Every church knows they need a website and most churches have them today. Sadly, however, many churches buy a website creation program and do little more than fill in the blanks needed to make sure that something is on all the template pages.
Sadly that something is often no more than a paragraph, that once entered is often forgotten.
The church can say it has a website, but a website like this misses many ministry opportunities, including:
The staff misses the opportunity to become real people to their community.
Is the pastor a real person? What does he or she really think about God or problems or people? Are they in touch with the real world? If the pastor writes a blog or articles, people checking out the church can get a real sense of what that person is like. Not only the pastor, but Bible class teachers, the staff, ministry leaders, small group leaders, all would benefit from an online presence. People in your community are looking for real people with the answers to spiritual questions. The web provides a priceless opportunity to allow people to get to know you.
One caution: NEVER have your blog written by someone else—blogs or online articles do not have to be perfect literary masterpieces to touch people, but they do have to be honest. Someone can keyboard it in if you don't know how to do that, but the content should come from the person whose name is on it. Dictate it, write it out on paper--someone can put it into web format, but you need to pray it through and create it.
Expanded teaching opportunities
The pastor or Bible teachers in the church can share biblical teaching and insights that they don't have time to share in the short amount of teaching time available on Sunday morning. Remember the Holy Spirit is alive and at work in the lives of your people.
Many times in your sermon or lesson presentation you come across additional, great material that you simply do not have time to use in your weekly lesson. The web is a great place for those extras.
Christians want to grow and we need to give as many opportunities for them as possible.
Links to more helpful materials****with commentary and guidance
The web is a goldmine of extraordinary study materials for your people--link to them, refer to them.
As important as the link itself, is your commentary on what is on the content of the linked site. This is essential because resource websites can be a real mixed bag today. I was just looking at a site (need more time with it before I would even mention it) but it had material on it from a whole spectrum of current religious personalities. I use that term "personalities" intentionally because though some I respect as teachers, some I consider false teachers, based on my understanding of biblical standards of truth.
Always throughly look at any site you link to or recommend.
An opportunity to get feedback
None of us in a leadership position in our church want to be the last person to hear about a simmering question or problem that could have been solved early on if we only knew about it. If you publish your email address and encourage people to contact you, yes, you will get a bit of gripping and complaining, but your kind care of little problems and taking time to answer questions and concerns will prevent many larger problems later.
Also, online interaction provides a way for people to ask questions that may difficult for them to ask in person. These can range from personal, pastoral issues to someone not wanting others to know they don't understand as much as they think they should.
A way to learn how digital communication works
Digital communication is the communication method of the future and the more you understand, the better communicator you will be in the future. One great way to learn how to do this is to create your own website or blog.
You can do that through www.wordpress.com. It is completely free and learning the basics of how websites work will help you better understand any future things you might do with a church website.
Be patient with yourself, but press ahead
As in every area of church communication, it always seems like you don't have enough time to do any of it. However, the web has the potential to reach literally thousands of people. Bit by bit expand your content on the web. It might not seem like much, but like the little boy who turned his little lunch over to Jesus, you never know what will happen when something is put into the Master's hands.
The Lord said we would be His witness to the ends of the earth--if you get your church and personal devotional, inspirational and teaching content on the web, He can use it in ways you cannot imagine.