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Over the years I have been in ministry, I have built quite a few websites for churches. In fact, not only have I made websites for the churches I have pastored, but I have developed websites for others.
Take that, along with the fact that I am always “rebuilding” the website of my current church, experimenting with what works and doesn’t work; I have come to learn a few things about what a church website must have to be effective. So I thought I would share with you some of the things I have learned so that you can learn from my mistakes and my experiments and make sure you have these church website “must haves” on your church website.
7 “Must Haves” For Every Church Website
Location And Service Times
I don’t know how many times I have gone to a church website and had trouble finding out where they were located or what times the services started. Usually, they have one or the other but somehow forgot to show both.
They might give their address, and phone number or they might say services are at 10:00 AM, but there is not both.
Make sure you made it easy and pronounced when and where your services are. Moreover, including a map.
This is a map to my church. Notice how it gives an ability to expand the map, get directions, and save it to use later.
This makes it simple for people to figure out how to get to your church.
I placed it on this website using the iframe code you can get from Google maps, but you can use the WP Google Maps plugin if you don’t use iframes. There is also a way you can get the HTML code from Google Maps and use straight HTML code if you like.
The next most important thing to do is to make sure you at least give 6 sample sermons for people to watch or at a very minimum, listen to.
Today’s young families listen on average to at least 6 sermons or watch 6 videos of church services before ever deciding to visit a church. (source)
It is important that you give them a sample of what attending your church is like. In all honesty, I recommend that you start having a live stream of your church services. We found that almost twice as many people watch our live stream than attend our church on any given Sunday. It has increased our reach and effectiveness of our ministry.
Tell Them What To Expect When They Come To Your Church
It used to be that most people knew what to expect when they came to church. A church was something that was at least in their background. However, that is not the case today.
Most people today have never darkened the door of a church. So if they are considering coming to your church, they need to know what is expected. Questions like
- Is there a dress code?
- Is there a nursery or children’s ministry?
- Will I be required to give?
- How long does the service last?
All of these things are things they will want to know before coming to church.
Give them an idea of what it will look like when a new person comes to the church. From the initial greeting to the final dismissal. Let them know.
Provide An Introduction To Your Pastor And The Staff
People want to know a little about the people they are possibly going to meet. Provide an introduction from your pastor, associate pastor, worship pastor, and children’s ministry leader. Things to include are…..
- A friendly picture
- A short bio of their education, degrees, and experience.
- Their role in the church and their vision of what God wants them to accomplish.
- Something personal like their wife, kids, and hobbies.
I think it is also a good idea to provide a welcome video from your pastor on your church’s homepage. Nothing works better than a warm invitation from the pastor to come to visit your church.
Children And Youth Ministry Information
People want to know if there is childcare for small children and children’s ministry for older children and youth. Make sure they know if they need to take their kids to children’s church, who will be in charge of them, and the screening process you use for your children’s workers. In our church, we sing a couple of children’s songs all together as a congregation before dismissing our children to Children’s church. Let the parents know how you care for their children as well as them.
Let People Know What Type Of Church You Are.
One of the biggest mistakes I see on church websites is the attempt to be all things to all people. It is time to get honest. You are not, and neither is my church. You have values and beliefs that are unique to your congregation.
Instead of trying to reach anyone, instead, embrace just reaching people that are looking for your type of church.
Give them a clear idea of what your church values and beliefs. If you are a hymn singing church, tell them. If you are conservative, tell them. If you are concerned with social issues, tell them. They will find out anyways.
Make Sure Your Church Website Has A Call To Action.
One of the biggest things I see lacking on most church websites is the absence of a call to action. They give all the information necessary but they do not actually ask for people to take a positive step forward.
Ask people to sign up for your newsletter. Ask them to send you their prayer requests. Ask them to make an appointment with the pastor. Ask them to do something that will help you connect with them beyond the website.
Don’t just leave it up to them to make a decision. Help them along in the process. You don’t have to be heavy-handed about it. Just ask them to make some type of connection.
Church Website Must Have
Well, there you have it. 7 things your church website must have.
I hope that this little article has helped you better design an effective church website for your church.