by Jeff Love
Pastor Love continues describing the benefits of making the church Web site truly interactive. The principles employed to connect people to church and church to community are contained in the acrostic C.O.N.N.E.C.T. We continue with…
The last C principle stands for “communicate.” In order for a church’s Web site to be interactive, people need to be able to communicate in three ways. First, the people must be able to communicate with the pastor; second, they must be able to communicate with one another; and third, the pastor and staff must be able to communicate with the people. Throughout this series, I have been telling you about ways that we are able to accomplish the first two avenues of communication. Now I want to describe how we have effectively begun to use the Web in the third way.
In our Web page administration area, accessible only to the staff, there are several goodies. From there, I can email a message to the entire church. In and of itself, that is no big deal if you are good at emailing. But the advantage here is that I don’t have to keep up with peoples’ email addresses! They do it for me as they keep their Personal Profiles current.
Also, I use a Web-based phone tree tool where I can call everyone in the church simultaneously with a brief recorded message. This is wonderful for last minute changes or emergencies, or as reminders for the entire congregation. Again, these are just more ways that we are able to use the Web to communicate more effectively.
The last letter principle in the acrostic for developing interactive Web sites stands for “train.” It is important that a church trains their people to get used to using their Web site, and continually keep it before them. I have found that too many churches design their Web sites with the “field of dreams” mentality—“build it and they will come.” But much to their dismay, it does not work that way! They are often met with disappointment when most of the people in their own church never even visit their site one time! I know that I have felt that kind of disappointment prior to making our Web site interactive. It is important that the church see its Web site as a ministry and, like any ministry in the church, training the people to the importance of its use and encouraging them to take advantage of it is imperative!
Using the Web in ministry is something that every church will have to deal with in the near future. Maybe your church has been putting it off. Maybe you have been asking yourself the same questions that we were asking ourselves, as I shared at the beginning of this series, in order to stay current with the times.
The good news, as we have discovered, is that churches do not have to spend a lot of money and energy developing their Web community to start connecting people. Any church can be on the cutting edge of online communications with an interactive Web site quickly and with incredible ease. The interactive online community tools that we are utilizing are available to every church and every pastor.
No matter what tools your church decides to use for its Web page, make sure it is connecting people. Many ministries have Web pages that are informational but not relational. Remember, if your Web site is going to be effective, it must be interactive. It must C.O.N.N.E.C.T., with your community, C.O.N.N.E.C.T. your church people with one another, and C.O.N.N.E.C.T. the leadership of the church with the congregation.
Jeff Love is senior pastor of Alive Church in Tucson, Arizona.
More information on the Web system used by Alive Church can be found at myflock.com