Your church’s website is important to how you will reach people. It is not the only way, but it is a very helpful way.
I firmly believe that the gospel is the power of salvation to those who believe (Rom. 1:16). A church doesn’t need a website to reach people with the news of Jesus, but it is a fantastic tool with which to reach people.
When churches had to restrict physical gatherings due to the COVID-19, the level to which each church had prioritized an online presence became painfully obvious. Those who had made their website a priority were able to adapt quickly. Those who disagreed with the importance were left scrounging around to get things up to speed.
I am not here in 2020 to argue the importance of a church website, but I want you to rethink why you have one.
I want you to think about the potential changing of your strategy regarding your online presence in this pandemic-recovering landscape.
- Some Websites Are Sidelined. Your website doesn’t need to be the totality of your ministry, but if you aren’t treating it as a powerful tool to reach people, you are missing an incredible, flexible opportunity. It needs to be more than insider language, stock photos, generic information, and outdated content. I doubt you will have a visitor at your church who has not studied your website before coming.
- Some Websites Are Substitutionary. For the churches on the polar opposite of the spectrum, some have taken the approach to reach people digitally is a worthy goal and no more is needed. What the COVID-19 is teaching us is that if people are only connected to a church via an online service, they are severely lacking the community they need. An online strategy is great, but it is lacking if it never moves people into an authentic, biblical community. A website cannot replace real people committed to one another.
- Some Websites Are Supplemental. If these recent months have taught us anything is that online content can serve as a good, supplemental approach. From online services, Zoom groups, and helpful resources, websites are in a sweet spot when they are supplemental to body life and not substitutionary. Apparently, even online haters jumped on board when it was necessary.
- Few Websites Are Strategic. While many churches see their websites as sidelined, substitutionary, or supplemental, I have seen rare few that are truly strategic. I know there are some with incredible designs and slick content. I am not talking about that. I am talking about those churches who understand the role of a church website doing something pivotal in the overall strategy of the church.
Everyone keeps talking about finding the “new normal” post-pandemic. I don’t know what that will look like or when we will see it, but I do think that now is the time to rethink the purpose of the church website.
- What if you could provide a potential guest with more than just a listing of service times and directions?
- What if you could equip your members with important content that you may never get to in a sermon calendar?
- What if you could focus more on the testimonies of life change rather than a listing of the “services” you provide?
- What if your staff pages could be more than biographical information but spiritual instruction?
- What if you could take some of the deepest needs out there and provide a path for help?
- What if your content was more than just “eavesdropping” on existing physical gatherings?
- What if you took advantage of how you used tech during the pandemic and utilized it intentionally as a part of your overall strategy?
- What if you developed online groups as a stepping stone to a real group for those who physically can’t gather?
- What if you automated certain pieces of information to further the people and your staff?
These are unique times, but they have unique opportunities!
While you are no doubt scrambling weekly to know how to care for your people right now, I would encourage you to begin dreaming about how you may can equip people in the future.
Think through what your strategy should be and will be.
Just remember: helpful content is better than flashy design.
We have the best news in the world. Let’s use every opportunity we have to get it out to more people.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.