When you think of church ministries and websites, you probably thought of one church with multiple ministries all in one website. It is a rare gem to find multiple churches partnering with one ministry; along with a good website to support it. So how do you handle this sometimes politically charged task of creating and managing a site that has multiple hands in it? Let’s examine some possible approaches to this delicate matter.
This article was inspired by Mark Driscoll’s sermon on John the Baptizer. He did an amazing job of comparing and contrasting two prominent preachers, Jesus Christ and John the Baptizer.
- John: abstained from bread & alcohol, ate bugs & honey, wore strange clothes, lived out in the woods, and had a confrontational style of preaching.
- Jesus: ate bread & wine, wore normal attire, went to people’s houses, kept company with tax collectors and prostitutes, and preached in a kinder gentler manner.
Yet both men incessantly praised each other and preached the same good news of salvation. If churches today partnered with other believers that had other approaches, the synergistic effects would be awesome. So let’s dig in:
If you are familiar with multi-site churches, the notion of having a ministry supported by multiple communities and congregations does not seem all too odd. Yet those multi-site churches often have a senior pastor that oversees everything across the board. You have an obvious leader and decision maker that can guide the ministry to success without getting mired in debates. So how can a multi-church ministry website thrive? It can be achieved through prayer, cooperation, and clear authoritative goals.
Notice I did not say one authoritative leader; it is goals that should drive the site forward. Even more important, those goals should have their entire being rooted in scripture. If your committee members and leaders have a clear goal to work toward, it is often easy to determine if decisions for your website take your closer or further away. When several decisions seem to have equal merit, and prayer fails to provide clear guidance, you can experiment with your options and see which works best. Through analytics tools, every click on a website can be tracked. Depending on the amount of traffic you get, within a few days or weeks, you can determine if a decision increased or decreased conversions on your site.
Aside from metrics, creating a unique site separate from the churches can help tremendously. Give it its own identity (domain name and tag line), site structure, content, and branding. Although there will undoubtedly be a page of links highlighting all of the churches involved, make the site primarily about the goals of the ministry. Of course many lessons learned from individual church websites can be implemented. Use powerful imagery & testimonies to motivate your users, and then provide clear calls to action so they can act. Whether it is to give time, money, or prayer; give your visitors something to do on every page.
Action Item: Examine an existing, or plans for a future, multi-church ministry. If you make Jesus the center of the ministry, and the goals the center of the website, you have greatly increased your chances for success. Document your goals, pray for strategies, implement industry-standard tactics for using your website, and review your analytics to measure your success!