Does the Front Door of Your Church Need Repainting?

Interim Ministry Workshop, Tuesday-Thursday March 14–16 2023, Heritage Christian University, Florence, Alabama

I searched several websites for “curb appeal.” Near the top of each list was “paint the front door.” Real estate people are saying, “If you want to sell your house, make a good first impression. To make a good first impression, be sure your front door is painted and has attractive hardware. Buy new hardware, if necessary. If your house number is damaged or dull, spend $15.00, buy new numbers, and install them.”

This isn’t a blog post on selling houses.

From my perspective and experience, the website for a local church is their front door. It tells many stories about the church.

Some churches need to paint their front door and buy new hardware (and/or software).

“But the church isn’t the building.”

I’m not talking about the building. This is a parable (Mark 4:33, 34). The first contact many people have with a congregation is visiting their website. If the church doesn’t have a website, that tells you about how up-to-date they are in trying to communicate with today’s people.

Many of our pioneer preachers rode to their appointments on a horse. Many congregations are in the horse and buggy days in making a good first impression on their neighbors.

Indications for the Need of Painting or Replacing a Website (front door of the church)

  1. Playing hide-and-go-seek with prospective visitors indicates a low priority of inviting and encouraging all to come. Times of services and special events with clear directions on getting there make it easier to take advantage of the ministries and services provided. These should be obvious on the first page.
  2. Out-of-date calendars indicate nothing has happened since June 2017, or you haven’t taken the trouble to communicate opportunities to learn and grow.
  3. Ugly, crowded, 1995 designs let people know how much attention you give to communicating in the most effective methods. Yellow Times Roman letters on a background of black, with few, dull, pictures, and a crowded out-of-date front page doesn’t make a good first impression.
  4. If you have dead, resigned, and moved leaders still on the leadership list on the website and unnoticed new leaders, you let people know how you fail to stay current with an accurate list of present leaders and ignore new leaders. As a preacher, I’ve experienced it both ways. Your website should tell the truth about all things. “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil “ (Matthew 5:37, ESV).

”But we don’t have any young people who can work those newfangled things.”

What do you do when the heat or air conditioners go out, and you don’t have anyone in the congregation who can fix them? How soon do you call for help? Which is more important, making a good impression and serving all possible visitors or having the temperature exactly right?

Some wonder why people never visit or why present members go to another church. It may be another church is extending a welcome mat electronically and in other ways, and we’re saying we don’t care by not putting up signs and repeated invitations to “come and see.”

I learned these things from my own ignorance. In my last full-time work at Berry’s Chapel, we had an outdated and inadequate website. A long-time Hickman county friend and brother in Christ who attended there volunteered to build us an up-to-date website. When he was ready to launch the website, he wanted to instruct the secretary and me on how to keep it up-to-date with sermons, classes, and announcements. I said I didn’t want anything to do with the website. I just wanted something nice that would last.

He informed me an effective website was something that had to be serviced often. He’d given much time and effort to construct a great website. He said if we didn’t want to keep it current, he would not install it because it would be out-of-date and obsolete in a few weeks. He didn’t want to be associated with something not excellent and accurate.

That was my conversion to learning the necessity of good websites. We learned to update it and kept it current.

We lament the absence of young people in our churches. One reason may be that we haven’t stayed current with good communication. Yellow Pages don’t work. Christmas catalogs and the Sears Big Book don’t produce many sales for Sears. Sears is out of business because it failed to keep up with current communication and sales methods.

Don’t look for your preacher to come riding up on a horse Sunday morning.

Don’t expect a 1995 website or none to take advantage of your good message.

For curb appeal, you may need to paint your front door!

When I received a call from River Road in Nashville in the summer of 2018, one of the first things I did was go to their website. I was pleasantly surprised. I found an attractive, clean, and current website: https://riverroadcc.org.

It didn’t hurt to have a deacon, now an elder, who works for Microsoft. I talked with Jay Lockhart today. He said if anyone wanted more information on websites, you could contact him: jay.lockhart@comcast.net .

What do you look for, and what have you found helpful in church websites? Feel free to share good information and examples in the Comments below.

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Jerrie Barber
Disciple of Jesus, husband, grandfather, preacher, barefoot runner, ventriloquist

2 Responses to “Does the Front Door of Your Church Need Repainting?

  • Great thoughts, Jerrie…I exhort brethren to have a good website for the same reasons. Add to that an updated road sign and an answering machine not set on fax mode. Refresh our foyers as well.

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