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Thursday, December 22, 2005

8 Things Pastors Need To Know About E-Ministry

Internet_1 This comes from a great article over at Pastors.com.  My thanks to Effective Web Ministry Notes for the synopsis:

  1. Your target audience for church growth is Internet-savvy.
  2. Your Web site will be your “first impression” for many people.
  3. If you’re not on the Web, you don’t exist to many people.
  4. Seekers will visit your Web site before attending your services.
  5. A whole generation exists that will seek “religion” online.
  6. The Web site is too critical to be run by a volunteer.
  7. You can’t afford a cheap site.
  8. People are viewing your current Web site right now.

I thought this was a pretty good list.  Any thoughts?

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December 22, 2005 in Technology in the Church | Permalink

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Please, Please, PLEASE keep your church website updated....DAILY!

It says far more about your church than you ever will be able to say about it!

Posted by: Phil Hoover-Chicago | Dec 22, 2005 1:28:35 PM

It KILLS me to see churches not take their web presence seriously - especially start-up churches. That is the one element that you can totally control and completely form around your vision.

Posted by: Chris | Dec 22, 2005 1:44:19 PM

A first impression is a lasting impression.

Is there anyone on this blog that could help in starting my own web site ministry?

Posted by: Evangelist Jeff | Dec 22, 2005 1:50:05 PM

I have to take issue with #6. I believe that a qualified and passionate volunteer will do a far better job at managing the website than would a professional web developer who knows very little about your church and who cares in rough proportion to your next billing date.

There are online tools widely available that allow non-programmers to manage website content without having any special software.

Have a designer develop the look and feel, but let your church secretary or volunteers do the rest.

Posted by: Billy Cox | Dec 22, 2005 1:51:01 PM

Billy,

I agree with you. Unless you have a staff in the dozens, find that volunteer who can REALLY do this, and they will do a great job.

Posted by: Peter Hamm | Dec 22, 2005 2:39:16 PM

For me being an e-commerce junky... I dont know if I agree. Unless your site provides some type of meaningful service to the site visitor, then having anything but a simple informational site may hold up more than enough resources. Based on feedback, most church site visitors want to do a few things:
1. Get a feel for the church culture - done by having simple professional content
2. When your services are
3. Your focus and mission

Trying to create a site with lots of news bulletins, daily changes, etc... can be quite difficult.

Anyways - I think this assumes the church is larger with a good number of staff.

Posted by: ScottV | Dec 22, 2005 4:21:40 PM

I think I take 1/2 issue with #6. It might be that design and design updating should be done by a professional, but keeping content up-to-date is really good volunteer ministry.

In regard to this internet savvy target audience, yes I agree. But (according to the post-modern prophets) they are also highly relational. For that reason, I say we shouldn't limit ourselves to electronic responses to electronic inquiries. Whenever someone offers more information (a phone # in particular) - they are giving us permission, perhaps even asking for a real live person to connect with. Electronic ministry can make us a bit too casual about our relational responsibilities to the gospel.

Also, I think churches should consider web-based ministry management systems. There are several companies that offer some great products. With such a system, the public page provides multiple ways for seekers and newcomers to actually connect to your church (rather than just gather info). People who are part of the online community can have their own home pages, discussions within the various groups they are part of, get instant updates about their own activities based on the groups they are part of, communicate electronically with their groups without having to set up multiple folders in their e-mail, check their giving record, book a meeting room, on-and-on. Perhaps the best part of having a web-based ministry management system is that it releases ministry to the laity better than anything I’ve seen. People can do all kinds of things from the comfort of home that either had to be done previously by coming down to church or by someone on the church staff. Amazing possibilities!!!

Posted by: Wendi | Dec 22, 2005 4:31:39 PM

Amen to #6!!!

Posted by: Rob N | Dec 24, 2005 3:11:16 PM

I sell and manage web sites for enterprise level organizations and mom and pop shops the key is management. Gaining the freedom to update and keep your own site, is worth it's weight in gold.

I would suggest to new start ups or existing sites to seek a good Content Management System first and determine if it offers everything you currently need and will need in the future.

A Content Management System is vital for any organization and you don't have to spend allot of money to obtain one.

We're just now looking into offering fully functional blogs like this one too.

Posted by: BeHim | Dec 24, 2005 10:39:04 PM

If I may suggest a simple yet effective START for a church web presence:

Go to www.forministry.com and read about the FREE webservice they host. You get your own domain name and add the content, but you use the templates that were specifically designed for ministries and the information we want to post. You may add or delete pages, upload your own images, and even include daily Bible verses, activity calendars, logins for sensitive information, and other bells & whistles.

We use this site and we are delighted with their services! FREE!!

Plus, the templates and the updating are VERY fool-proof, allowing your every-day computer user to create a site.

However, lets still keep in mind that we should select individuals with the passion, skills, and zeal to maintain.

Monica

Posted by: Monica | Dec 26, 2005 7:41:56 PM

Number one thing to remember is that most people still prefer interacting with people.

A personal invite in person, and at worst over phone is still more effective that email, newsletters etc..

Posted by: Franklin Reeves | Dec 26, 2005 9:10:54 PM

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