A growing number of churches are using ‘new media’ to connect people with each other, the church and God. Here’s a recent article published in Time Magazine about the phenomena:
On Easter Sunday, pastor Todd Hahn prefaced his sermon by saying, “I hope many of you are tweeting this morning about your experience with God.”
“It’s a huge responsibility of a church to leverage whatever’s going on in the broader culture, to connect people to God and to each other,” says Hahn.
If worship is about creating community, Twitter is an undeniably useful tool. The trick is to not let the chatter overshadow the need for quiet reflection that spirituality requires. At Westwinds, people can ask questions about the sermon that the pastors will answer later, or they can tweet in real time and hope another congregant offers insight. Some use Twitter as a note-taking tool. Often, it’s pastor-directed, with McDonald preaching while Voelz taps out, “In what way do you feel the spirit of God moving within you?” Discuss.
Obviously, God’s message should never be comprimised, but it’s exciting to see churches and ministries using new ways to reach people with His awesome love!
Remember the slogan of the Yellow Pages? “Let Your Fingers do the Walking.” While the Yellow Pages still have a place on counter tops and on the bottom shelf under the coffee table, more and more people are letting their mouse do the clicking.
Think of your web address as your “property” online. What you build on it becomes your store front. Many small businesses and churches have web sites that they have designed themselves, or by someone who knows a little bit about web design has developed it for them for free. For some businesses and churches this works just fine. For many others they are hoping to do better but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend.
One reason why a good church site is important is that when people move to a new place the first place many start church shopping is online. If they find a nice looking site that is easy to navigate and has a lot to say about the church, it’s already a good first impression. If not, they may never come through the front doors.
Same with a business. It’s very important to have a site that looks good and is functional. Otherwise potential clients will surf, and then drive, to the competition.
In addition to having a professional site that looks good with easy to find information, a web site can also include a blog. A Blog Site! This is particularly important for a church. A pastor can write about; what God is showing Him, church news, how excited he is that 6 people got baptized last Sunday, etc. People can also comment on posts, and a conversation can take place right on the site. New visitors get a feeling for what’s on the Pastor’s heart. Current congregates feel more plugged in to the church.
For a small business, the blog can be a place to offer helpful hints on how to use a product, or ask for comments.
It’s also part of using the new media to market online. There is a big rush to combine Twitter, Facebook and Blogs to build an audience.
Ultimately, it’s all about building relationships. If you have a web site that has compelling content and a way for visitors to participate, then it will help build relationships. Through those relationships a church can speak (and demonstrate) God’s Love. A business can cultivate relationships and increase sales.
Moving is tough. You leave your friends behind, you have to carry and unpack all those boxes, and then it’s time to get plugged in to a new church. In this age of new media, most often the first place someone will look when trying to find a new church is online. It’s often been said that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Your web site is making that first impression right now.
Dan Levin with ChurchSolutions.com writes:
It’s essential that your site offers at least some of the following features: a blog, social media links, surveys, forms, events and e-mail marketing. Together, these components help you not only reach clients but also involve them in your business’s future. Customers — if given the opportunity — will gladly contribute to your development and ultimate success. That’s why we’ve found having a Web site that we can control so vital to our business success.
Levin goes on to describe three common options that churches should consider when taking control of their site:
• Option 1: Develop an in-house Web design and programming department. Keep in mind that quality designers and programmers are very expensive to retain, and for a really strong Web presence, you’ll need a designer, a PHP and MYSQL programmer, and a search engine optimization (SEO) expert. This is the most difficult and expensive option, and it’s probably best left to large organizations.
• Option 2: Outsource your Web design and programming to an external firm. A good one will cost quite a bit of money up-front, and all future modifications will be tied to its team. You can also have the firm create the site in a program such as Dreamweaver. Then you can purchase the program’s sister software; in the case of Dreamweaver, that would be “Contribute,” which costs roughly $150 and is designed to allow you to make minor updates and exercise some control over the site’s operation yourself. However, the learning curve is steep, and you will need to learn at least basic Web coding in HTML and FTP. This option is less expensive than the first, but it still involves significant ongoing costs in terms of programmer time and expertise.
• Option 3: Use a content-management solution. Such vendors charge a much lower initial design fee and provide the site’s basic “skin,” or the overall look and feel. From there, you take complete control of your site through a user-friendly content-management system and control panel. This option allows you to begin with a very inexpensive version and add as you grow, implementing modules along the way such as e-commerce, billing, employee intranet, podcasts, forums, photo albums, proposals and an array of other features. For many organizations, the low cost and high flexibility of this option makes it the most attractive.
AgapeMedia.net specializes in Option 3. If you are looking for a good looking site that you can manage yourself that won’t cost thousands of dollars then contact us and we can get you up and running in no time.
Soon you’ll be making a good first impression that will lead to a lasting impression. That can lead to people being saved and encouraged in Christ! and that is what it’s all about!
Is your small business, church, organization online? Do you have a nice looking web site that is easy to navigate? When your potential clients/parishioners go online to find a service or a church, are you easy to find?
These are critical questions. The answers even more so. Consider this recent thought from the inventors of the internet:
While the Internet has dramatically changed lives around the world, its full impact will only be realised when far more people and information go on-line, its founders said Wednesday.”The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past,” said Tim Berners-Lee, one of the inventors of the World Wide Web, at a seminar on its future.
If you don’t have a presence on the world wide web, or if your site is lacking, you can’t afford to maintain the status quo. People are searching for you online. What are they finding?
E-mail or call AgapeMedia.net today!