The Potential for Your Church or Ministry Website
Churches and ministries are changing the purpose of their website from something vaguely defined to a marketing orientation and more recently to contribute to overall church life.
- PHASE 1: Supported by volunteers and usually not well integrated with the process of overall church life.
- KEY ISSUE: Volunteers burn-out of move on and site maintenance suffers
- PHASE 2: Marketing events and participation to members and the church to non-members becomes a key focus.
- KEY ISSUE: How to keep the site attractive and up-to-date becomes an issue, external designers are expensive and internal teams may lack good design and information organization expertise
- PHASE 3: The site becomes an integral part of church life and a useful tool for all elements of church activity.
- KEY ISSUE: Lack of expertise in church leadership to understand and assess technology and implementation and maintenance of processes and systems is not a key skill
For many churches, Phase 2 (implementing priorities 1-3 in the functional chart below) will meet their needs to provide an up-to-date source for information about events, ministries and their church. Some churches will want to move beyond that to Phase 3, to improve church life by using to website as a tool for all aspects of church life.
In Phase 3 the website should be designed to support the major facets of a healthy and growing church as well as meeting information needs.
- Fellowship and Support - the site provides a means to facilitate fellowship and also make known support needs
- EXAMPLES: Member Directory, Prayer & Needs Boards, Message and Chat, Small Group support
- Discipleship - supports the capability to augment teaching and delve deeper into learning
- EXAMPLES: On-line sermons and extend sermon notes, on-line Bible studies, Bible tools, discussion groups with message boards
- Evangelism - provide the gospel and the ability of for seekers to interact
- EXAMPLES: Gospel presentation, live chat support, feedback forms, message boards
- Church Growth - capability to actively market to site visitors
- EXAMPLES: Visitor information, testimonials, feedback forms, information request, live chat support
The above diagram depicts a functional chart for a church website. The numbers represent an approximation of the priority for each of the functions. A quick study of the chart should show that a church website can be a very rich tool for improving overall church life but also revels the number of systems and information processes and organizational tasks necessary to maintain a site of this complexity.