As we continue to adjust to life during the Coronavirus pandemic, more and more people– including potential new and returning members –are looking for ways to engage online with local faith communities.
There’s a common misconception that improving your church’s web presence is difficult and expensive, or that it requires a top-to-bottom redesign (which, to be fair, no longer requires coding knowledge thanks to services like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace). But the reality is, even small changes can make a huge difference in clearly communicating your message!
Consider taking the following steps to make your congregation more accessible to not only current members, but to the wider public:
- Make sure your website (especially your homepage) contains clear and up-to-date information about your congregation’s plans during the outbreak. This might include:
- Your current schedule for digital worship and meetings, including links to the digital event (i.e., via Zoom, YouTube, Facebook Live, etc.) — or, if you aren’t hosting worship, suggestions for worship alternatives;
- Instructions and links for online and mail-in giving;
- Contact information for pastors and church leadership;
- Information on any volunteer and donation opportunities you’re facilitating;
- Prayers and other spiritual resources;
- Links and sign up information for any other digital communication platforms, including newsletters, email lists and social media.
For some real examples of congregations that have made COVID-19 related updates to their websites, check out Bethel Lutheran (Muskego), Christ Our Savior (Sussex), Cross Lutheran (Milwaukee) and St. Matthew’s (Wauwatosa).
- Use your Facebook page as a way to connect with current and potential members alike. Try posting anywhere from once per week to several times per day. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Post a reminder about an upcoming online worship or event;
- Host a short virtual prayer service or children’s sermon on Facebook Live;
- Share a devotion, story, article or uplifting image;
- Invite members to answer a conversation-starter like “How have you seen God today?”;
- Design a new Facebook cover photo that includes your current worship schedule using a free online template.
For more inspiration, try looking at social media accounts from other congregations, like All Peoples Church (Milwaukee), Incarnation (Milwaukee), Holy Cross (Menomonee Falls) and Mt. Zion (Wauwatosa).
- Don’t forget traditional broadcast media. Contact local media outlets like FOX6 and WISN to get your online worship service into their listings.