Church websites have the challenge of being timeless and of-the-moment at the same time. Pictures of the angels assure visitors that you respect church history while a twitter feed shows that you are communicating in a relevant way. On the web, information about your church helps people to find out about service times. A great church website meets the needs of people on spiritual journeys.
What do people want from a church website?
Churches have a wide range of audiences for their site - those who regularly attend the church and those who will want information on events at the church. The UK is largely unchurched, meaning that many people do not grow up going to church. They will want information on the type of church (Anglican, for example) and a statement of what the church believes. For instance, a page that explains "What is a Methodist" or "What is a Reformed Church" can be helpful to visitors who are looking for a church that fits their beliefs. Church websites are also used for travelers who are looking for information about service times, dress expectations, and how to find a church in town. You should include directions and embed Google maps so that people can map directions from a hotel or a house to your church. You should also note how people can join the church and use it for weddings or funerals. Many UK churches have beautiful architecture and due to this, people are interested in the history of the church. You can explain if it was a convent or when the abbots added sections to the building.
One of the pioneering sites for churches is Lifechurch.tv. The mission ("To lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ") is clearly stated on the website. There is an internet church where people can chat, pray and watch sermon messages that are recorded in one of the church campuses. Lifechurch.tv has podcasts and videos of their past sermons. Each church campus has a page with information about service times, directions and the pastors.
Move beyond the web with applications
Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina is at the forefront of innovation with their Elevation application. If you cannot make it to the church in person, you can watch the service on the application. There are video podcasts that can be downloaded. Supporting materials related to the sermons and the missions of Elevation Church are also available. Pastor Stephen Furtik has used the power of technology to expand his city church into a church that fits in the palm of your hands wherever you are. The application is free and has a perfect level of appeal. It is useful to long time members and people who are new to Elevation.