Church websites can be just as essential to making a good impression on a new visitor as the first person you speak to when you arrive. They can give you a real sense of who the church is and the people you might meet.
It happened only the other day.
My wife was chatting to someone new at our church and asked her how she came to find this church.
The answer? She googled churches in her area. Her first impression of our church came from the church website. She obviously felt encouraged enough to come and visit in person.
Whether we like it or not, or feel comfortable with the idea, a website is often the first impression a potential visitor has of your church. Or you could look at it like this…the web is your church’s new front door.
Makes you think though, all that effort we put into our welcome team, do we put the same effort into our website. There’s certain times of the year when people are particularly looking for a church. We’ve recently had one with Back to Church Sunday and we’re approaching another with Christmas just weeks away.
Sparks & Honey, a US advertising agency, describe our current generation, Generation Z, as ‘the first tribe of digital natives’ or ‘Screenagers’. I am reminded that the apostle Paul always tried to meet people where they were at, using their culture to point them to Jesus. Maybe we need to think more how we reach these ‘digital natives.’
I know the cost of a new church website can be off-putting for a church. It doesn’t have to be that expensive and once the initial investment is made, the annual costs of hosting and support are relatively low.
Church Websites – Getting the Basics Right
Even just getting the basics right can be a good start. Is the church websites’ homepage welcoming to visitors? Having a ‘I’m new here’ button to click on with frequently asked questions is helpful to have. Making it easy to find your contact details is another. Images of actual people in your church doing ordinary things (not stock photos!) can help represent who you are as a church and give a sense of community.
Anyway I could go on (and I probably will in future blogs!). While digital can never take the place of actual face to face contact, my passion is that churches will really use their websites effectively to reach a generation whose first instinct is to visit the church online before entering its building.
If you would like to chat about how I can help you with your church website then please get in touch.