December 26, 2013

By Phil Maynard

Did you know that as many as 90% of people looking for a place to worship will visit the website of a church before making a decision to attend?


The website of the church is today’s equivalent of an advertisement in the yellow pages a decade or two ago.  It is a “must do” and “must do well.”  Websites must be easy to navigate:  invitational and full of pictures, stories, and white space.

Current research indicates that as many as 90% of people will visit a church’s website before making a decision to attend.  That’s huge!  If the website is going to be such a primary tool for extending hospitality, it is important that the site represent you well.  The following are some suggestions about providing a welcoming site:

  • Invest the resources to create a professional-looking site.  The quality of your website is considered a reflection of the excellence with which you do ministry.
  • Keep the website current.  I worked with a church a couple of years ago that had a pastor’s message from the previous pastor who had moved two years earlier.
  • Have worship times clearly identified with a description of the style of worship included.
  • Provide clear directions to your church location.  Many websites now include a link to Google Directions.
  • Provide information about childcare; without this you may lose young families.
  • Include information about your staff.  The best sites even include a personal statement from staff members.
  • Include a place to listen to current messages from worship services.
  • Share stories about lives that are changed and the difference the church is making in the community rather than just announcements about upcoming events.


Many sites I have visited actually include an itinerary for newcomers through the website.  Information is provided about attire for the service selected, availability and location of childcare, and a time frame for activities the newcomer could experience.

PS:  Want more insights into being a hospitable congregation?  Check out Phil’s new book:  Shift:  Helping Congregations Back into the Game of Effective Ministry.  Click for more information.