Heal Your Church WebSite

Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Too cool for Old School – Sonrise Baptist Church Newnan, GA

I don’t care how cool your seeker-centric, Flash-based church website is, if an individual can’t find it with a typical search engine query, then all that energy in actionscript and video production is lost. Take for example a new resident seeking a place to worship with this simple query: ‘baptist church newnan georgia‘ … the result is everything but the overly-slick and entirely unsearchable church website for the Sonrise Baptist Church of Newnan, GA. With that, let’s get into our fast-five analysis:

Since there is clearly talent in this congregation, instead of five suggestion, I’m going to pose five piercing questions in hopes of a home-spun remedy:

  1. How easy is it to add and/or modify new features?
  2. Has any consideration been given to the visually impaired?
  3. How much navigation needs to be explained to new users?
  4. Has any consideration been given to a mobile version?
  5. Has any consideration been given to an alternate path for those w/out Flash, audio speakers and/or dial-up access?

hycw: enumerated image of some of the obvious issues

Here are 5 related scenarios that come to mind, in the same order as the questions above:

  1. Current church webmaster leaves – and some new ministries need to get online ASAP.
  2. A elderly retiree with limited vision moves to town – and does much better with dark text on light backgrounds.
  3. An individual wants to find the service time but doesn’t know how to look for ‘Easter Egg,’ fly-out menu navigation.
  4. A teen in the youth group wants to text their friends a cellphone-friendly link to an upcoming event.
  5. Someone at an office, a library or on a limited budget visits Google, seeking a church in nearby Newman, GA.

In short, this website packs a lot of WOW, demonstrating some capable coding – but at what price?

Put another way, what does it profit a church to have all the cool in the world if it can’t be found on Google?


  1. The big problem I have with #3′s “fly-out menu navigation” is that it’s broken. If you hover over, for example, the worship times tab, it begins to slide out. If you quickly move your mouse off, then back on the trigger, the animation is interrupted, and the information is on-screen, but hidden behind other elements. People using inaccurate mice (like a touchpad, where you are likely to miss your target occasionally like I did) or people with difficulty using a mouse (inexperienced, elderly, disabled) are going to run into this problem frequently.

  2. Why, everywhere you go, do they insist on hiding the service times. Even on the directions and service times page, they are hidden. And they are hidden under sideways text, which is even worse.

    On the home page, why are they hidden in the first place? There’s lots of room at the bottom of the page where they pop out.

    I’d forgive a lot of the flashiness of this site if it wasn’t for this grievous error.

  3. How did you find this church in Newnan, GA? Out of genuine concern for this church, did you contact them and encourage them with your criticism?

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