Has your church failed to communicate the impact of COVID-19?
Out of curiosity, I spent a few minutes looking at various church websites to see what they are doing to update visitors and members regarding the coronavirus’ (COVID-19) impact on their church.
For churches with a volunteer web person or a bi-vocational pastor doing updates, I could imagine the website not yet being up-to-speed since they have been scrambling to figure out online church services.
However, I was very surprised to find that even some of the more prominent churches, with well managed websites, have not yet addressed the coronavirus’ effect on the church. In the small sampling I reviewed, some of these churches had no mention of coronavirus, other than the hint from a slider or call-out encouraging visitors to watch online.
Based on these results, I thought I would share a few observations and suggestions on how to better communicate coronavirus (COVID-19) updates on your church website.
Updates are a must!
Things are changing week-to-week. Three weeks ago my church offered a live service with an online option. Two weeks ago, we went to online only. This last Sunday, we begin to add small group gatherings online. These updates need to be communicated as they happen to inform both visitors and members.
It’s more than just a slider.
Do not put your coronavirus update link as a slider image only. A slider typically rolls off in four seconds and can easily be missed. Instead, include a permanent link to updates somewhere on the home page. A slider can serve as an additional option but do have something always visible and easily noticed.
Have a coronavirus page.
Dedicate a page to coronavirus updates and helpful information. Include the latest church updates, links to online services, meetings, and online giving, opportunities to serve, and community updates relevant to the church and it’s members.
Include direct links to online services.
Do not leave it to chance that people can find your online service. Be sure you have clickable links going directly to the online service on the home page and the updates page.
CHECK OUT THESE EXAMPLES:
GREAT HOME PAGE – FBC Woodstock (https://fbcw.org/) has a ‘Covid-19 Updates’ button at the top of its home page. It has callouts to online services, opportunities to serve, and online giving. And, in case you missed the top button, there is another callout down the page for their Covid-19 updates.
UPDATES AS BLOG POSTS – Towne View (http://www.towneview.org/) begins with a large banner on its home page that opens the updates page. They are adding the updates as blog posts so the latest will automatically be on top and the visitors can scroll down to see the timeline of past updates.
VIDEO UPDATES – Wildwood Baptist Church (wildwoodbaptist.org) includes a ‘Coronavirus Update’ link in the main navigation of its home page. The updates are in the form of recorded videos from their senior pastor. Like blog posts, the most recent is on top and a backward timeline of videos from there.
Due to coronavirus, your church website is probably getting more exposure than it’s had in a while, so be sure you are updating regularly and doing it right.
WHAT IF YOU ARE NOT DOING ONLINE SERVICES YET?
Our Research and Development team has created online tutorials to help you easily get started from your desktop, laptop, or phone. They share solutions for both live or pre-recorded. All you need to know can be found here: https://gabaptist.org/webinars-and-training/.
The entire mission board staff has provided content to help you as you respond to the coronavirus. Find more resources here: gabaptist.org/covid19.