With the average American spending 32 hours per month on the Internet in 2018, it’s obvious that most people are using the Internet in the U.S. Whether it’s to connect with friends, shop, browse or Google something – people are looking to the Internet as a solution for many of their questions and tasks, daily. Hurting and searching people are also turning to the web for answers into life’s questions and purpose; a great opportunity for churches. So how exactly can churches get involved, reach out, and use the web to fulfill their mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
The answer is simple– with commitment.
Most churches have realized by now that having a web presence is important and have made some sort of attempt to get a website together. The issue is that once a Church launches their website they check it off their “to-do list” and forget about it. The site then floats in cyber-space without reach or spiritual return.
The key to an effective Internet Ministry is making it a serious church ministry with goals, objectives and a heart to see lives changed. This type of attention and passion will breathe commitment into an Internet Ministry; which is key in the effectiveness of a Church’s web presence.
Ok, so you have passion and you have commitment, what’s next?
Once your Church has established a group of members (more than just one person is best) that have a passion to use the Internet to share the Gospel, it’s time to build a foundation and set some goals. Your foundation is a Church website that will enable your ministry to have three characteristics:
3. Return Resource
Reach is essential in a successful Church website. It’s what ties the website to people. To create Reach in your Church’s website you need to make sure that there is Social Media connectivity. What is that you may ask? It’s the ability to push your website’s messages into social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This connects with people on those platforms, where they spend most of their time online.
There are a few ways to create Social Media connectivity, but the best way is to be sure your website is built on a Blog structure such as WordPress. The Blog structure will allow you to publish messages frequently through the blog and simultaneously publish links to those messages onto social media platforms through plugin technology. Be sure that the website provider you’re working with knows this is a requirement.
To establish Relevance it’s absolutely necessary for the Church website to have a CMS (Content Management System). The CMS will allow your church to add content frequently and keep the content constantly relevant with current events.
Making your Church website a Return Resource for visitors can be as easy as publishing announcements and upcoming events on the homepage. But don’t stop there – get creative. What about an interactive prayer request page? Or a “Next Steps for New Believers” page that church members can lead people to? The possibilities are endless and this is where your Internet Ministry team gets to be creative and have fun reaching out into the web!
So the foundation is set with a website that has Reach, Relevance and acts as a Return Resource. Now it’s time to set goals. These goals are completely unique to each church ministry. Take the time to brainstorm with the Internet Ministry team what you would like to see happen with the ministry in six months, a year, 2 years, etc., then put it on the calendar and create steps to achieve your goals.
Some excellent goals for every Church Internet ministry include the following:
- Train church members to use Social Media as a witnessing tool
- Come up with creative ways to get members to visit the website like a poll or contest
- Create a Church Facebook and Twitter account and get every member to friend & follow!
- Get a few pastors and church leaders to regularly publish blog posts that people will want to read
Starting a church Internet ministry doesn’t have to be scary. Where there is a will, and some good old commitment, there is a way! God’s blessings on your Internet endeavors!
“And as always, remember; Jesus doesn’t make websites but that doesn’t mean He can’t use them!” – Free Church Websites