Websites are designed for a variety of reasons. According to Forbes some are created to sell products and services. Others are designed to generate leads – to create a broader “customer” base. A third kind of web site is to establish credentials – to let visitors to the site know who you are – your values, priorities and perhaps services. Most of our church web sites fall into this last category.
I decided recently to look at 25 Missionary Church web sites to find out what they say to their visitors. Some of the churches I know fairly well and others I know little about except through their websites.
There were three themes that were fairly consistent.
Our churches value preaching and teaching the Word. Some sites offer opportunities to listen to sermons live while others have links to messages that have been archived. Many of our churches offer Bible studies or Sunday school classes.
The 2nd theme is worship. Most sites had information on worship times, locations and some described the style of worship. Some of our churches offer a variety of styles.
The word “connection” is used on a number of our web sites. Churches offer various ways for people to get connected, stay connected and build relationships. The word “family” is sometimes used to describe the value of close relationships.
When I read Acts 2, the early church was committed to four priorities: the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer.
Reading our web sites, we seem committed to the first three – we are faithful to preach and teach what Jesus and the apostles taught; we labor to connect people to the body – to create fellowship; whether we literally “break bread” each week, we value worship.
The 4th priority of the early church was prayer, and yet as I looked through 25 Missionary Church websites, less than half had any mention of prayer. Several of those that had “prayer” someplace on their web site had it as a part of their weekly schedule so if you looked at their calendar, you would find a time and day for a prayer meeting.
So here are some questions that come to mind:
If prayer is a priority for your church, what place should it have on your website?
Should there be opportunities for people to gather for prayer in the context of your ministry and should those opportunities be posted?
Should the website include a place where people could submit prayer requests?
Should prayer be listed as one of the primary values?
Your website says a lot about your church. Does it say all you want it to say?