While your church website should be primarily targeted to potential visitors, it should also provide the necessary tools for people that are already a part of your church community. Beyond providing the basics like service times, location details, and contact information, your website should also allow people to:
1) Connect with a Small Group
In a typical church, over 40 percent of people that attend services at least once a month never get involved in a small group. The busyness of day-to-day life already keeps people from connecting, but a lack of convenient sign-up shouldn’t further deter them.
Provide sign-up and locator tools so they can easily find groups that are meeting nearby. You can also include group-specific information and links to study materials to logged-in small group members.
2) Access Archived Media
Give people the opportunity to catch up after they miss a Sunday during your sermon series or provide additional resources in the form of audio, video, and notes in a dedicated media center.
3) Give and Find Contribution History
Members of your church community probably want to give, so provide easy-to-use options like online giving. According to a study from Blackbaud, online giving to faith-based organizations increased by over 18 percent in 2013 and continues to grow. Few people carry cash and checks—they expect your church to keep up with current technology.
4) View the Church Calendar and Register for Events
As people recall the upcoming retreat you mentioned during announcements, they should be able to find more details, register, and pay for that event online anytime throughout the week.
5) Update Personal Information
If someone in your church community moves or gets a new phone number, they should be able to quickly make those updates online.
6) Learn About Needs Within the Church and How to get Involved
How can people serve if they don’t know there are needs? You can’t include volunteer needs for every ministry in the Sunday morning announcements or within your bulletin, but you can include available service opportunities on your website.
Allowing people to complete all these tasks through your website—especially if integrated with your church management software—will cut down the workload for your staff and volunteers. They won’t have to waste hours manually entering data that takes individuals just seconds to complete.
And in less prominent locations like a member portal where people can log in and administrators can set controls, these tools won’t be the first thing visitors see when they arrive at your website. But they will be available for your church community whenever they need them.