Think about it… your church is much more than a collection of ministry announcements, committee meetings and special events. A lot more. In fact, if you polled your membership to discover what makes their experience together so valuable, they would start telling stories.
They would tell stories about how the community welcomes them and has made them “family.” There would be stories about when they were sick or in the hospital, and the church provided food, prayer and support. And there would be the stories from being part of ministries: of helping build homes for the poor, of providing food to the hungry, of caring for the elderly and the lonely. More stories would come from missions experiences, of traveling to help in the wake of a disaster, of helping persons in another culture, of making a difference through doing good things.
And then there are the everyday stories. Stories about attending a movie with friends that developed into a discussion about faith, belief, fear, doubt or hope. Stories about accidentally seeing God’s presence in someone else. Stories that highlight need or challenges.
Here’s a more concrete example. In my church, one of our unique ministries is to families with special needs children. We have developed approaches to training helpers who partner with these children to help them connect and engage with children’s activities. Special programs happen, and there are supporting efforts to provide some rest and “away time” for parents of special needs children… allowing the parents to enjoy participating in music, learning and missions programs, or to just have an evening out together. There are dozens of concrete stories that emerge from this ministry each year.
What does this have to do with your church website? Most church websites focus on the “structure and events” of a church… what/where/when things are happening. And while this information is very helpful, consider how rich your website would be if it began telling stories.
Your church can tell stories on your website in a couple of ways. First, just add a blog to your site and keep it updated. It is best if the blog is integrated into your site (not based on an external service). To keep the blog active, ministers or selected laypersons can regularly invite members to tell stories. If youth just went on a mission trip, ask one or more youth to write up (or do an audio recording) of a meaningful story from the experience. If a retreat is held for an adult group, enlist someone to write about the experience. The more specific the story, the better.
Over time, your church blog will begin to show a much deeper face of your church, and will build up a library of faith stories that remind the congregation, community and guests of the power of faith.
Second, redesign your church homepage so the most recent 2-3 articles are highlighted on the the front page. When members or guests visit your site, they will benefit from the shared stories, while also having access to the schedule and other info about church life.
When telling stories, feel free to also use photos, video clips and audio recordings…. anything that helps better tell the story. Check out the many ways we tell stories here on FaithLab, and imagine doing similar posts for your church website.
After all, the Bible is a collection of faith stories gathered and retold over thousands of years. Adding our faith stories to the mix is a wonderful way to share our faith and make a difference in lives.
The FaithLab can help your church with your website development and design. Have questions about this series? Leave a comment or contact us.