Just because our Lord “is the same yesterday and today and forever“ doesn’t mean our church web sites should follow the same model.
The other night I was through my unpublished backlog of sites in need of healing (if not a good ol’fashun Ernest Angley smack upside the head) when I come across a draft that contains not much else but a link to the ‘Rockville United Methodist Church of Rockville, Connecticut.’
A post originally cited and saved on September 16, 2002 for a design that “partied like it was 1995” for some of the following constructs:
- Rainbow divider bar – just like disco, so is this metaphor is dead
- Everything all centered all the time – just like a used car sales ad.
- A bloated, uncompressed picture of the church – we don’t worship buildings do we?
- Animated cross – not as kitchy as the spinning gold lamee cross, but close.
- Un-obfuscated email addresses – show your staff you love them, let them get spammed.
- Mission statement – yet more church-speak for the unchurched!
- PDF calendar and newsletter – ahem, at least could we have the latter in HTML?
And while I don’t have a screenshot, the Internet Archive WayBackMachine does, pointing out the importance of scheduling periodic makeovers – if only to remedy some of the 1990-ish constructs cited above; though I would hope any such evaluation would also take into consideration the ever changing tastes, habits and technologies employed by internet users whom would otherwise become potential/future church members.
For those who might argue that looks don’t count – some going as far as to suggest that site shelf-life shouldn’t an issue either – I pose this question:
If fresh appearances don’t count – then why bother with trimmed lawns, fresh paint jobs and replacemenet windows? Is it because potential congregants aren’t faithful enough, to put up with tall weeds, dirty walls and drafty pews – or because members of the grounds committee correctly realize that a lack of care for one’s physical premises sends the wrong message?
If we’re going to ‘become all things to all people‘ , then it might help to start with a periodic re-factoring of all our web pages.
I received a ‘nasty-gram’ from an individual who is a pastor at another Rockville United Methodist Church (there seem to be several across the U.S.), basically calling the information above useless.
My response to said ‘love note’ is simply: Proverbs 12:15
That said, I would encourage everyone to visit the vastly new-and-improved website Rockville United Methodist Church of Rockville Connecticut at:
I don’t know if these folks used some of the advice in the post &/or comments above — but I’m thrilled to see those talking points incorporated in the new design.