Every few years, websites must be overhauled to accommodate new technology, new features, and new ways to engage people with an organization’s work. Much has happened in the years since our church built its website on the Wix platform, and today we’re launching what we hope will be a website that will better engage members of our church as well as people worldwide who are seeking a relationship with Christ through an authentic community.
A couple of months ago, we sent out a survey to our broadest church email list in order to see how we might improve our new website. The challenge of creating and maintaining a website, especially for an organization as complex and active as our church, is finding the best way to organize and present the most relevant information. This, of course, is always an ongoing task with imperfect outcomes. According to the 84 people who participated in our survey, we learned:
The most used features of the site are:
There are more data to sort through from this survey, but suffice it to say these first questions, and their answers helped form the priorities for the new website that you are reading today.
You’ll notice these priorities reflected right off the bat. First, the church calendar is right at the bottom of the homepage. This calendar information is fed directly by our master church calendar and is distributed not only to this website but to screens in the church building as well.
Second, in the middle of the home page is a section that hosts the most current and relevant information about events in the church. You’ll find “Morning Coffee” there, as well as news announcements and links to our weekly livestreamed worship services. And if you’re looking for something in particular, there’s a search field at the top right of every post or sub-page on the site.
Get ready for more interactivity with this new site. It’s designed to be less like a billboard and more like a theater or restaurant where you can meet friends and experience life together. It’s a stretch to make such a comparison, for sure, but that’s the attempt nonetheless. Soon we will launch a social networking function where you can create a profile, connect with friends, join groups, and share information, all within our website.
In 2022 we will be adding podcasts to our online ministry as well. In addition to finding our podcast on all the places one finds them – Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon, and more – each will appear on our website as well. Audio content is easy to produce and fun to listen to. We are in the process of designing a podcast that you’ll want to listen to on your drive, at the gym, or when out on a walk.
This website also offers us a format for posting more news about events, and more stories about our church’s ministries. These stories will appear in the boxes on the home page, along with other timely information, and will rotate off over time. They will always be archived on our site, so if you’re looking for information you saw posted before but not visible now, simply search for it in the search field on every post or page.
One of the most exciting components of this site will be a growing catalog of online learning courses. These will not replace in-person classes, but will supplement the Christian education our church already has. Imagine taking an adult confirmation class that meets in-person, holds additional conversations via Zoom, and contains videos and reflections that can be accessed any day of the week. This will greatly enhance our opportunities to learn and grow.
Rev. Flynn’s “The Bible for Critical Thinkers” will premiere here. You will still be able to obtain a hard copy of the study book or download a PDF, but you will also be able to take the course as you might on Thinkific or some other learning management system. Go ahead and take a look by clicking on the “Courses” link on the menu bar at the top of the page.
Finally: we’ve done our best to make this new version of our church’s website fully functional upon launch. But with all things, there will be pages that are already out-of-date, links that are broken, and cool features that just don’t work for everyone. Please be patient, and please help us by using this form to list problems that you find.