A website – every Church should have one!
Let me say straight out: I believe firmly that every Church ought to have a website. If you’re wondering whether or not to have a church website, or you’ve got to the stage where you’ve definitely decided to have one but are bewildered by the plethora of possibilities, here are some thoughts and guidelines.
Why bother with a website when hardly any of our members even own computers?
A website is not primarily for members of church members: it’s there so that non-members can find out about your Church. It’s about witness. Churches are not private communities – they’re public institutions. That’s why churches have to conform to all the recent legislation about public access. The gospel isn’t the private possession of the Church, but the public Good News of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ. We have a duty to make that known as widely as possible, and the Internet is the global public space. Websites these days are more than notice boards in cyberspace: they’re a means of communication with a far, far greater range of people than those who happen to walk past the notice board outside your Church. Just as the Church seized on the possibilities of the printing press, radio, television, and tapes to extend their audience, so we need to seize the opportunties afforded by the Internet and the huge developments in Infomation Technology. As I see it, we simply don’t have a choice in the matter if we’re to be faithful, witnessing communities!
Don’t we need lots of expensive, highly technical software and a resident ‘computer geek’?
No! While that may have been true in the recent past, it isn’t the case any longer. For example, I know virtually nothing about writing web code, but I used a template to build the Windermere Centre website over a weekend. I’ve used WordPress, which is what is known as Open Source software: it’s free and is being constantly developed and improved by a community of users. It’s blogging software, which means it is designed for use by virtually anyone who can use a computer and doesn’t require a great level of expertise.
What is ‘blogging’ software?? How is that different from ‘normal’ website software?
‘Blog’ is a contraction of ‘weblog’. Blogs were designed originally as online diaries: people could post news in them and their friends could write responses. Go on to a ‘normal’ website and you can’t write anything on it; go on to a blog and you can. It is ‘interactive’ software – software that enables online conversations to take place.