By Matt Morris
Maybe she heard about your church from a friend. She heads to your church website to check it out.
Does the pastor really preach like Billy Graham? She looks for an audio clip. It’s not there.
Are the kids’ programs really as awesome as she’s heard? She looks for a video. It’s not there.
And guess what you’ll see when you scan the visitors’ parking lot on Sunday morning? She’s not there.
If people are searching for a church, you can bet they’ll go online before they hit the pews—looking for details about the pastor, the programs, and the preaching. But many church websites don’t have sermons, snippets, or even a video about the pastor.
Here are four ways adding media (photos, audio, and video) to your website will benefit both members and non-members.
1. Media will help bring people to your church. Potential visitors, who may be new to the area or looking for a new church home, most likely will access your website to learn more about your church before they ever set foot in your building. Use photos to show what ministries and programs you have to offer (worship center, student and kids’ ministry areas).
Potential visitors not only want to know what you have to offer them and their families but also want to hear how you deliver God’s Word. Offering your pastor’s sermons via video or audio will give visitors a good idea of what they’ll experience at your church.
Some recommended video hosting sites are Vimeo, YouTube, and Sermoncast. If you go with hosting your church’s videos on a site like Vimeo or YouTube, it’s easy to share the videos on social media and lead visitors to your site that way. SoundCloud is a tool for recording and uploading audio files and sharing them on your site.
2. It makes it easy for members to catch up. I missed our pastor’s sermon last Sunday. My wife and I were volunteering in the nursery. Fortunately, my church posts all of our pastor’s sermons online each Monday.
This allows me, as a member, to listen to Pastor Andy even though I was serving in the nursery on Sunday morning. It’s how I stay engaged in what is being preached every week should I have to miss a Sunday. I’m able to pick up right where our pastor left off the previous Sunday.
3. Media will help your members in their own personal Bible study. I actually refer back to what my pastor preaches regularly. Many times I’ve written notes to friends and family members and have drawn on my pastor’s thoughts and expositions of Scripture.
I’ve also found myself reading a passage of Scripture and referring back to my pastor’s commentary on the subject. If you don’t have the time or ability to add video to your website, at least consider adding the pastor’s manuscript and/or sermon audio.
4. It keeps your members engaged. Adding media to your website not only allows members to catch up on sermons but also can create more community engagement in your church.
Consider posting photos of new members, so others can welcome them and help them get plugged in to a small group. Some churches post video testimonies of people who have recently been baptized.
A great way to share what’s happening in your kids’ and student ministries is to post photos and videos from the most recent VBS or DiscipleNow weekend. You can get your people excited about missions by posting media of mission team members leading people to Christ.
Adding media to your church website is another opportunity to share with others and show them what your church is all about.
MATT MORRIS (@MattMorris80) works at Ministry Brands in Knoxville, Tennessee.