I went for coffee with a pastor and his youth leader a few weeks ago and we were discussing how their church might use social media to reach more lives. When I brought up the subject of a church website the pastor said he was convinced they didn’t need one. His youth leader was even more adamant: “Why do we need a website if we have a Facebook page?”
It’s a common belief that if a church has a Facebook page it doesn’t need a website. So I wanted to share with you a testimony email I received about what a new website (in this case, by FaithHighway) did for a new pastor and his church:
Letter From a Pastor
“We were really struggling with our website. It was not just dated, it was archaic, clunky, unattractive and difficult to navigate…we wanted to get our website up to date for it to be effective.
As a new staff member at the church, I just wanted to not be embarrassed to give out our web address. I knew that our site was basically useless in reaching the very demographic that our church had brought me to reach.
In order to fix the situation, we began speaking to faithHighway…it proved to be a catalyst for us…
What came about was a movement from simply developing a “digital foyer” inviting others to visit our church, to an entire vision of web-based ministry. It caused our leadership to look hard at who we are, what we are about and how to reach our target demographic.
We developed a team whose purpose and vision is to attract believers and unbelievers to an authentic relationship with Christ.
We are so grateful to faithHighway for the spark that they provided that has launched us far beyond the status quo… We don’t want to settle for a cool, clean website anymore. We want to see how we can create an online tool to see lives changed!”
Re-read the paragraph that I put in bold. Having a new, modern and functional website had such a powerful effect on the church that he resulted in “an entire vision of web-based ministry.” Not only that, it also forced the leadership of the church to take a hard look at who they are, what they are about and how to reach their target demographic.
A website did that. It got them excited. It forced them to think through their mission. It, in a real sense, rejuvenated their church not just in the digital space, but also in their physical space.
And it became a catalyst for an entire web-based ministry.
Why Facebook Won’t Do
There’s one very important reason Facebook simply won’t do as your church’s digital home base. Simply put, you don’t own Facebook. Facebook owns Facebook. And that means Facebook can change the rules whenever they want (and they do often).
How important is your ministry, mission and the lives you’re trying to reach? I’d bet your ministry is too important to put in the hands of Facebook. Michael Hyatt has an article titled “Don’t Build Your Social Media House on a Rented Lot.” In that article Hyatt illustrates my point this way:
“A few years ago a friend was in the middle of a promotion for his annual conference. He used Twitter as the primary means for connecting with his tribe, but then Twitter inexplicably suspended his account.
The problem was eventually fixed, but it hurt his attendance in the meantime. That was the first time I saw a real downside to building a house on a rented lot.”
When you put too much trust in Facebook or Twitter you’re going to get let down probably sooner than later. Your church’s website won’t be a perfectly stable platform, but it’ll always belong to your church. It’s the best place online for your church to be represented. It’s why you want to drive people to your website from social media.
Your Digital Epicentre
Think if it this way.
In the physic sphere your church building is the century of your faith-community. It’s where people connect at least once a week in community. But your church might have extensions of its community beyond the church wall.
- It may have a youth night at a local community centre on Friday nights
- It may have a women’s study at someone’s house on a Tuesday morning
- It may have a network of home cell groups taking place across the city on Wednesday evenings
- It may have a mens breakfast club on Saturday mornings
- It may help out at the downtown mission on Saturday evenings.
But your church, your physical building is the epicentre of your faith-community. It’s where people come back to connect and grow together. It’s where you invited the people you connect with back to after you meet them and establish relationships at the various ministry outlets.
And that is exactly how it works for countless churches who already understand the important role their website has for their digital ministry.
- It might connect with women’s groups on Pinterest
- It might connect with young adults on Facebook
- It might connect with teenagers on Instagram
- It might connect with men on Twitter
But no matter what, your website is the epicentre. It’s where the content comes from. It’s where the invites should lead to. It’s where email addresses should be requested and an email list for the church should grow from there.
It truly is your church’s epicentre for its digital ministry.
Question: What’s preventing you from updating your church’s website or from getting a new one? You can leave a comment by clicking here.