In the business world we often say that if you aren’t online, then you don’t exist. This is now becoming the case with churches as well. A website can be your church’s best employee – a website doesn’t complain, works 24 hours a day, seven days a week and only costs pennies a day. Although this was written specifically for churches, the information could be applied to most organizations. I often come across small churches that have no online presence. When asked why not, churches often offer one of the following reasons:
- We don’t have the money
- We don’t have the people
- We don’t know where to start
Here’s how to overcome these reasons:
Choose a domain name and hosting service.
A domain name is simply your website address. For example, www.yourchurchname.org When creating a website you want to pick a domain matches the name of your church and since a church is an organization, you want to stick with the .org extension. A great place to check for possible domain names is Namechecker. This site is great because you can also check to see if your name is available on social media as well.
Your website also needs a place to live online. This is often referred to as a hosting service. Paying for online space is now cheaper than ever. Most small organizations can get online for less than $5 a month. This includes the cost of the domain name and the space for the website. In most cases, this also includes email accounts.
Build your website
Once you have the domain name and hosting for your church website you still need someone to build it and manage it. There are several free website builders out there that make it very easy to build a website.
At Chrisp Media, we recommend the WordPress content management system (CMS). The WordPress CMS is free, easy to manage and powers almost 25 percent of all new websites. With WordPress and with a little knowledge, you can customize the look and feel or chose from dozens of free WordPress themes designed specifically for churches.
Your church website should include the following pages/sections:
- Home Page – This page is the front door of your website and should list service times, address, and contact info as well as highlight any upcoming events and latest announcements.
- About Us – This page should include information about the church, such as mission, vision and philosophy. This page can also include key church personnel, like the pastor.
- Calendar of Events – This page should list all upcoming events and at a minimum, it should list church services and meetings.
- Announcements – Most churches already have a weekly bulletin. This page will just put that bulletin online.
- Sermons – When people are evaluating a church to attend, they often want to hear/see what service sounds/looks like. At a minimum, this page should include a sample sermon. If sermons are recorded weekly, a downloadable copy of the sermon each week. This page could also include a weekly live stream of the church service.
- Giving – This page will allow people to give their tithes and offerings online using Paypal or another electronic payment source.
- Contact Us – This page should have a contact form as well as an online map and photo of the church in addition to a phone number should someone wish to call.
- Social Media – A church should have some sort of social online presence, such as a Facebook page because you can reach new people as well as keep your membership engaged. Your website should link to your social media pages.
This list represents the minimum features a church website should have. Other possible features include church blog or individual ministry pages.
Five people, 15 minutes
Getting all this working may seem like a lot but after a few hours of set up it can easily be managed with five people committing to 15 minutes a week. The following roles are needed:
- Social Media Role – This person oversees the church social media accounts, such as Facebook. He/she posts all important church events and announcements to various social media platforms, including any sermon audio and announcement pages.
- Announcements Role – This person posts the announcements to the church website. For privacy reasons certain information such as birthdays, anniversaries and prayer requests are generally not be included.
- Sermon Role – This person will ensure that any sermon audio/video is uploaded to the website and can easily be shared on social media platforms.
- Calendar Role – Although many of these items will be in the announcements, this person will ensure that regular and special upcoming events are listed on the online calendar.
- Developer/Maintenance Role – This person will set up the website, ensure that it is running smoothly, troubleshoot any technical problems, regularly backup the website so information is not lost and help secure the website. This person will also work to ensure that any graphics used will be formatted properly for both the website and any social media. Oftentimes, this is the one-team member that requires a specific skill set. If you church does not have this person, Chrisp Media can provide this role for your church. Contact us today to find out how.
Your website can be the first impression a potential new member may see. Once you have one, your work and mission could reach a larger audience.