Church websites play a crucial role in accomplishing the great commission and are an extension of the church’s first impression to guests and, in some cases, the first impression for many of Christianity. As churches wrestle with what information to include and exclude on their website, keep this in mind – during an average visit to a website, most people only read between 20% – 28% of the words on a page. One way to overcome this slight is to clearly write the content on each web page, use headers, and match what the reader is searching for on the page. Defining the specific content needs on church websites varies; even though most Christian churches share the same fundamental beliefs, the fact that there are an estimated 200 denominations in the United States alone proves each church is unique. While the following list is not exhaustive or a one-size-fits-all proposition, churches can use it as a starting point when determining the church website’s content.
Mission & Vision
The mission is the reason or purpose for an organization’s existence, and Matthew 28:16-20 provides the foundation for most evangelical churches’ mission statements. But the vision for each church is unique. The vision is the inspiration to accomplish the mission; it paints a picture of what it looks like in the future. The church website not only needs to share the mission and vision of the church explicitly, but it should also weave it into each page and everything the church does.
What You Believe (Statement of Faith)
In today’s consumer-driven market, people view the church through their grid of beliefs, so it’s best to provide them with what they’re looking for. Here are a few examples: What is your church’s view on egalitarianism vs. complementarianism, Calvinism vs. Arminianism? Does your church have a strong eschatological position? Succinctly list the church’s core beliefs, using scripture to show why this is important to your church.
A church website should pay special attention to those searching for your church or God. Make it clear and obvious how glad you are they are on your website, and have a special message that gives them information to make their first visit less stressful. Sometimes practicality is just as important as spirituality when it comes to visitors. Provide information like service times, directions to the building, explain where to park, how to dress, what to do with their kids, and what to expect at a service.
Church websites must concisely capture how it benefits the local and global community. Failure to provide the information people are searching for in a way that is easy to digest will cause visitors to leave the page or the website. As stated earlier, tie everything to the mission and vision of the church. Does your church capture the worship services on video for people to view live, later, or both? What set’s your church’s children’s and youth ministry apart from other churches? How is your church connecting people to each other? How does your church serve the community? Does your church offer ways to connect or deepen faith? These pages provide the opportunity to show how your church is making disciples – before and after they cross the line of faith.
Share Your History
From Exodus through the New Testament, God’s people share a rich history of failures and faithfulness. The common thread is that God promises to be with us. Share your church’s story, warts and all, to put the spotlight on God’s goodness and faithfulness.
Regardless of your church’s stance on tithing, we can all agree that a “Give Here” button is less than inspirational. A website is a place to provide stories that share what happens when people faithfully and cheerfully financially invest in what God is doing in and through your church. Use blog posts to keep the church up-to-date on how their contribution makes a difference.
Other Essential Information
While it should not be the focal point of the church website, providing essential information like upcoming events and how to sign up for them needs to be a part of the website. Providing this information is tricky because it requires constant updating, and showing last Easter’s service times does not make a great first impression on guests.
While this list is far from complete, it provides a good start when considering the content to include on the church website.
Remember, anyone with access to the internet can view the content on the church website – that’s a big deal. Even though several people may write the original content (no one knows middle school ministry like the person running it), churches must use an editor to maintain one voice throughout the website – someone who knows your church and can ensure the content’s consistency, quality, and accuracy and finds grammatical and spelling errors. And whenever possible, use “evergreen” content to avoid outdated pages. For example, instead of writing “contact John Doe ([email protected]),” write, “contact the Men’s Director at ([email protected]).” It’s not dependent upon a single person, and it’s much easier to maintain emails than web pages. You only get one chance at a first impression; make the best impression possible.short url: