Saturday, April 07, 2012

Social Media Thoughts - Part 3: Church Websites

We are well into the 21st century and believe it or not there are still churches out there that have no presence on the Internet. That simple reality in and of itself could be the basis of an entire series of blogs. Suffice to say I am a firm believer of the need of churches to have some sort of presence on the Internet. Now, just how much should a local church be online is my purpose with this blog.

Even the smallest of congregations can have an online presence at little or even no expense to their church. At a minimum, a single page with the physical address, telephone number, times of service/s, and the name of the current pastor of the church is a must. This should be considered like a listing in the telephone book (remember those!). A larger congregation will want to include information about their various ministries and even schedules.

Some churches get rather elaborate with their website (nothing wrong with that) but all too often fall into the same trap: out of date content. I can’t tell you how many church websites have information posted from two years ago! Don’t believe me? Pull up the websites of some of the churches in your area. Most likely it will only take a few short minutes to find several churches (some of them rather prominent) with content that is out of date.

Now to be fair, I am not talking about an event that took place last week. I am talking about content that is months or even years out of date. Bottom line on church websites: if the congregation decides to have website (large or small), it needs to be maintained. 85% of people find their church home using the Internet![1] More and more in our connected society people find local churches AND gain a first impression of that church based on their visit to the website.[2] There is so much more to a discussion such as this but I think my view is clear.

The next post in the series will focus on the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, why it matters, and what the response of the local church should be.

[1] MediaOutreach. MediaOutreach - the intersection of faith, culture, and technology. May 20, 2009. (accessed April 7, 2011).

[2] Steinbrueck, Paul. Church Marketing Online: Get your site fishing with "the net". February 17, 2011. (accessed April 7, 2012).


Dan Smith said...

I really enjoyed this series. You've got great thoughts. Ironically, my wife and I found our most recent church quite by accident. We were headed to a different church and got the directions wrong! But most of the time we find our churches through the internet. Certainly when I travel overseas on Navy deployments, I use the internet almost exclusively to find congregations to worship with. Good post!

Chris Sanchez said...

Thanks Dan! I have a couple more posts in this series planned covering the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter by churches. I am doing a bit of research on this. The use of technology to connect with people really interests me. From the standpoint of the church, I see it as caring enough about people to try and reach them where they are. Today, that means Facebook, Twitter, etc.