Your church website is likely the first place most people will visit long before stepping through your church doors. But today, most church websites read as a billboard, shouting at the user, yelling why Church X is the best church, the coolest, and the most unique. This technique turns people off. It screams at users, when they want to engage your website, learn more about you, and develop a relationship.
More than ever pastors need to manage their church’s online presence, thoughtfully and faithfully developing a vision, and a mission for the church website. To view the church website as another arm of ministry, with the potential to reach new people every day.
I will help walk you through this idea of developing your vision, creating goals, a website plan, then where to start in the process of creating your church website.
I spend a lot of time designing and developing websites and I love it. I have worked with businesses, churches, non-profits, and individuals who all want to develop a website that communicates their vision to the world. Whether or not they realize it, most of my clients are doing just that, showcasing their vision. You know who is the worst at communicating a clear vision for their website? Churches. Every time I get a call from a church, they are looking for cool, flashy, awesome, or some other adjective. But what they really are doing is trying to hide from the fact that they have no vision for their website. A flashy site might seem cool, but it is no substitute for a clear vision and plan.
Why Do We Need a A Website Vision?
Developing your website vision will give you a foundation for you to build your site upon. It will help you create a set of goals that will help guide all of your online decisions and help you better understand your needs when building out your website.
Lower Your Website Cost
Part of the reason I always have pastors create a vision statement for their website is that it will help me determine what services, features, and software will be needed for their website. How frustrating would it be if you launched your website for $4,000 when really, based on your vision, all you needed was a $1500 website.
Develop Your Website Vision
I am going to make a groundbreaking statement for how you view your church website. Ready? Your website is direct reflection of your church and it’s vision. Did I just blow your mind? I hope not. This shouldn’t be that groundbreaking. I’ll say it a different way. Your church website should communicate clearly your church’s vision and mission.
So where do you start? Start with your current mission statement! Are you a church looking to reach artists and musicians? Your website needs to reflect and communicate to the musicians of the world. Are soccer moms your primary outreach? Communicate in a clear way to these moms.
What does a website vision look like? It looks like this: Church X’s vision is to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ to young families in our community. Our website echos this vision by focusing on a message of community, small groups, and family friendly services.
Your vision statement doesn’t need to be long, or overly thought out, it should simply and clearly tell your staff what the purpose of your website is. You need to develop this very basic and solid foundation to create a set of measurable goals and website plan.
Next we will develop a set of example goals for your website and a plan on how to execute.
Image Credit: gordonplant | flickr