Although the drivers for my ideas and topics for this blog come from secular sources; you must not forget that your church's website is a marketing tool for the Kingdom of God. Just like how Jesus commanded us to be different from the world, so must your website. E-commerce sites do everything they can to highlight key features a product. One key feature of Christianity is Christ’s love, so show it on your website in as many ways as possible.
Jesus taught us "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35 (NIV). This hallmark command needs to be seen and felt on your website. Use your church’s unique qualities to showcase how you are showing Christ’s love to others. Some examples of this are:
What does your church do with the local and global community? Do you have fundraisers for charities, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or host community events? If it helps the less fortunate, it should be highlighted on your site.
Does your church offer counseling services? Counseling can be from full psychiatric care to marriage helper groups. Has your church ever brought in a specialist on a particular topic? Even hosting groups like a support group for Weight Watchers, Alcoholics Anonymous, or a smoking cessation group is demonstrating Christ’s love.
Showcase what prayer groups you might have at your church. Whether they are in conjunction with your counseling groups, or are separate, show the benefits they have had for your church and congregation.
What special programs do you have for people to help them connect and grow closer to God? Do you have support structures that also provide learning opportunities? Provide descriptions of not only what goes on, but the benefits of learning in community.
Although this is not a specific program or something your church does, it clearly displays the benefits of your church as a whole. Find examples of your target audience and ask them to talk about the changes in their life that occurred after joining your church. If they mention specific programs, make sure you insert hyperlinks in the text to those sections on your site. With their permission of course, add video and/or photographs of them. This not only associates a name with the story, but perhaps the user will recognize them and will want to talk directly to them. Your testimonial givers have the opportunity to not only spread their story on the website, but talk in detail one-on-one with a potential member.
With all of these ideas, I hope you can find a way to ensure the love of Christ shows through in blinding clarity on your website!
Examine your site and see if there are any dull areas you will want to enhance, or perhaps great examples you would like to replicate in other parts of the site. If you are building a new site, pray for guidance and work hard to infuse your site with that love. So go and show others how your website is different!
Photo courtesy of Matthew Bowden