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Churches Without Websites...Is Like San Diego Without Sun!

Series: Improving your church website

Improving Your Church Website
Check out all the articles in the series...

[This is my Web Wise column from the February 2005 issue of Good News Etc.]

Results from a recent study of pastors about technology are not especially encouraging – specifically regarding websites. While the study shows that 91% of pastors have Internet access, only 52% of churches have a website. ack

The results were even more stunning as if you break them down by church size:

Does your church maintain a website?

  • 88% of large churches (200+)
  • 60% of medium churches (100-199)
  • 28% of small churches (-100)

Now, my hunch is that the numbers are better than that in San Diego – churches here are typically more “with it” than other areas of the country. But this is still a valid concern.

Ron Sellers, president of the Arizona firm that conducted the study (Ellison Research), acknowledges the probable reasons behind the disparity, but also offers a word of caution: "Small churches often don't have the budget to pay for technology, or the staff or volunteers to implement it," he says. "[But] the increased use of technology in churches has a real potential to widen the gap even further between small churches and medium or large congregations."

And that would be a shame.

The web is a place that can level the playing field between all churches. Here’s why:

Just about everyone has access to it.
San Diego is a very tech-savvy county! If people can’t get Internet access in their home, they have it at work or many utilize cafes, schools, and libraries. The web is a vital part of the San Diego lifestyle.

It’s cheap.
You can find a company to host your website for $10 a month. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. (In fact, it doesn’t have to cost anything. Read on.)

And it’s increasingly easy to create a site.
There are companies that specialize in simple, online website building tools for churches. These template-driven packages range in price from $20-$250 a month.

Better yet, you can get one free! ForMinistry.com is a ministry of the American Bible Society. They offer a basic, simple website builder. I just set up an account and the design of my test site in five minutes. It’s that easy! Anyone can do it. Really.

The best part is that you can have a simple site that is NOT an embarrassment to your church. (Those with embarrassing church sites know what I mean!)

Sellers emphasized a critical point—definitely a factor in San Diego: "[P]astors need to take a hard look at where technology might no longer be a matter of style or a luxury for the congregation, but an expectation," he says. He says it is "amazing" that one out of four medium and large churches do not have a web presence -- "particularly with many churches trying to figure out ways of attracting younger people, who are particularly likely to use the Internet to gather information and explore their options.

A website is an exceptional way to reach people with your ministry. There’s really no excuse for a church to not have a decent website. If your church doesn’t, please let your pastor read this column.

moreHelp: Find a listing of the companies that provide church website making tools, including ForMinistry's site:

Mike Atkinson is hoping that Punxsy Phil does NOT see his shadow, is the president/founder of uneekNet (helping your organization succeed on the web); and runs a daily humor email list at Mikey’s Funnies.