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The Sad State of the Online Church

Make your church website better. That’s the battle cry I have been trying to shout for the last few years. It’s the reason I started blogging, it’s the reason I got into web design in the first place. Recently, I have started reviewing sites for our Best Church Websites of the Year feature and it makes me sad that the state of the online church is still really poor. I feel like giving up and focusing on other areas, but the reality is, the church must change. Not should, not think, but it must change.

The Morman’s get it. The Morman church has put together one of the best online websites and marketing campaigns I have ever seen for a religious group. They understand the importance of the web for spreading their message and their ideas.


My mind was recently blown by the “Meet Mormons” area. This innovative idea to to share personal testimonies based on the lives of people in the church. It’s searchable too. Looking for someone who is a 24-year-old, male, former Buddist? Done. And Wow.

So why is the Christian church so far behind? Sure, some large churches are doing some cool stuff. But what about the average size church? Outdated content, early 2000’s web styles, lack of creativity. It’s frustrating.

What should we do? Most of the people who come here are creatives. Idea people. You at some point had enough interest to at least see what you could do about your church website. That’s a great first step. Initiative is fantastic. But do you have the drive to push your church further? Do you have passion to change your church’s idea of what their website could be?

I could search for any christian church website, in any city, and most of them would be awful. And we accept this. We say, well it’s good enough. No it’s not. We should be providing TOOLs for our church body to use online. Things for them to grow deeper in the word, to connect to others, to develop relationships. Not just to have a google map to your church.

So will you join me? Will you help us change the status quo of church websites? We have the opportunity to craft a community of creatives, to push the state of the online church further. It’s time to innovate. It’s time to not accept ‘good enough’. It’s time to create a better website.

6 replies on “The Sad State of the Online Church”

Jesse, I share your pain and your frustration!  I too have been trying for the past four years to get churches to take advantage of the internet for their church.  I intentionally targeted small churches and pretty much offered to help them for next to nothing.  Still there was next to no interest in the churches I worked with.  It is really heartbreaking to me to see so many churches struggling and don’t realize that a small investment in a website could provide huge returns for them.  

In fact my frustration has reached an all time high and I recently shut down that part of my business.  Now I focus on small businesses and I’m working hard to develop relationships with them so I can influence them for Christ.  I guess if you hit a dead end, turn around and try the next street.

I’d be interested what others have to say on this subject

I am with you. When I first started my company, it was focused on design for churches. But the amount of churches that wanted to pay for design was slim.

I have been working on setting up a CMS for churches for awhile now, but I am not sure if there will be enough interest. 

Thanks for sharing!

Jesse,

I feel the pain also… 🙂  And like Crgwilson43, we decided we had to do something about it… my wife and I last year started ChurchBuzz to help Churches understand how important their website / Facebook / Email marketing was. We put together the right combination of services to help them get there… The United Methodist Churches in North Texas are “getting it” and we are having a blast serving them in this way!I hadn’t seen your website before today… kudos to you for such a great site!

Patrick Steil
Webmaster for The North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church and others!
http://www.churchbuzz.org

Slow and steady wins the race… nothing moves too quickly in the Church world and I think we just have to be patient, lead them along gently, but I am seeing that more and more churches are “getting it” and know there is power in their online presence…

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