A church pastor can have two focuses: “growing deep” by creating meaningful relationships with current members, and “growing wide” by gaining new members of the congregation. In an ideal situation, a pastor will build on both aspects of discipling. The same goes for a digital ministry platform—a healthy online ministry incorporates both “deep” and “wide.”
Maturing Your Congregation through a Website
A common misconception is the belief that a website is only about traffic and gaining visitors. Traffic can be beneficial, especially with “growing wide,” but be wary of jumping to the conclusion that the website only has one role. There is huge potential in a church website for strengthening the circle between current members, church leaders and God.
How can you mature your congregation through the online platform? Create content and develop website features that continues the face-to-face relationships that your congregation has formed. Encourage members to use the website in small groups, Bible studies, keeping up with series or sermons, and making use of the calendar of events. The more you put into the website, the more your members can get out of it. The website does not have to be limited to bulletin announcements, nor does it need to be confined to recruitment. Think of it as an interactive resource. It will encourage fellowship-seeking members to play an active role in their membership. After all, a church is a community and a community involves interaction and participation between everyone.
Widening Your Congregation: Recruitment
While there is major potential for a website to deepen the current relationships of a church, it is also important to gain new disciples. Optimize your digital ministry for newcomers who are seeking fellowship. Reach out to them. Provide content on your website that is inviting and accurately expresses your church culture, from personality (traditional or modern) to the size of the congregation. But there is another step before visitors actually see your website: visitors need to find the website first. Search engine marketing can help get your church’s name out there for people in your area who are looking for a church that they can call home.
Once you have worked on growing both deep and wide, your church website will be a success. Overall, keep your goals in mind and be sure that the persona that is expressed on the website is the one your church intends to project.
Church growth online can be a challenge. Speak to one of our digital ministry strategists to find out how your church can make the best transition to the digital realm.