By Kelli Kelly
Have you thought about your church’s presence on the web? Have you thought about how visitors will find out where you are or who you are?
According to Pew Research Center, “Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world.”
The majority of smartphone owners use their phone for navigation, breaking news, and to share or hear about community activities. Being mobile ready needs to be part of your church’s growth plan.
Sometimes church leaders assume only younger members are using mobile devices on a daily basis. But according to the statistic above, all ages and all demographics are using mobile devices to receive information.
Now is a good time for your church to evaluate what it needs to be mobile ready and have a welcoming website for potential guests.
With the upcoming Easter season, your church will have visitors. A study by Lifeway Research found at least 41 percent of Americans plan to attend Easter services.
People who don’t normally attend church, people looking for a new church home, and people attending with family will want to find a church that fills a need or void missing in their lives.
Most likely, the first place they’ll visit before they come to your campus is your church’s website. How does your website look and is it mobile responsive?
Here are five things you’ll want to make sure are on your website.
1. Church location and service times. Make sure these are clearly visible on your church’s homepage.
2. Staff names and titles. A list of staff should be available in the “About” section on your website. Being familiar with staff names will give guests a frame of reference when they visit. Photos and contact information for each staff is a plus.
3. Children and youth ministry information. Parents want to know if there is programing for their kids and that they will be safe and well cared for at church. This is a great place to use photos so guests can see the environment where there kids will be on Sunday morning.
4. Mission and values. Guests will want to know what your church is about and if their beliefs match your church’s core values. This is particularly helpful if your church’s denominational affiliation is not prominent in your name or on your website.
5. Sermon archives. Offer guests an opportunity to see what your church has been studying before they arrive. This is especially helpful if you are going through a specific series. You may also want to consider live streaming your sermons for members or guests who are not able to travel to the church.
In addition to these essential items, it’s also important for your website to be mobile friendly. If your church isn’t mobile ready, you still have time to prepare.
Lifeway has a service called twenty:28 to help you create your website using a template. The website templates are designed specifically with the church in mind, with a place for your calendar, upcoming events, sermon videos and audio, mission and values, and staff.
The template base has ease of use, and you don’t need to be a developer to use it. Twenty:28 also has tools to enable online giving through Web, app, or text.
The Church’s mission is to go and make disciples, and one way to reach the masses is with a presence on the Web? People are searching for answers and “the Truth.”
In John 14:6, Jesus says to us: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus has sacrificed for us to have eternal life. The local church needs to spread this message, and using the online platforms available today is one channel to reach the broken, battered, and bruised.
KELLI KELLY (@KelliKelly16) is manager of manager of technology and strategic partnerships at Lifeway.