The Church Website: Overrated, Overdone, or More to Come?

Sam Rainer

November 8, 2007

USA Today reports that 82% of churches with over 200 in attendance have a website. Yet only 29% of churches with 100 or less in attendance have an online presence.

There’s no doubt that many people are searching the web for churches. As a pastor, when I talk to those interested in our church, I get one predominant response: “Oh, give me your web address, and I’ll check you out.”

Given the limited resources and budgets of churches (particularly those with under 200 people), and the infinite amount of ways to connect with people, should the church put time and money into a website? Should the 71% of smaller churches that don’t have a website look to make a presence online or use their efforts elsewhere?

My take: a website is one of the easiest and most visual ways to connect with people. It’s well worth the investment. But it’s one tool of several that churches, big and small, should utilize. Just remember, the Internet was not around in the 1950s, so don’t make your website look like it was.

What do you think? Overrated, Overdone, or More to Come?

10 comments on “The Church Website: Overrated, Overdone, or More to Come?”

  1. No I don’t think it is overdone. It is a simple way to have a presense on the web, but it should be done well. There are also plenty of places that will host one for free as well. It doesn’t even required, and it is an excellent ministry opportunity for a tech-savvy teenager with proper guidance.

  2. boydbettis says:

    I think websites are a great tool to connect people with your church. However, I think your church should make sure you have a good looking website. I’ve told people before it’s better not to have a website, than a really bad website.

    I would direct churches who can’t afford a good looking website, to maybe go the route of running a blog, rather than a free web template.

    Also, I would recommend to tap into the social networks like Facebook and Myspace.

    Boyd Bettis

  3. Sam Rainer says:

    Shane – I agree. Put the younger generation to work. Give them a reason to take ‘ownership’ in the church.

  4. Sam Rainer says:

    Boyd – Good point. Just make sure that the older generations in your church understand what you mean when you say “blog” to them. I’ve run into that one unknowingly before.

  5. boydbettis says:

    Sam, good point! One of the things we have run into with some of the older generations is explaining the difference in a good website and bad website. A lot of churches we have spoken with in the past have assumed a website is a website.

  6. Josh H. says:

    The issue with websites is that many times (though not all the time), people get really excited and set up (or spend a lot of money to develop) a glamorous, eye-catching site, then after a bit of time, get bored with it, or forget about it, and it never gets updated with fresh information. Even a mediocre website with regularly updated, fresh information is better than one that looks great in appearance but in reality is of no help because there is no fresh information placed on it and no reason for people to return to it once they see it once.

  7. Sam Rainer says:

    Josh – Yup. Keeping new and fresh info on a website is a must. There’s nothing more disappointing than going to a church’s website and finding announcements from last March.

  8. boydbettis says:

    I agree with the fresh content being updated regularly.

    One of the things I enjoy are chruches that post videos of the weekend services. there are about 4-5 chruches I watch the messages of each week.

    one of the hurdles of getting the most out of a church website is leading your members in using the website. So, that comes with making sure your adding the fresh content as frequent as possible.

  9. Hi

    Wonder if our self-assessment tool for church sites might help?

    You go through the questionnaire, and then get a free 15-page report, suggesting ways to better reach outsiders through the site.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *