Most church websites are mostly brochures. They give visitors the basic info needed to learn about the church (generally), as well as how to find the church, who is on staff, the ministries offered, and when services are held. All those things are terrific, and needed. But if your church only offers these things, it is missing out on a lot.
Think of the audiences your church needs to reach. There are members and guests. Members want to know different sorts of things. They want to download the latest youth permission form (because Sallie lost the one passed out on Wednesday night). They want to know what’s on the menu for midweek service. They need to know if it’s their week to usher, or teach or visit. Members also want to know who is ill, or celebrating an anniversary, or just had a baby.
The problem is, many of the things members need raise privacy issues. I may be in the hospital for a procedure, and want prayer, but I likely don’t want that information shared wide-open on the Internet. Members enjoy seeing photos of their children from camp or VBS, or a special event, but may be (wisely) cautious about them being publicly accessible on the Internet.
One solution to the different needs of guests and members is to have a private or members-only area on your church website. Using their login, members can access prayer lists, photos from recent events, and other information, without creating major privacy issues. For the guest, the information they needs is still easily accessible.
(Shameless plug: FaithLab can help your church create an up-to-date site that helps meet the needs of multiple audiences. Contact David at the FaithLab to get help with your church’s website.)