Kingdom Supporting Websites - Church

Sites that offer support for local church organisation. This might include information about church groups and events etc.

Local churches often have higher aspirations than their size should probably allow. Whilst there are bigger churches that can offer much more via the Internet the local church is going to be very restricted.

People focused

One problem I often see with church websites is that they focus on buildings and programmes more than people. I don't think this is intentional but it happens nevertheless.

The Internet is simply technology that allows people to connect together (network). Our focus must always be on the people.

Average Sized Churches (e.g. approx 60 members and below).

Churches must be realistic about what they can achieve. When it comes to websites it is far better to achieve something small well than something large badly. People will judge a church by what they see of its website.

Average sized churches need a website that can do the following (in order of importance - in my opinion).

  • Provide a means of contacting the church.
    This must include email contact and contact must be as simple to make as possible. I understand the problem of spam well (I get hundreds of spam emails every day) but if we restrict access to the church on the off chance that someone might abuse that access then we are not being very Christlike. After all we don't stop everyone attending church because someone might misbehave do we? I also personally don't think that email forms are the answer. A lot of people want to use their email systems and anything that stops this is off putting.
  • Clearly display how you get to (and in to) the church. There are plenty of mapping sites that will help people find your church so make use of them. Information on parking is also very valuable. If you expect people to enter by a side-door then explain this on the site. Also it is a good idea to explain how people can come for worship. What time should they arrive? How should they dress? Will their be a collection and should they contribute? What kind of worship can they expect.
  • Information on groups that they could join.
    This would include all groups that are associated with the church. There should be information on who to contact and how to contact them (should allow for email if possible). People will need to know what the group does, what its meetings are like, etc.
  • Information on baptisms, weddings and funerals
    The majority of people still have contact with the church via these big life changing experiences. It should be easy for people to find out from your church how they can get access to the support that your church provides.
  • Notices
    Having the church notices on a website can help people to see what is going on and when it is going on. Smaller churches don't need to worry so much about calendars because notices will provide this information. However lists of dates can be useful. This will all depend on finding someone who can edit the site.
  • Other
    Once you have covered these things then you can then include information about the history of the church, it's denomination and what it believes, etc.

Larger Churches (over 60 members)

If your churches is huge then you are probably going to be needing a site that is more like an H.Q. site.

You would expect to see all of the above items on a site.

Plus:

  • Events
    A system for listing events and with possible way of signing up for an event.
  • Prayer board
    This is one of the most requested feature on a church website.
  • Interactive features
    These might be features that allow a certain degree of interaction between the site and its users. Perhaps the ability to interact with the leadership of the church or just with information on the site itself.
  • Community features
    Ways of enabling people to interact with each other through the website are always popular. There are many generalised sites that appeal to everyone but sometimes having a purpose (e.g. church, church groups, worship leading groups, etc) for interacting can prove popular and helpful.
  • Sharing information
    This might mean sermons or group study notes or meeting agendas etc.
  • Other
    Bigger churches provide opportunities for more people to get involved in running the site. A team of editors can help a great deal to keep a site lively and useful.