We need to spend time and resources on our virtual sanctuary like we do for our actual one.
How much time and expense do we spend on our church building every year? -Now this is a rhetorical question, but we all understand that we need to keep the lawn mowed, maintain the shrubs, perennials, mulch and trees outside of our building. We also check to make sure the steeple is securely attached to the roof, the shingles whisk away snow and rain, and that the sign out front is lit at night and is up-to-date. Just like we spend time and money maintaining our building and exterior, we need to invest in maintaining our website. So too, we should make sure our calendar is up-to-date, our staff photos and contact info is up to date, we hear news from our youth, etc.
Your church website is your virtual narthex & sanctuary.
Think of your church website as your virtual narthex. It is the virtual hub of your church’s activity, it gives you directions, phone numbers and staff email addresses, calendar of events, donation opportunities, youth activity, VBS info, Holy Week and Lent schedules, fundraising and volunteer info. If you want to provide spiritual resources to your viewers, like you do in the sanctuary, you can extend your message by placing it in written, audio or video form right on your site. It provides quality photography of your church to feel like your physical church.
People decide if you are a good fit for them based on your website.
What do you think outsiders think of your church? Do you remember what you thought of the church before going for the first time? Does your place feel inviting? Welcoming? Fun? Spirit-filled? If you were born and raised in your church, or been there a very long time, you should survey folks in the community to get their feedback on what they know of your church. Have you ever gone on vacation and looked for a church to attend that Sunday? Or maybe you moved to a new community and went church shopping. Where did you go to find your options? Odds are you Google it. How does your site look on Google? Can you even find it?
You want to get a feel for the church by visiting their website.
You want a quick way to know how to get there. Do their values align with what you are looking for? If it is ELCA, chances are that you’ll have some idea of what the place is like, but we can all agree that one church doesn’t represent every church.
Give your viewers a piece of your church experience before they even arrive.
The way to achieve this is by giving them this experience online before they even get here. Using elements like the same logo consistently help ease that tension. If you have the same logo on the front of your website and on your sign out front of your building, they will know this is the church because of that tie. If they walk into your sanctuary and see you space, see the lighting, pews, alter area, pulpit, lectern, baptismal font, they should feel subconsciously at ease because they have seen it before online.
Your site is being compared with their typical online experience, not against other churches.
Young families & adults looking for a church expect an excellent online presence.
It is hard to understand sometimes, especially if you are not up on technology, that it is a MAJOR tool in communicating with younger generations. We have to meet them where they are, when they are ready to listen and process, and also provide something valuable that they can share with their friends and family.
Have a website you can’t access anymore? Ready for a site refresh? Need some guidance?
Contact Jennifer at Mighty Megaphone at (314) 774-0604.
Please share us with your ELCA friends and colleagues!
“Brandon’s work was able to tell our story
so well because of the time and effort he
put-in getting to understand our culture.”
Pr. Ben Adams
South Loop Campus Ministry