A few years ago, Kem Meyer and I had the opportunity to coach a group of communications directors on how to help other churches improve communications. The group of us served a dozen churches who were experiencing communications challenges that were hindering their effectiveness.
In preparing to connect with each church, we all spent hours really analyzing the churches’ sample communications pieces, social media channels and church websites. A few churches in, I started to notice this trend:
Nearly every church had a “What We Believe” section of its website. Most of them are full of statements only other Christians — usually Christians from the same denomination — would understand or even care about.
This seems like a miss to me.
- Are we writing that section in defense of our particular denominational viewpoints?
- Are we writing that section for people who already attend other churches and might want to come to ours instead?
- Are we writing that section just for people of our denomination who might be moving to town from another city?
- Do we even know who we’re writing it for?
Because we’re sure not writing it for people who don’t know Jesus.
Pretty much anyone who is considering visiting your church — even people who get a personal invite — are going to check you out online first. Take a moment this week to review that section of your church website:
- How might you write it differently if you assumed the person reading it doesn’t already follow Jesus?
- How might you approach it differently if you assumed the person reading has an indifferent or negative impression of the authority of Scripture?
- How might you write it differently if you assumed the person reading it knows who Jesus is but has had bad experiences with church and religion?
- How might you design it differently if you assumed people checking you out will only give you a few minutes of their time before they make a decision?
You can still include the information church-people want to see, though I challenge you to re-evaluate even that. At best, maybe that should just be a PDF people can download if they want more info (especially if it’s lengthy and uses denominational jargon).
Let’s be honest: Most people who visit your church website think they know what you believe.