A church website doesn’t have to be crazy complex and large. But there are some key elements that every church website should have. In this blog post, I am going to list twelve essential elements for every church website and give a brief explanation of each. Watch for posts going more in-depth on some of these various elements in the future. Let me also say that this list is not necessarily exhaustive. In fact, I would love it if you would post additional essentials for a church website in the comments section below!
A Contact Form
Every church website should have a contact form that is linked to an email address that is checked regularly. The contact form can have fields for things like name, email address, and message. Make sure that a responsible person in your church is assigned to regularly check the linked email address – it could be the pastor, the church secretary, the church webmaster, or some other person. Make sure that email messages sent to the church from the website are responded to in an appropriate and timely way!
The Physical Address of the Church
Make sure to clearly communicate the physical address of the location where your church meets. While some churches may have a post office box for mail, it is obvious that the church does not actually meet in the post office mailbox for worship services! So give visitors to your church website the address where they can join you for worship.
A Google Map of the Church Location
There are numerous WordPress plugins that allow you to include a Google map of your church location on your website. If you use Elementor to build the pages on your site, there is an Elementor widget that allows you to beautifully insert a Google map with a link for directions.
A Phone Number for the Church
Many churches have telephone service at the church. There may be a secretary who takes telephone calls during office hours. Or, in many small churches, the phone number may simply go to an answering machine that is checked by someone periodically. Other small churches may opt to instead communicate an alternate phone number (the number of a pastor, an elder, or another church member). Whatever the case, make sure that you communicate a phone number on the website that is answered or checked regularly!
Make sure to show service times in obvious and conspicuous places on the website. Don’t just assume that everyone knows that the worship service starts at 11 AM. You may also want to give start times for Bible study classes or midweek services.
If your church is staffed for regular office hours, make sure to communicate the days and hours when the church office is open.
Include the names and photos of the church staff. This could include the pastor(s), administrative assistant(s), and other paid employees. Depending on how your church is set up and staffed, you may also want to include key volunteers (children’s leaders, worship leader, etc.). Along with names and photos, you could also include individual contact information for each staff member (probably email addresses). Make sure to keep this section of the website up to date – if you have a new pastor or staff member, add them. If a pastor or other staff member no longer serves at your church, remove them from the staff listing! Please don’t wait 5 years to update the name of your pastor on the website.
Church Mission Statement
If your church has an official mission statement and/or list of key values, they should be communicated on your website.
List out the basic foundational beliefs of your church. This doesn’t need to be a comprehensive list, but should have enough information to give a visitor to the website a good idea of what your church believes. If you are part of a denomination, there may be appropriate lists already created that you could include on your website. You might list the basic beliefs on the website, and then provide links to more detailed information elsewhere.
Don’t treat your church website as if it is just a static phonebook entry. Update it with information about upcoming events. But please remember to remove the events from the website when they are done! There aren’t many elements of a church website that can make it feel more ignored and irrelevant than an out-of-date calendar or list of upcoming events that are already past. If a website visitor can see that the upcoming events were last updated 2 years ago, how likely are they going to be to trust any of the other information on the website?
List of Ministries/Services Offered By Your Church
Does your church operate a food bank? Does it offer personal finance seminars or counseling or support groups for people going through a divorce or dealing with addictions? What about training for parents or depression recovery seminars? Have a great children’s ministry? Have you adopted a section of highway for litter cleanup? Use the church website as a platform to highlight and advertise these ministries and events. Include contact information for website visitors to find out more about how to participate. Again, keep this section of the website religiously up-to-date!
Media and Resources
This could include sermon videos or audio recordings from your church. It could include photos of church events (make sure you have obtained the proper legal releases from people or their legal guardians before posting photos of them on the website). You may also want to include links to other helpful media (bible study websites, YouTube videos that are compatible with the mission of your church, etc.).
As you plan, update, or create your church website, keep these twelve essentials in mind. Some of these elements should probably have their own pages on the website. Other elements might be combined on a single page. But make sure to incorporate them somehow!
Can you think of other essential elements for a church website? Let me know in the comments section below!
May God bless you as you seek to make a gospel impact online!
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[Post last updated on February 22, 2019]