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In Tuesday’s article titled Supercharging Sermons with a Blog, before describing the idea of sermon blogs I casually mentioned what I believe are three primary purposes of a church website:
- To help people looking for a church home.
- To assist people already attending the church to know what ministries and activities are available for them.
- To help people grow spiritually by providing additional resources that complement the services and ministries.
Frank Johnson of Strategic Digital Outreach picked up on that aspect of the article and expressed a different point of view in his blog article called The Purpose of a Church Website. To summarize his points:
- There are better ways to accomplish the second and third purposes than a publicly available church website.
- Most unbelievers don’t care about our ministries because they can’t envision a time when they would ever want to be involved in those programs.
- With limited resources and budget, efforts to maintain a church website will naturally gravitate to those items which serve already-existing members and attendees while items which are targeted toward unbelievers (which a church website is uniquely poised to deliver) will fall by the wayside.
This sparked what I think has been an interesting exchange between the two of us about the purpose of a church website. I commend Frank on his passion for seeing the Gospel shared with unchurched people. We need more advocates for online evangelism like him. I also compliment him on the graceful way he expressed his opinion. I refer to that as “disagreeing without being disagreeable.” With all the division within Christianity today, it’s refreshing for two brothers in Christ to be able to share differences of opinion in this fashion.
You can read our full discussion in The Purpose of a Church Website comments.
What do think are the primary purposes of a church website? Does your church try to keep Christianese and other insider language off its site so it’s more welcoming and understandable to unchurched people? Can a church website be a resource to its members and still be appealing to unchurched people or will trying to serve both purposes cause it to fail in both?
In His Service,