Churches put a lot of effort into the appearance of their buildings, particularly taking time to create inviting entrance foyers that enable people to see in and feel able to come in. We know the effect of a church building with closed, heavy, austere doors. We know the impact of walking into a building which is smelly, dated, needing refurbishment.
For a lot of people, the entrance or shop window into the local church is its social media provision. This includes websites, twitter accounts, Facebook, Instagram etc. What does your church’s internet and social media provision tell people about you.
In some cases, the difficult answer to the question is “not a lot.” You have to hunt around the site to find details of when the church gathers, there’s out date adverts for long gone events and there’s nothing about who is part of the church, its leadership and staff or how to contact them.
Church websites don’t have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler the better. I would encourage you to include the following.
- Easy to find information about when and where your main public gatherings take place
- Pictures, short biographies and contact details for key people
- Information about ministries and activities such as children’s work
- Something along the lines of “what to expect” or FAQs
- Lots of pictures and even video content that enable people to get a feel for what the church is like. Pictures of events inside the building and of people participating in the life of the church.
Use your Facebook page to tell a story about what is happening. Keep it up to date with news about upcoming events. Report back on activities. Include photos. Encourage people to comment and interact with their comments. Give it the feel of an online community.
Use twitter to connect with others including people within the community who are on the platform. Use it to promote events. However, use it conversationally as well. Talk to people, interact, share opinions, comment on the news (providing you don’t go beyond what is the official position of the church).
Give people specific responsibility for overseeing this area of church life, recognise their giftd and encourage them to serve. Take time to review your online content regularly as part of your leadership meeting agendas. Does your website and social media help people to connect, does it give an accurate reflection of who you are and what your church like (or wants to be like) and does it glorify Christ?