Is it okay if I step up on my soapbox for a moment? This is a subject that I am very passionate about. In fact, one of the main reasons I freelance as a web designer is because I want to help churches develop their own online presence and ministries. I believe it is important for three reasons. Let me tell you why.
1. People will ask Google before they ask you.
If we have a question about something we know nothing about, what is they first thing we do? We pull out our smart devices, open our browsers and search for the answer. We trust Google with everything nowadays. Where’s the closest library? Is there a swimming pool nearby? Where can I find a Thai restaurant in Atlanta? And about 90% of the time, we find exactly what we are looking for. So, if someone in your neighborhood searches for “churches near me,” you want to make sure your church is listed. Not only that, your church needs to have a good looking, winsome website. In today’s world, your website is essentially your church’s first impression. It tells people everything they need to know about your congregation before you go. Your church could have the best music, best preacher, and the sweetest people in the world; if your website looks sloppy, people will not want to visit. It is as simple as that.
2. Believers are spending more and more time on their phones.
According to the Barna Group’s “State of the Bible 2018” study:
More than half of [Bible] users now search for Bible content on the internet (57%) or a smartphone (55%), and another 42 percent use a Bible app on their phones.
We live in a day when people don’t have to wait until Sunday or Wednesday night to hear a sermon. We have 24/7 access to Bible teaching via the internet. I have heard from several pastors that they are working on developing blogs and podcasts to keep up with the growing need for biblical resources online. Your church’s online presence isn’t just for nonbelievers; it is also for your members. Your church’s website and social media pages should serve as a tool for helping your congregation grow in spiritual maturity. With a website you can upload sermon audio, post your church’s statement of faith, explain the Gospel in a video, etc. And your members can access these things at any time. Don’t waste this opportunity to edify and strengthen your brothers and sisters in Christ.
3. The Gospel is in everyone’s pocket. They just need to be notified.
Let’s just admit it. We all love seeing that we have notifications on social media. There is something about that little red bell that makes us feel like others care about us. Most of our notifications are simply likes on our selfies and comments on the funny meme we shared. Church, we are missing so many opportunities here. Through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat we have a direct connection to our friends’ lives. We have been given a digital soapbox to share the Gospel with them wherever they are. Someone’s eternity could change with one post, message, or share.
This has huge implications for missions as well. In fact, I know of many people here in Thailand who live in very remote areas in the mountains. They may not have cars or fancy homes, but they have Facebook and email. I should note that nothing will ever take the place of face-to-face witnessing and evangelism. But, God is doing some incredible things through Internet evangelism ministries like GlobalRize (who are always in need of volunteers, by the way). We would be foolish to neglect this incredible opportunity in the history of world missions.
I hope this has helped you understand how important an online presence is for the local church. If you are interested in learning about how to develop one for your local church, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to talk with you. In the meantime, feel free to check out my web design portfolio for some examples of websites I have designed in the past. May the Lord bless you as you seek to make Him know all over the world [wide web].