In addition to being a great evangelistic tool, a well-designed website keeps your membership engaged with various established works in your congregation. Mass-communication has long been necessary for congregations (remember the phone-trees?), and websites can help your church leaders distribute and collect information quickly and effectively.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Church Calendar of Events and Reminders
Upcoming events shouldn’t be restricted to the secretary’s desk and the weekly bulletin. By keeping an updated calendar of events online, you empower your membership to stay involved.
If you already know your dates for VBS, Gospel Meetings, and Friends and Family day for next year, why not go ahead and put them online so that your membership can plan vacations around those events? Sometimes we get frustrated with low attendance for events, but we don’t give enough notice for members to plan accordingly.
Distribute Your Bulletin via Email
Another idea to consider is emailing a condensed version of your church bulletin on Friday or Saturday. Highlight things coming up this Sunday, and provide a link to read the full bulletin online. Help young families in your congregation by reminding them a few days early that the fellowship meal is this Sunday. Between practices, pets, family time, and life, they may simply forget Wednesday’s announcements by Sunday morning. When families receive a congregational text or email on Friday at lunch, they can plan that meal more easily on Friday afternoon rather than Saturday evening.
Use Online Sign-up Forms
It’s time to retire that signup sheet in the foyer. When planning special events that require members to sign up for attendance or duties, online forms are a great tool. Once the form is built, simply send out an email and/or text telling your congregation that online sign-up is available for your upcoming event. Most people will sign up immediately using their smartphone!
Here are a few ideas to convert to online signup forms
- Vacation Bible School – you can collect names, ages, allergies, emergency contact info and more. Also, if you have visitors fill this out, you have an advertising list for future community events.
- Fellowship Meals – if your congregation is catering part of the meal, this helps get an accurate headcount. If you split your congregation into multiple groups (i.e. last names A-L bring drinks, M-Z bring desserts), you can create custom reminders to help them remember.
- Retreats (Men’s, Ladies’, Youth) – you can collect all the information you need for reservations, t-shirt sizes, roommate request, and so much more (and it’s all in one convenient spreadsheet)
A well-built form takes only seconds to fill out, and a family can quickly register all of their children, including names, ages, food allergies, special needs, T-shirt sizes, and whatever other information you need to collect. Store these registrations in a spreadsheet that can be used to print name tags, warning labels for allergies, or emergency phone numbers. Teachers and/or event administrators can receive email alerts each time someone signs up, along with all of the relevant information.
When your event is over and you want to contact visitors, you will have an easy-to-read list of all attendees that isn’t coffee stained (or torn apart by a curious toddler.) Even better, the next time you hold an event, you can quickly send an email and invite everyone to join you again!
As a bonus, if your event has a fee, you can also collect applicable payments when families register, saving your treasurer the headache of matching up checks to registrations!
Integrate with Social Media
Make it easy for your membership to evangelize by using your congregation’s social media presence as an outlet for the content you are already producing.
Your minister’s weekly bulletin article makes for a great church blog that can be added it to your website and posted to your official congregation’s Facebook Page. Your weekly sermons are your podcast, and they can be shared via iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and more.
Set up Facebook events for upcoming church activities on your Facebook Page and let members invite friends. Facebook will then remind them of the event, provide driving directions, and even report expected weather!
Don’t let your church website be a forgotten tool for outreach and involvement.
A church website is not the most important resource your congregation can use for local evangelism and member participation, but it very well might be the most important resource your congregation is not using to its full potential.
We can help.
We work with churches of Christ all over the US to build and maintain great websites for their local congregations. If you’d like to schedule a call to see how we can help you, click here to contact us.