We were a family who was ready to visit a church.
For a Christmas break, our small new church development decided to take two weeks off. Many of our leaders needed time to travel and visit with family.
We got to visit another church for the first time, giving us fresh insights to help improve your hospitality this year.
We did not visit this one because of a really bad mistake on their church website
The Church Website: A great first impression
Many potential visitors will find your church webpage via an internet search.
That is where we started.
We came across a well-designed church website.
It had a
- nice layout,
- links to social media,
- sermon archives,
- easy to navigate links
- photos of church life featuring people of all ages.
These first impressions gave me a positive feel for the congregation as a potential church to visit.
The church included times and dates of all their principal worship gatherings. We knew that we’d be able to make their morning service.
But then it failed
But that’s when we noticed problem #1:
There was no address, map, or description of where the church met.
I could not determine where this church was located or where it had its principle meetings.
I couldn’t even tell what state this particular church was in.
I couldn’t tell what country on the planet this church was located.
The website had no information about where the church was located.
- I checked the about us page.
- I checked the contact us page.
- I checked the footers of every page.
I discovered one way to keep a potential guest from visiting your church: don’t give out your address.
Assume the best
Based on the quality of the rest of the website, I can assume the best of them that they will fix their website.
I did fill out a contact form with my question – where are you? (2015 Update: NO ANSWER).
The church website had all sorts of good information throughout and had a level of complexity to tell me that they had put some thought into it.
I can assume that this was a minor oversight in their work on their church website. But the impact of this oversight can harm the church’s mission to reach people.
This isn’t the first time
I know how I use church websites when I travel.
I look for service times and addresses.
Churches without that information won’t even get a visit from me.
I once visited a different church website with the same problem.
They had a deeper problem: it took me several pages to discover what time was their meeting.
I visited another church website and couldn’t find the time of their Christmas Eve services, so we did not go. They accidentally kept us away.
That shouldn’t be.
Coaching Corner – the One Thing
I’m sure your church has it’s own website. (If it does not, consider these conversation ideas if you need persuade your leaders to get one).
Do a quick check of your church’s home page.
- Is your street address and country where your church meets visible on the home page or any other page (as in a footer widget, header widget, sidebar widget?)
- Are your service times and days clearly on the home page?