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Five Considerations Pastors Need to Make When Building a Website

As Ellis Paul once sang, “the world ain’t slowing down.” No one feels the weight of these words quite like a pastor! Whether it’s performing a wedding, prepping a sermon, counseling a couple, or sifting through financials, pastors have a lot on their plates.

Aside from the regular duties of the pastorate, keeping an eye on the church website is moving front and center. The web is a place of rapid growth for many churches. So fast, in fact, there’s simply no way to keep up with the latest trends.

Many pastors “green light” a website build or refresh for their church without having the time they want to make the best decision. If that’s you, or you know someone like this, here are five things for pastors to consider before your next web project.

Consider Your Audience

Church leaders in general tend to always have a finger on the pulse of their congregation. Pastors are in the trenches with their people day in, day out. If there’s a pressing need, project, or issue in the community, pastors are great at changing course quickly and making the right adjustments.

Make sure this awareness spreads into the online world as well. For instance, tablet computer sales are predicted to eclipse desktop sales by 2015. What’s your plan for mobile, pastors?

Consider the Movement

One of the main concerns of pastors is evaluating the spiritual health of their flock. Are people moving deeper into their relationship with God and others? Gauging ministry movement in your church is one of the best ways to determine missional effectiveness.

A church's website must play a pivotal role in creating movement in the community. Does your website possess the ability to attract new visitors? Are they easily finding commuity events on the web, drawing them closer into relationship with others? Can people easily locate volunteer opportunities on the site, allowing them to serve in a deeper capacity? Pastors must consider the discipleship impact of their website.

Consider the Cost

Open-source web solutions claim to be “free” and, in fact, are, but only in the strictest sense. You may not have to pay to use the platform upfront, but make sure you’re considering the costs of going with an open-source platform long-term (e.g. cost of lost time in case something breaks and no one knows how to fix it; cost in opportunity if it takes too long for volunteers to update critical portions of the site, etc.)

A hosted solution, on the other hand, has financial costs, but there’s also the peace of mind which only comes in knowing an expert has your back.

Consider the Company

If you go with a hosted solution for your church website (like Ekklesia 360 for example), make sure you ask the following questions:

  1. How long has this company been around?
  2. What’s their track record like?
  3. Who have they worked with?
  4. What are other people who do what I do saying about them?

With church website solutions, you truly get what you pay for. Cost should be considered, but make sure you’re spending money with the right company with a proven track record.

Consider Your Future

One of the downfalls of open-source is, well, the open nature of it all! For many churches, having someone on staff full-time to monitor changes, update plugins, and fix rogue code simply isn’t an option. This can lead to some pretty ugly situations if the person on staff in charge of your website isn’t comfortable making those changes.

When you go with a church website provider, you have the confidence of knowing a dedicated team is taking care of you. Even better? Solutions like Ekklesia 360 have the functionality backed in to grow with your church. Whether you’re a house church, a megachurch, or anywhere in between, Ekklesia 360 can grow with you!

What Else Do You Look For?

If you’re a pastor, chances are good you’ve faced the website solution decision before. How did you handle it? What were some of the functionalities and features you were looking for in a church website provider?

Let us know in the comments!