Church Hospitality: A Short Guide
Church hospitality isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s essential. Here are 4 practical ways to prepare for the 2 types of guests you should expect.
November 18, 2020
Your church’s website is your new front door.
Before anyone from your community steps foot in your church’s building or rented space, they’re checking you out online. They will view your sermons, see what ministries you offer, and determine if you’re a good fit for their family among many other things.
So here’s the reality you need to face:
People will visit your church online before they visit your church in person.
Online, people are gathering all of the pertinent info they can about your church before deciding whether or not to walk into your church’s physical front door. In short, your goal is to lead your church’s website visitors to become an in-person guest.
To do this, you need to make the next step your website visitors take as intuitive and straightforward as possible. Placing too many steps in their way will cause most people visiting your site to stumble and fall, which means they’ll never make it to your worship service.
But we don’t always make it that easy for them, do we?
The majority of church websites are either outdated, not mobile-friendly, or designed with only their church in mind.
But what happens when a new user visits your site who’s not familiar with your church or Christianity? Are you making it easy for them to get through your church’s front doors? Or are you making it difficult for them to find their way around? Do you believe many of the church website myths potentially holding you back?
If you want to make it easy for visitors to walk through your front door in person, you need to make it easy for them to take their first steps online. The best way you can do this is to understand how online visitors think and what they’re looking for.
Here are three things church leaders need to understand about their website:
Your website has the power to either pull people in or push people away from your church. It’s their first impression, and you only have one shot to make it count.
If your church website leaves a positive, lasting impression with your visitors, the likelihood of them becoming an in-person guest increases.
If you turn off your visitors with poor graphics, an unfriendly mobile design, and a lack of clear next steps, then they’re already looking for another church on Google.
Is your church’s website pulling in visitors or pushing them away?
Your website is an attraction powerhouse.
Assuming you have worked with an SEO professional on optimizing your website for maximum search engine exposure, your site has the power to be found fast and first online.
If your website can be found in the top three spots on the first page of all search engine results, then it will be seen by your audience. If not, then another church will have the opportunity to make a first impression.
Here’s the deal:
If your church’s website is not appearing toward the top of the first page, you won’t even have the opportunity to show off your amazing new website.
Why’s this important?
Great question and I’m glad you asked.
When your church website ranks higher in search results, you can reach more people in your community. You’ll be able to share the gospel with non-Christians, lead people to get involved in the life of your church, and watch God change lives.
Can your church be found online?
Your website is all about creating the next right steps.
A church website is not the place to give everybody, everything. That’s like throwing spaghetti on a wall just to see what sticks.
Your church website is a tool you can use to show people in your community how to leap from online visitor to becoming an in-person guest. People interested in learning more about Jesus or visiting your church for the first time are not visiting your site to hear about your life story. They just want to know about Jesus, how they can get to your worship service this weekend, and if your church is a place for their family.
Every week, I have an opportunity to review hundreds of church websites and their data, and over and over I see a consistent trend as to what people are looking for:
Everyone is looking for a place to belong. So make sure people know that your church is a place for them.
Does your church’s website make it easy for people to find your church?
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Has your website pulled people into your church? Share your testimony below. We’d love to hear about your experience.
Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Russ Cantu. Russ is the Owner at Catalyst Church Creative.