Ineffective Church Websites

Posted by admin | Church planting | Wednesday 19 May 2010 2:52 pm

Check out this article from the Christian Examiner. Nowadays, the first place a newcomer looks for a church is the Web. So much for the good ole’ Yellow Pages. My website is fairly static (I am not into blogging, yet), but if you have a church, keep your site up to date and interactive. Underlining in the article is mine.

Press on!

Dave

Article from May 2010 issue of Christian Examiner – www.christianexaminer.com

Study: Most church websites ineffective

By Mark Woods – ABP News Service

DIDCOT. England

Churches, by and large, still haven’t entered the digital age when it comes to evangelism—but those who have are reaping huge rewards, according to a new survey.

A poll conducted by Christian technology company Endis, which provides the Church Insight Web platform and has offices in the USA and UK, indicates that when churches deliberately focus Web sites on attracting outsiders they see a corresponding rise in the number of non-Christian visitors. But many focus on the internal life of the church, and their effectiveness is reduced.

Endis polled 1.600 churches for its DigiMission  project, asking questions about church size, the Web site’s target readership, the number of Christians and non-Christians coming to events, and the influence of the Web site on their decision to attend.

The 120 churches that responded reported more than 1,300 non-Christian visitors in the past 12 months to church events, services and discipleship courses through the Web, an average of 11 visitors per church. For Christian visitors the figure is 1,600, an average of 14.

Among the survey’s key findings were that most churches’ Web sites were not created with the unchurched in mind. Only half offer an outline of the gospel, and only a quarter provide testimonies of people who have come to faith in God.

Endis spokesman Geoff Knott said there were clear differences in the effectiveness of different Web sites.

“When we looked at the successful sites, we found that they had the gospel on their site, and that people were able to book into events like Alpha courses,” he said. “Interactivity is important, but we didn’t find that blogs or forums did much. The other thing that was very successful was stories.”

It was a noticeable that larger churches were less effective than smaller ones at attracting unchurched people.

“Smaller churches of between 100 and 150 are very good at getting guests in. I think they push harder, using Google Adwords for instance – they’re trying to grow. Are we losing our mission edge as we grow bigger?

He stressed that good content and ease of use were far more important than sophisticated image or a multiplicity of functions.

Tony Whittaker, U.K. coordinator for Internet Evangelism Day said, “They are often mainly ‘brochureware- static informational pages with little interactive comment or frequently updated material. . . . they present the church as a building where there is a program of meetings. But the greater Biblical truth is that the church is a big family in that community, which happens to meet together from time to time as families do. In other words, it’s people, not programs. There are many ways of showing this on the Web, like including photos of members.

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