I talked about this four years ago, but feel it’s worth mentioning again.
If you ask most someone: “Tell me about your church“, they’ll usually reply with something like:
Our church is full of God-loving people, we’re friendly to new visitors, we have wonderful music, we have an excellent pastor, we have a passion for missions, etc…
On the flip side, how often do people answer like this?
Our church is covered on three sides with red face brick, and on the back side with HardiPlank siding. We have Chelsea Green asphalt shingles on the roof, and we’re hoping to re-surface the parking lot soon.
The answer is never! When you talk to people about their “church”, they know that you’re asking about the congregation. However, so many church sites feel the need to feature their building as the primary image on their home page.
I Googled for local churches to find an example, and came across Holy Family Catholic Church. Not to pick on them, but they do this worse than most. They have eight different pictures on their home page, and none of them have a single person in them! In case they (hopefully) change that in the future, a screenshot is on the right.
I saw another site that featured rotating images of their church sign and all of the cute slogans they put on there. While I’m sure the congregation thinks it’s neat, it’s not helping very much with a first time visitor. I doubt a non-believer ever came to a church because their sign said “Stop, drop and roll doesn’t work in Hell“.
The solution is very simple; just put some smiling faces on there. Rotating images are great too, but be sure that it’s not just a black hole for non-Flash browsers (such as the iPhone and iPad).
That being said, I think it’s important to have photos of your building on the site. In fact, most churches should devote a section to “our facility”. There are two reasons for this:
- If I’ve never been to your church and I don’t know what it looks like, I’ll feel more comfortable trying to find it if I can see what it looks like.
- Churches often say things like “the Bible Study will meet in room B-124“, or “join our prayer meeting in the Chapel“. Where is B-124? Where is the Chapel? This is more of an issue for large churches with multiple buildings, but it’s always good to provide as much information as you can.
Just be sure to put that somewhere off the home page (typically in [About Us] –> [Facility] or something like that) and you’ll be fine. Use that valuable space on the home page to start giving people a sense of kindness and personality about your church.