A web team is not a secluded bunch of techno-geeks that should not communicate with the rest of your church. Digital communications are becoming one of the most essential functions of the modern church. Your leadership needs to realize that their inclusion in many facets of the church is what will help you flourish. Meetings and discussions should rarely occur without their knowledge or input.
I am not trying to make life more difficult for church communications folks. I know your time is precious and I do not want to invent new meetings for you to attend. That said, you are vital to the church’s success. Those meetings will be a great source of inspiration. Visiting these spaces will show opportunities for analog to digital transformations. But since you cannot be everywhere, here are a few spaces I think you will benefit most from.
Your ushers and greeters have more contact with visitors than anyone else in the church. They hear all the questions and comments that do not make it to your pastor. Thus, they are a wealth of information about what should be on your website. They are asked where the restrooms are just as often as they are asked about other aspects of the church. Compile a list of their most commonly asked questions and you will have a great starting point for several projects. It may be better representing your worship style, better identifying where to park, or bigger signs that point visitors to the nearest bathroom.
The church team needs to visit the children’s ministry every so often. Why? The future of the church is there. They will not only get to interact with the next generation of volunteers, you will see the frustrations of the parents. Are they bombarded with paper flyers? Ask if they would like them in a digital format. Are they late for Sunday school? Perhaps a SMS text reminder service would help. Plus you have the advantage that many youth pastors are younger pastors with more willingness to try new ideas.
What group of people is better to ask about why they joined a church, than people that just joined one? Have a digital team representative sit in on a new membership class. Ask them if they would take a paper or digital survey about their experience. Find out what their questions are. What was the biggest obstacle to joining? What confused them when they walked in the door? Their input should greatly influence the content of any “want to join our church” page.
In the previous areas, I asked that you talk with people at the “grassroots” level. Now I ask that you hear what the leadership of your church has to say. This is where you learn what strategic spin you need to put on our tactical solutions. Leadership may see a need to increase volunteering over the next year. You can incorporate this theme into all the other areas I mentioned before. The welcome area of your site may have information about getting connected by volunteering. The children’s ministry can have calls to action asking parents to help out once a month in Sunday school. Direct new members can to a page that outlines the volunteer opportunities available in the church. Regardless, you see how you can apply a strategic direction to all areas of your website. If you are not in meetings to hear about those strategic directions, your web team may be in the dark.
Get involved with other areas of the church. Stop writing code or posting on social media and get to know the reasons why you are doing those activities. You will find inspiration for new ideas and features everywhere you go. If you are not finding that to be true, attend meetings and hear about the decisions your church is making. Focus on the areas mentioned above, but consider all. You may find the next big opportunity your church web team can enjoy!
Photo courtesy of John Nyberg