that it's even worse. Even the most basic hosting options allow you more than enough space to post all of the administrivia one could ever hope to know about your church. Either way, to do so is to cut yourself off from a whole generation of potential believers through simple omission.

The online face of churches ranges from electronic brochure to an individual "experience." Value lies in each! I promise I'm not being non-committal or saying that all paths to web presence enlightenment are equal. It's just that what your church chooses to publish must be a good fit to the talents, available time, passion and focus of your ministry team.

The key is to have just enough web-presence to represent the ministry without biting off more than you can chew. It might possibly be worse to have a website that outlines the "upcoming" potluck that happened six months ago with a photo from two pastors ago, than to have none at all. What does that say about the life of your church when the one event on your site is long outdated?

So ask yourself these questions:

Who is my intended audience and what do we need to tell them? Is this for your congregation, looking for information on upcoming events and ministry opportunities? Someone shopping for your church who Googled churches in your area? Both? These thoughts will shape the end product significantly.

Who is going to keep this thing updated? How often are we willing to commit to updates? The website's complexity and need for attention should parallel the availability and skill of the manpower. If these human resources are limited, keep it simple and stick to information that rarely changes, such as your name, phone and location. There are fill-in-the-blank templates that are perfect for you. Use caution here, building the site is easy, it's maintenance that becomes a huge black hole sucking up your time.


In the next couple postings in this series on your church's web presence, we'll tackle a few related ideas and approaches: Church site as brochure, Church site as blog, must-have components, becoming findable, and a couple bare-bones design tips (I'll not pretend to be a designer).

2 comments

  1. Christopher Esget // May 22, 2007 at 9:46 AM  

    Thanks for this post; as a pastor who has been starting from scratch after scrapping our hopelessly-out-of-date site, I am looking forward to your follow-up posts on this topic.

  2. Anna Belle // May 26, 2007 at 7:18 AM  

    Thanks for a great post and excellent series. I think your statement that "The key is to have just enough web-presence to represent the ministry without biting off more than you can chew" is the heart of having an excellent church web site. It’s a constant balancing act. I find one of the key ingredients is to keep it fun whenever and wherever possible.