This morning I read an interesting article on EpiscopalChurch.org by Deb Cuny titled In search of communion: Cross-country pilgrimage reveals keys to church growth. The article describes part of her journey of faith, and by “journey” I mean that literally. In 2008 she sold all her stuff, rented out her house, and began traveling around the country visiting churches and working on farms.
While her quest of discovery was interesting by itself, the part that stood out to me, and the part that’s relevant to Christian Web Trends is how she went about selecting the churches she visited on her journey. She writes:
As a permanent first-time visitor on this trip, I saw how a church’s visibility was critical when selecting churches. I used the web to do my research from town to town. For me, it was important to find a friendly, comfortable and young “feeling” church. That meant that I favored churches with a current website that was clean in design, branded and creative. I also searched for churches with updated online calendars that had cultural programming targeted at my age group. I especially loved programs that brought the church to the world instead of requiring that the world enter the church.
Besides programming and the web, I relied heavily on a church’s communication. The kindness and timeliness of a response could motivate me to drive off course just to meet the person on the other end. I loved churches that were vigilant to find new people, including young people, to join the dinner table. Overall, I was drawn to churches that strived to be visible and relevant in today’s society – making Jesus’ unchanging message known to the world.
This reinforces what I’ve been saying for years – most people decide whether they’re going to visit your church based on what they see on your website.
Does your church website look friendly? Is it up to date? Does it communicate that your church cares about people outside the 4 walls of the church building? Is your follow-up timely and friendly?
Would Deb have visited your church?