Does your church have an outward looking focus? All churches do, in their own particular ways. Try integrating one of these ideas in to your church website and maybe you will be surprised how much your church website has to offer as a tool for reaching out to people.
As always, the list below isn't exhaustive, so please feel free to add your comments in the box below. If you like this list, please do share it on social media.
The Christian faith has always been spread through the stories of God working in people's lives. Whether you choose video, a short story, an interview or other format, testimonies are a great way of communicating the way God has been working in your church. They help people see what kind of church you are and also help people connect with God. At the end of the day we are all God's children walking through life with and growing in our faith as we also Him to transform our lives. The way God chooses the ordinary people ... the way He is with us in the darkest times ... the way He works through other people ... all these and more can be powerful themes in testimony that help people move on in their faith.
There are various ways you could use video really well on your church website. These possible ways are in to particular order.
- A video introduction from a church leader with your mission and vision.
- An invitation to one of your key events - people are more likely to come if they have seen a video first.
- Testimonials (following on from Tip 1)
- A quick look at one of your services. We suggest a 3-5 minute video.
- Explain how things work. Use your imagination here. Put yourself in the shoes of a visitor. What can you do to help them feel more comfortable.
- An interview or Q & A. This could be with on of your church leaders, about your church in general.
- Teaching - some people prefer to watch the whole of a teaching session on video rather that audio or text.
- Launch a fundraising campaign
What are your churches key beliefs and doctrines? You may be part of a national group or denomination - that's important to make clear. Beyond that, what are your churches key founding beliefs? You may wish to keep this very short and simple. For some churches, it may be important to go in to depth. A word of caution though. This type of statement can easily divide churches into categories, making division is not only evident, exclusion a very realistic possibility. Who are you trying to reach? Who are you going to put off? Try thinking about this statement from the point of view of a potential new church atyendee. If we are truly the Body of Christ, shouldn’t we act like it? Maybe you could find a way to make your beliefs clear just through a mission statement and then some practical ways that you serve your community. Either way, this is one to give some careful thought to.
Has your church been through a vision building process together? How have you done that? Many churches have been through this process and arrived at a short, clear statement explaining what their church is about. This process is usually done through prayer and discussion, and has involved the different parts of the church membership. There are lots of good reasons why it is believed this is an effective way to communicate the way you see God wants your church to work within the communty and wider area.
When should I arrive? Where should I park? How should I dress? How long will church last? Is there childcare for my kids?
What do your potential visitors need to know? The list goes on. This idea could also be used to explore a study theme, introduce a group such as a youth group or indeed for a number of different purposes.
Facebook Events are a great way to blast your events out to the social world, and you can mobilise those members of your church who are on facebook to help spread the word. Read these help pages to get started. These can be set up as part of your churches facebook page. There are also plenty of creative ways that you can use other social media platforms to publicise events.
These can all, of course be promoted and shouted about through your church website itself.
Eventbrite is also a great way to distribute tickets to your churches events, and it's free if the events are free themselves.
Photography ... Using Social Media ... Writing ... Logo design ... Slideshows ... Artwork ... Video ... Animation ... Infographics ... Word Salads ...
What special skills do people in your church membership have? Look until you find them. They will be there! These people are your digital superstars. Take advantage of any voluntary time they may be able to offer. Showcare what they can do on your website. It will make your website more characterful and unique.
"Where two are gathered in my name..." does that include on the internet? There are many churches now that only meet online. That means they may exist entirely as a facebook group, or within their own website. It is possible for your church to use groups on social media channels as an extension to their normal church meetings or groups. Your church may wish to explore this as a way of supporting people on their walk of faith. You may find using this approach helps you reach and provide support people who are lonely, vulnerable or feel excluded by 'normal' church. Churches Alive Online also offer a full Social Media Community site as an extension to your website. This can also be accessed by a dedicated mobile app. Take a look at our Bolt Ons page for more details.
Most churches feel the need to have some kind of oversight in this area to ensure vulnerable people are safeguarded and protected.
There are so many different types of resources that can be added to your church website. It's easier than you think to coordinate a small team to create a resource here. Why not ask one of your I.T. Superheroes, or ask one of your church groups to work on this together? Don't forget you will need to respect copyright. Remember, it's quite possible these resources can be interactive, with visitors to your website commenting and responding to them. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- A prayer guide
- A bible study on a specific theme
- A lent study
- Inspiration photos
- Verses of scripture that have spoken to us
- Our favourite hymns / songs
This could be a challenge lasting a week, a year, or any interval of time. Try creating a page that explains and then kicks off the challenge and then ask people to respond with comments. For example, for the next 10 days you want everyone to invite someone they meet to a one of the church events in your mission week. Of course you will probably want to link up with this on social media. What hashtag are you going to use? Will it be launched on your facebook page or group? Who will be responsible for that side of things. Here are a few more ideas to get you started.
- Advent challenge - challenge your church members to a prayer challenge throughout advent
- Lent challenge - ask a team make and upload a video meditation for every day of lent.
- Following a biblical theme, challenge church members to read a particular part of the bible or take part in a particular form of prayer
- Following up on a teaching series, ask your church members to read and respond to part of your website
- Serving the local community in a specific way.