Church websites often start with one person who knows a little HTML, and the guidance of “go make us a website”. However as more people in the church get involved and interested in what the website can do, decisions become very complicated. So how do you form that winning team? A few key players in your church can meet and help your website exceed the expectations of everyone at your church.
Although every church is unique, certain areas need to be involved in the decision making process for your website. Note that this is for church website meetings, not larger committee meetings where the webmaster would be present. Separate meetings that discuss only the website should be held, and the key players for those meetings are:
Webmaster / Web Team
Of course the person who has the overall pulse of the site should be involved, but the lead developer and lead designer (if they exist) should be present. This is where the web team can connect with their customers and co-workers.
This may be your pastor, various council members, and/or church elders. They are the ones that help guide the overall mission and vision of the church. When you worked out your business goals, these would be the people that approved them. Note that you do not need everyone from that process, but remember; whomever you choose will be your final sign-off approver on strategic web decisions. Thus they should have the authority to make such a decision, and be web savvy enough to understand the majority of topics discussed at the meetings.
This person or group oversees all communications outside of the church. This includes off-line advertisements, TV and radio spots, and even what is posted on any signs outside your church. In many cases, the web person/group would report to this entity; as the website is a form of external communication.
This person or group has control of all communications inside the church. They are the central distribution point for announcements and scheduling events. A major task for this part of your church staff is the creation and printing of your weekly bulletins.
Few things happen without money to back. Although positions on your web team and various committees may be on a volunteer basis; parts of your web strategy do cost money. For many smaller churches, your domain name and hosting expenses will be under $100. However services such as video hosting and online advertising campaigns can be quite expensive.
I strongly urge that you start each meeting with prayer, asking God for His guidance and wisdom. Pray that you keep personal opinions and agendas out of the meeting, and do what is best to further the kingdom.
To paraphrase: you need the money person, the people that handle internal and external communication, a leadership figure that has the authority to make final decisions, and God to help you discern the best path. With that core team, you can guide the vast majority of your church’s website. You will need to bring in additional people or groups necessary; such as updates or new sections on the site you wish to create. For example, if you have a new enhancement to your worship program, bringing in the worship director would seem a prudent idea.
Review who you are inviting to web meetings. If you are not holding separate meetings, perhaps it is time you started. You will have just the right amount of opinions and authority to guide your church’s website. Lastly, I am writing a follow-up article that discusses the “what’s” of a web team meeting, including agendas and suggested topics. So look forward to even more content to help your church reach new heights!
Photo courtesy of Justin FG