4 Things to Rethink About Your Church Website | Jason and Bart

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Engage more people on your church website. Jason and Bart wrap up season 1 and discuss 4 things to rethink about your church website.

Podcast Notes


Podcast Transcription


Bart Blair: [00:00:19] Welcome to the Church Growth Interviews podcast, I’m Bart Blair, joined, I would say, face-to-face via Digital Media, via Zoom, with Jason Hamrock, my friend and ministry partner and the CEO of Missional Marketing. I already said your name, Jason Hamrock. There it is again, Jason Hamrock..

Jason Hamrock: [00:00:38] Hey, Bart. How are you doing today?

Bart Blair: [00:00:41] I’m actually – I’m doing really well. We were talking offline just a minute ago and I said it’s been – we’re recording this on a Wednesday, or no, Thursday. Today’s a Thursday. Gosh, I don’t even know what day of the week it is. That tells you how I’m doing. I sat down in my chair in my living room at about 9:30 last night, which was a Wednesday evening and I said, oh, I’m so looking forward to Friday. And then it dawned on me, wait tomorrow’s not Friday. Tomorrow is just Thursday. That’s the kind of week that I’m having. It’s been good. It’s just been really, really busy. You were just….

Jason Hamrock: [00:01:09] Yeah, I think it – you’re in ministry. I mean, it kind of blurs together often. And those lines get fuzzy on what day it is. Because, you know, for most church, like the church that we serve. Sundays coming, every Sunday. And so, that happens to me all the time. I’m like, what day is it again? Because you just get busy and it’s a great season to be in. But, it also can kind of cloud your thinking.

Bart Blair: [00:01:33] It can. And we’re – because of the way that we serve churches. The thing is, are very seasonal for us. Summer months, there’s not always a ton of activity except for the fact that many of the churches that we work with are planning relaunches, back to church campaigns, things in August and September. And so, while some of our team members, like you recently taking vacations – I had a call with a church this morning and the lady that I was meeting with this morning is leaving tomorrow for vacation. And so, it can be a little bit of like air traffic controlling – trying to make sure that we’re getting all of our ducks in a row to make sure that we get everything in line for the churches that we need to get in line but. It’s a good season. It’s fun. A lot of new churches that we’re having the opportunity to connect with and build relationships with and I’ve been busy, but I’m very hopeful.

Jason Hamrock: [00:02:26] I agree with you and it’s been fun to see churches thinking about – they’re getting a lot of momentum. You know, their numbers aren’t exactly back to what it was pre-COVID and I don’t even know if I want to use that anymore because this is just their new normal. But, what’s been really cool is hearing about all the growth. Like a lot of new people showing up at their church and praise God for that.

Bart Blair: [00:02:50] Yeah, absolutely. Now, speaking of being busy. You were away for holiday with your family, with your wife for your anniversary and I called an audible while you were away. And my audible was, we’re going to record our 50th episode when you get back, which is this one. This is episode 50. And this is officially going to be the end of season 1. I called the audible. Over the course of the last few months, as we have gotten, I keep using the word busy. But, as we’ve gotten – our plates have been more and more full, with more churches and more opportunities to serve churches, the time that we have to record podcasts gets harder and harder to find and lining up guests and scheduling has gotten a little more complicated. So, I decided we’re going to take a few weeks off and we’re going to try to catch up on booking some guests. We’ve already got some lined up and just sort of reorganize ourselves and probably September, we will start season 2. We’ll start season 2 in September. And so, because we’re not going to have podcasts released for the next, probably 3 – 5 weeks or so, it’s important that if you haven’t subscribed, wherever you listen, that you do because you might forget about us. So, if you watch us on YouTube or you’re subscribed, or you’re listening on Google or Apple podcast or Stitcher or wherever you listen, make sure that you subscribe so that you get the next episode. Season 1, Season 2, Episode 1. Make sure that you subscribe so you get that. And, if you haven’t left us a rating, a review, wherever you listen to the podcast, make sure that you do that. It really helps more people find the podcast. So, if you find what we’re doing here helpful, we would love for you to share that with others.

Jason Hamrock: [00:04:37] Absolutely. Yeah. It’s been a fantastic season 1, 50 of them. In fact, I just was looking through that the other day and going, wow, we’ve just had a lot of great conversations by some incredible leaders. Lead pastors, executive pastors, communications staff, other people that are not involved – they’re indirectly involved in churches. But, it has been a fantastic season. In fact, one of my favorites is the very first person we started with and she came back for a second time. Katie Allred with Church Communications. We started the podcast with Katie and she was on recently for a second go around. And so, go listen to those as well. Katie is an incredible leader. She co-runs ChurchCommunications.com and they are doing some amazing things to help churches improve their communications and Katie is – she’s brilliant. So, it was great to have her on twice in our first season.

Bart Blair: [00:05:37] Yeah, I would say Katie and Kenny and what they’ve done at Church Communications have actually been very influential in terms of what we’ve been doing in terms of producing content, especially the podcasts. They had you on their podcast and I think we sort of went, well, if they can do it, we can do it. No. That wasn’t really the attitude but we realize that there’s a lot of value in podcasting and so, if you’re not a member of the Facebook group, the Church Communications Facebook group, make sure you join that group. I’m in it and there’s just always all kinds of super helpful content being shared in that group. Peer to peer learning, peer to peer help. I think that’s one of the benefits of being in that group. It’s one of the largest groups on Facebook and they’ve done a fantastic job of coordinating that and facilitating it. We assume that many of the people who listen to this podcast or watch this podcast are probably already in the church communications group but if you’re not, make sure that you join that and listen to those episodes that we recorded with Katie because she’s smart and they’re very insightful. All right. So, we’re going to do something a little bit different here – different than what we typically do because we’re going to interview each other over the course of the next few minutes. We typically have a guest that we interview, a church leader or a church communications professional, a pastor, someone who can speak into a specific topic. But, we wanted to kind of end this season talking specifically about church websites. We talk a lot about church websites, but we’re going to hit on some very, very specific things as it relates to church podcasts. We’re titling this: 4 Things That You Need to Rethink About Your Church Website. Okay? 4 Things That You Need to Rethink About Your Church Website. Before we get into this conversation. Jason, I would love for you to kind of lay the foundation for what we at Missional Marketing view as the primary audiences of the church website. We use this “3 rings analogy”. Can you kind of break that down for our listeners?

Jason Hamrock: [00:07:39] Love to. So, this came to my mind years ago when when I was sitting and thinking about – I’m a former church communication director. And, you sit there and you look at like, OK, we’re trying to – my job is to try and get what I call “cheeks in the seats”. And, I knew if I could do that, then our worship team, our children’s team, of course our lead pastor, as he preaches, that’s going to bring people back. But, it got me thinking about: who are we trying to target and what does that even look like and how do you kind of wrap your arms around that? And these, just in my head, three rings came to mind. So, I break them down this way and it’s very important for you to kind of understand this, because we talk, we always talk in these three rings. Ring 1 are people who already go to your church. Now, that’s a pretty big audience, right? For some churches, it’s in the thousands, even though their weekly attendance is a lot less. You know, you got your Christmas and Easter people, they come like once or twice a year, all the way over to the people who are, like, die hard, you know, they’re living out Luke 9:23, carrying their cross daily and they are all in, right? They’re small group leaders. They attend every weekend. They tithe. They give above and beyond, all this stuff, right? So, your ring 1 is anybody that is in that spectrum and it’s important to understand how you communicate to those people. That’s ring 1. Ring 2 are people that are looking for a church. They’re in your community. They’re looking for a church. They either, maybe they moved to the area. Maybe their old church split, or they just were not happy with their old church so they’re looking for a new one. Unfortunately, I think a lot of times it’s a divorce situation where, you know, she’s going to stay at the home church. I’ve got to go find a new church. That happens all the time. But, these are people that are looking for a church and they go to Google and they’ll Google things like “Churches near me” or “Best churches in my city”. This happens all the time. And so you really want to be focused on Ring 2. Its low hanging fruit. Then there’s Ring 3. Ring 3 is by far and away the largest ring. It’s people that are searching for help with a felt need issue. Now, they’re not necessarily looking for church. In fact, maybe they don’t even believe in God or they don’t even think about church. They don’t like church, but they’ve got an issue, right? They’ve got a marriage problem. They’ve got a parenting issue. They’re overcoming an addiction. Maybe they’re going through some grief or stress. Maybe they’re looking for like, how to be forgiven or maybe it’s finances. You get the idea. Tons and tons of felt need topics that we preach on all the time. We built ministry around felt needs. And yet these people that are outside of your church, they could even be down the street. They’re looking and they’re searching Google for this help and they’re not thinking about you. But you have answers. And so, whenever we talk about ring 3, we talk about making connections with people that are outside, that are searching Google. We want them to find your local church. That’s the – those are the 3 rings. Whenever we talk about stuff, it’s always making sure through that lens of, who are you targeting when it comes to your website? Ring 1, 2 or 3?

Bart Blair: [00:10:56] Right. And I think and I’ll speak to this from personal experience. Our default as church leaders is to think about our own people first.

Jason Hamrock: [00:11:06] That’s right.

Bart Blair: [00:11:07] Our default is to always think: what do my people need on my website? What are they looking for and how do I help them with what I’m producing or publishing on my website? When the reality is, when we look at the data, when we look at the numbers. A significant number of visitors to your website, far more than you might imagine, are people who don’t yet know you. And I’ve sort of, as I work with churches, I’ve sort of taken the posture that: I’m OK requiring the people who are already part of my church, the ring 1 people, I’m OK with them having to click or scroll to find what they’re looking for. I’m OK with that. They’ll do it. They know you. They love you. They’re not going to leave your church because they didn’t have – it took them 2 clicks to get their small group discussion guide or the calendar of events for the men’s ministry or something of that nature.

Jason Hamrock: [00:12:03] That’s right.

Bart Blair: [00:12:04] However, with a lot of the new visitors coming to your website, you get 1 shot and you want to make sure that you’re thinking about your website with the lens, as you just shared, about what ring 2 and ring 3 people are looking for and what they’re finding when they get to your website. And, I pulled some statistics to share in this episode, just to give real numbers so that people have some perspective okay? Three churches that are partner churches with us, churches that we work with. The first is Chase Oaks Church, which is a large multi-campus church in the North Dallas area and, in the month of June, 2021, they had over 13,000 visitors to their website. New visitors. 13,000 new visitors to the website. These are people who had not been on their website before versus 5,000 returning visitors to their website. Okay? 13,000 new visitors versus 5,000 returning visitors. 72% of their website traffic, in one month were new visitors to their website. And this is June. This isn’t even a time of like – it’s summer in Texas right? School’s already out. These are substantial numbers. It’s a large church with multiple campuses in multiple communities, kind of driving the majority of that traffic. Another church. Another church that we work with. Pathfinder Church in Missouri.

Jason Hamrock: [00:13:24] Smaller church.

Bart Blair: [00:13:26] Yeah. Small church. I believe Pathfinders probably in the 800 to 1,000 person range. So, it’s under 1,000 people. In the month of June, they had 5,600 new visitors to their website. 1,500 returning visitors. 78% of their web traffic was new visitors, in the month of June, okay? All Saints Church. Church plant, Bronx, New York.

Jason Hamrock: [00:13:51] Small church.

Bart Blair: [00:13:52] Very small church. 50 people, post-COVID. I just met with Eric, the church planter/pastor of the church last week. They had an event. They had 45 people. 31 adults and 14 kids, okay? Small church. In the month of June, 842 new visitors. 43 returning visitors. 85% of their traffic is new visitor traffic. So, between these 3 churches and I’m telling you, your church is probably the same, wherever your church is, it’s probably the same. You have more ring 2 and ring 3 people checking out your website every month than you do ring 1 people coming to your website.

Jason Hamrock: [00:14:33] That’s right.

Bart Blair: [00:14:33] OK, now. With that in mind, the things that we want you to consider and rethink about your website are related to how people in ring 2 and ring 3 view your website. And I want to start by posing the 4 questions that I believe every ring 2 and ring 3 person is asking when they come to your website, okay? So, if you got a pencil. Write this down. If you’re in the car or you’re on a lawnmower, don’t write this down. Just rewind and listen to it later. OK, but these are the 4 questions that newcomers to your website always ask. The first question is: will I fit in? Will I fit in? And we’re going to talk in just a minute about how you display whether or not a person will fit in. Second, what do you have for my kids? Not everyone has kids. So, if they don’t have kids, they’re probably not asking that question. But I can guarantee, if they have an infant to a teenager, they’re going to be asking that question. What do you have for my kids, okay? Third question, who’s in charge? People really want to know what the pastor and the staff look like. They want a little biographical information. They want to know where this person came from and they’re asking the question, can I trust them? Right? Really, when they’re asking who’s in charge, they’re asking, can I trust who’s in charge?

Jason Hamrock: [00:15:50] Yeah. Who’s this? Is this guy normal? Is he kind of goopy. Who is this guy, right?

Bart Blair: [00:15:54] Exactly.

Jason Hamrock: [00:15:55] They want to know that.

Bart Blair: [00:15:55] Yeah, exactly. And then the fourth question after, will I fit in? What do you have for my kids? Who’s in charge? The fourth question is: this is specifically for ring 3. What’s in it for me? What’s in it for me? Because remember, ring 3 people are not necessarily looking for church. They’re looking for help. They’re looking for help with some specific felt need. They’ve ended up on your church website because they’re trying to DIY some life problem that they have in Google or on YouTube, and they’ve ended up on your church website. They’re not asking you about your latest sermon series, OK? They’re not asking you about your mission statement, your vision and your purpose.

Jason Hamrock: [00:16:33] They don’t even care about that, likely.

Bart Blair: [00:16:35] They don’t even understand what any of it means. They really want to know, what is the benefit? Why should I attend your church, okay? So, with those questions in mind, here are the 4 things – 4 things you need to rethink about your church website. The first one is photos. It may seem very simple, but it’s photos. Jason, why don’t you speak a little bit about how you feel churches can most effectively use photos on their church website.

Jason Hamrock: [00:17:04] So, there’s a lot of great stock photos out there that have gotten – they used to be cheesy, but they’re better. But, you know what? If I’m thinking about going to your church, I kind of want to see, like, would I fit in? How am I going to know if I fit in? Pictures of your people. Authentic pictures of your people. So, you know, I mean, when you take a picture of the stage, of the worship band. I don’t know if I’d put that like above the fold on the homepage, maybe further down. But, you know, photos of your people, like in a gathering setting, right? Of people that I look at go, yup, those are my people. I could see myself connecting with those people. You never want to create a bait and switch. Sometimes we talk to a little bit older churches, like older congregations that are like, we want to go after young people. Well, OK, you don’t want to put a whole bunch of young people on your website and they show up and go, Where’s all the young people? All I see is older people, like my parents, like that’s who I see. So, be real about who you’re putting on your website. But, it doesn’t have to be professional setting photography. Just be real about it, right? And take as good as pictures as you can, because that’s really important to relate that to people – being authentic. I’ll also speak to – I’m just going to go on a little side tangent. Your Google My Business. When you Google your name and your Google My Business shows up. Look at those photos. Right? And make sure that those photos are being updated with those same pictures on the website. So, taking pictures of your own people. You know, people with hands in the air when they’re worshipping. I get a little bit like – because people, if they don’t go to church, think about this. Most people in America, growing up, have never been to church before. That are unchurched. They’ve never been to church before. There’s a growing, growing population of those people. So, when they see people with their hands up in the air, or they see things that might seem weird to them. You don’t want to weird them out, right? So, you kind of want to make it authentic. Make it real. And, you know, the questions that you’re posing, Bart, are, will I fit in and what do you have for my kids and who’s in charge? Right? I’ll tell you – we recently transferred churches and we were looking around for other churches and I got to tell you: if my teenage boys didn’t like the youth group, it doesn’t matter what my wife and I cared about. Like, we care about our kids getting connected and growing in their faith, first and foremost, before us. And so, you got to really make sure you focus on that and, you know, you got to pay attention to that. And don’t just assume parents are going to look past that. They’re not. They’re going to really want to know who’s in charge. What do you have to offer my kids? What’s the benefit for me to bring my family and a lot of that can be expressed through photos.

Bart Blair: [00:20:00] Yeah, so I will say this. You hit on the worship band photos and people worshipping with their hands in the air. We spend a lot of time and a lot of energy trying to create a really great worship experience on Sunday mornings. But ring 2 and ring 3 people are not necessarily looking for the worship experience. They’re looking for help or relational connections. There is a place on your website for those photos. It’s under the “Plan a Visit” and “What Can I Expect?” That’s where I want to see those photos. But above the fold, and most of what I want to see on the Home Page of the website, is I want to see photos of the body life. People in community. And I want to see a cross spectrum of who attends your church to figure out whether or not I’ll fit in. On the note for the who’s in charge. Use photos on your church staff page, of your staff. Every once in a while, I’ll run across a church staff page that just has names and titles and maybe email addresses, but no photos. It’s really, really helpful for your church to make sure that you include include photos of your staff. Okay.

Jason Hamrock: [00:21:06] Yeah, and I would even say. So, above the fold. Maybe you don’t know what that means. When you go to your website. The very – on the home page at the very, very top before you start scrolling, that’s considered above the fold. It’s like the newspaper that folds in half. It’s like, that’s it. That’s the most important real estate on your entire website. Is that above the fold homepage. I think the second most important page is your “Plan a Visit” page. If you don’t have one, create one. And even on that, you’re talking about like, who’s the guy in charge? Put a video of him welcoming people. 30 seconds. Just introducing himself and saying, I’d love to invite you to church, here’s why. So they can get to know him a little bit and have lots of links on there to engage or watch a previous message. But, those I think, those are the 2 most important real estate pieces on your website.

Bart Blair: [00:21:56] 100%. Ok. Let’s talk about the second thing that you need to rethink about your church website and that is: the menu. The menu that you have on your home page, which actually will be the menu that you have probably throughout your entire website. Jason, what are the things that you would put as a top priority or that you would consider the key things that you want to have in your menu on your website?

Jason Hamrock: [00:22:19] Well, again. Going back to the same old questions, what’s in it for me? What do you have for my kids? What’s in it for me? Who is in charge? So as you think about your nav bar, right, the menu. Don’t forget that your people will certainly scroll down to the footer. Once they recognize that you’ve got information on the footer, put stuff on the footer that’s kind of for them. Like, I don’t really want to see. I know I’m going to get pushback on this. I don’t really want to see “Give”. I mean, I know that’s nice, but if you put that at the very, very top, that maybe is OK but have that in the nav bar. Again, ring 2 and ring 3 people aren’t looking, how can I give? You know. That’s not what they’re looking for. Right? They want to learn about you. They want to learn about how they can get their kids connected. I’m not a big fan of like, “ministries” and you have to click on that and then you have all this stuff that you’ve got to go find, Children is over – a bunch of, like tiles on a page and now you’ve got to make me think. You’re making me think too much. Guess what I’m going to do? I’m going to bounce on out, right? So, on that nav bar, you know, things like watch a recent message, a call to action. It’s do something. Watch a recent message. Check out childrens. Check out students. Right? Plan a visit. Things of that nature that are going to speak to ring 2 and ring 3. The other one would be – I would, in speaking specifically with ring 3 is, something around, get help, right? That your care ministries, your grief shares, your celebrate recovery, the divorce care stuff. You get those ministries. Get help. Right? And if I click on that now I can find where I can go get help.

Bart Blair: [00:23:59] I want to highlight the way that you’ve stated all of those before we move on to the next thing to rethink. And that is, you clearly said your menu options need to be calls to action. So, we want to see words like: Watch, Watch on Demand versus Sermons or Media. We want to see: Plan a Visit versus New. Because, I’m telling my guests, I’m telling my website visitor what I want them to do. I want you to watch. I want you to plan a visit. I want you to learn more. I want you to get help. Right? I want you to check out children’s ministry. So rather than just giving.

Jason Hamrock: [00:24:37] It’s very subtle.

Bart Blair: [00:24:38] It’s very subtle but it actually – I think that it’s worth rethinking that about your church website. OK. So we talked about photos. We talked about the menu. Let’s talk very briefly about time and location. Okay and I’m just going to say – one of my biggest pet peeves is when I go to a church website and I cannot figure out where they are. Okay? And, every once in a while, you would be shocked how often we run across a website where it’s almost impossible to figure out where they are. So, why don’t you speak on that?

Jason Hamrock: [00:25:11] Why we do that is, often churches will reach out to us. They want to talk to us. We work with hundreds and hundreds of churches and we talk to even more hundreds and hundreds of churches. So, often we’ll just hey, there’s a church. You know, First Baptist Church. They came in so I click on their website. I’m going, okay where is this? I have no idea where they are. And you’d be amazed how often I have to search and click like 3 or 4 times before I even find an address. Are you kidding me? And I’m a pretty seasoned church guy, right? I know a lot of church websites. Oh, that makes me cringe. So, you don’t – here’s some advice. You want to think about Google and you want to think about users. OK. Here’s kind of a, just a bit of a statement I would live by. I will click once, if I’m checking you out for the first time, I’ll click once, OK, because it’s OK. If you say Plan a Visit, or you know, Locations. I’ll click on that. I’m curious, you know. You’ve got me. I looked at the photo. I like that. I like your benefits statement, which we’ll talk about. I’ll click once. Don’t make me click like 2 or 3 or 4 times. Leave that for ring 1 and here’s the reason why. You really want to pay attention to Google. So, if you have all your stuff on the home page, like a nice benefit statement, and then we meet at 10 o’clock on Sundays and here’s our address. Well guess what? If I’m going to maybe go visit you, I don’t need to learn anything more. I can leave your website. Well, if I never did anything on your website and I got all that information and I left the website, I just bounced and in Google, they would say that user just went to that website and then they left after like 30 seconds. Must be an irrelevant website. Right? So, you really want somebody to click. Google’s watching this, right? And so, if you can get somebody to click at least once, that would be labeled as a conversion. That’s really, really, really, really good for you in Google World. But from a user standpoint, don’t make me click more than once. Unless I really want to go deeper but, give me what I – you tell me what I’m supposed to do, plan a visit and go all those details. I’m going to learn all about you. I’m going to learn where you’re located. I’m going to learn what time the services are and I could take a step deeper if I really wanted to like schedule, like, you know, register my kids for check-in or whatnot. But I think it’s really important for your time and your location that you don’t make me think too hard but I’ll click at least once.

Bart Blair: [00:27:49] Right. We’ve actually been told by churches that we work with, especially those that are recent church plants that have worked with one or a couple of church planting ministries, that these church planting ministries that they work with. These organizations tell them that they want to have their meeting times and location be the most prominent thing on their homepage. And while I’m an advocate for church planting and for these church planting ministries, I’m an advocate for them as well. I would say that that is not the best advice as it relates to your website traffic. I want to have one button that’s super obvious. That’s either Plan a Visit and/or Time and Location, because I don’t want people to have to hunt for it, but I want them to click at least once. I want at least one click.

Speaker2: [00:28:37] You want to. Yeah. You want to be relevant to Google. You need to have called actions. So I, I would agree with you. I disagree with that whole mentality of just put it right there at the very top. No, people won’t engage.

Speaker1: [00:28:50] Right. OK, we talked about photos, we’ve talked about minut, we’ve talked about time and location. And we’re going to finish things up here with the last one, which is actually perhaps the most important.

Speaker2: [00:29:00] It probably

Speaker1: [00:29:01] Is. It probably is the most important and that is discussing a benefit statement on a website. Now, let me just clarify the difference between a benefit statement and a mission statement, a mission statement or a vision statement or your church purpose statement as the first thing that people see on your website. It tells people something about your church, but it doesn’t necessarily communicate to the new visitor to your website as to why they should actually connect with your church. And remember, we’re looking at this through the eyes of ring to and ring three people, in which case they either case, whether the ring to a ring three, they may not be believers in Jesus yet. They may not be church people. Then they’re likely not church to people just because they’re looking for a church. Does it mean that they’re a believer that their church and so having your mission statement as the first thing that people see may actually work against you in some ways because it doesn’t communicate clearly to someone why your church can make a difference in their life? Right. So talk a little bit. I’ve got some sample benefit statements that we’re going to go through here. But I want you to talk about that a little more.

Speaker2: [00:30:17] It’s probably offensive. If I don’t go to church, right, and I don’t even know if I believe in God, but I’m kind of curious, you know, and maybe I met a girl and she wants me to go, you know, you’re just who knows the situation, but you’re finding yourself. Maybe think about going to church and you read that we’re trying to you’re trying to reach the lost. Am I lost? What are you talking about that’s super offensive? We know that the church, the big C. Church, the goal is to get as many people connected to Jesus. We get it. We want to reach the entire universe. We get it. But you have to understand that that’s offensive to people who don’t really go to church. And so it’s the last thing you want to put is your mission statement on why you exist. Put that on about us somewhere way further down the page for somebody who wants to actually read about that so well. And I just was with the church yesterday that a client of ours, they just jumped on board there in Florida. And I see their mission statement and their vision statement right below the fold. And I just went like this. I had the lead pastor in the room and I said, why do you put that there? We want people to know who we are, what we’re about. I think they’ll find that right. What about the people who aren’t churched, who are looking at your website and again, like you just went through we went through their numbers that are new visitors, like it’s growing because we’ve been working on them for a couple of months ago. I get rid of it. Right. Once I explained it, he goes, that makes so much sense. Does is their benefits statement was horrible. So why don’t you go through and talk about like, let’s let’s eliminate mission statement or vision statement and plug in benefits statement. Take it away.

Speaker1: [00:32:03] Ok, so remember, the benefits statement is telling the user, the visitor to your Web site, why they should hang around on your website at the very least and click a little more or why they should click a plan to visit. OK, so I pulled up a few and all of these kind of address a different felt need. It’s a different with them. It’s a different what’s in it for me. The first one is Northpoint Church. andI church. Everybody knows that. Everybody knows the church now like it. Like it or not, they have a great benefit statement. It’s simply this life is complicated. We want to help. That’s it. Life is complicated. We want to help now. When I saw that, here’s a plug to another podcast episode. The first thing that I thought of when I saw that was this church has done story brand. This church has gone through a story branding process, because I think that’s straight out of the story brands textbook. So we have an episode that you recorded with Ken Jeong, who is part of the church communications team we mentioned earlier, as well as Katie. There is an episode. I don’t remember the episode. No, but we’ll link to it in the show notes of this podcast. And Kenny talks about why a story brand framework is helpful for your church. So if you haven’t gone through story brand, if you haven’t read the book now, listen. That episode. Yeah. Yeah. Check that one out. OK, so that was one that was North Point’s life is complicated. We want to help. Here’s another one. I thought this was pretty cool. This is Eastlack Community Church, a not so secret society of people working together for good. I love that. I love it because it’s got a little bit of tongue in cheek fun to it. But it also communicates that we’ve got a purpose in what we’re doing and it doesn’t spell it out in Christianities or any kind of biblical language. It just kind of says, hey, look, we’re we’re here to do some good things and to save

Speaker2: [00:33:51] People that does. Whatever do you mean by that? It’s just, hey, we want to do some good. Exactly. People can resonate with that.

Speaker1: [00:33:58] Here’s a celebration church from Austin, Texas. Here’s their benefit statement. A church in Austin, Texas, helping you connect with your destiny. What does that speak to purpose

Speaker2: [00:34:11] To purposes, right? The first is we’re in Austin, Texas, and the second is purpose in life. Right. We want to help you with your destiny.

Speaker1: [00:34:19] Yeah, I love it. People are looking for direction, purpose, meaning to their life and celebration. Church has that right above the fold. We want to help you connect with your destiny. Here’s the Oaks Church. Welcome to Oaks Church, where no one walks alone.

Speaker2: [00:34:35] Wow, the first of all, you just said welcome, hey, welcome to our church, right? And then that’s a I mean, for somebody who’s looking for community who who’s maybe a single mom. Right. Or lost a loved one or something like that, it’s you don’t have to do this alone. Yeah, we do life together. That’s community to me.

Speaker1: [00:34:54] Yeah. It’s an invitation into community and into a relationship, which is a big reason that people will connect with a church, especially people who are unchurched people. Last one, this is Hill City Church, a safe place to explore your faith now. A safe place. Yeah, a safe place to explore your faith. So while some of these others maybe they don’t resonate with you, you know, life is complicated. We want to help. That’s really about meeting people where they are and helping them with stuff they’re struggling with people working together for good. I said to you offline that Eastlakes I like it because, you know, it calls to the millennial generation’s need to be doing something that makes a difference in the world. Celebration Church wanting to help connect you with your destiny that speaks to purpose. Oaks Church. No one walks alone. It speaks to finding community and relationship. But Hill City Church addresses the spiritual questions that people are asking a safe place to explore your faith, basically saying we know you have questions about God. We know you have questions about eternity. We know you have questions about the Bible. This is a safe place for you to come and ask those questions.

Speaker1: [00:36:02] We’re here to help you do that. And so that’s those are those are a few that I. I was just doing some Internet searching and kind of compiling this list. I saw some strange ones. I shared one with you the other day. I’m not sure, I guess. But for the most part, most churches have a mission, vision or purpose statement above the fold as kind of the introductory language to the church. And I would say this. If you’re a church pastor, you’re a church leader, you’re a church communications director or church marketing professional, and you’re building a church website or you’re revamping your website. If you were to walk across the street to your neighbor who does not know Jesus, who does not have a church, and they ask you why they should attend your church, I want you to think about how you would answer that question. And the way that you answer that question is the way that you should phrase the vision statement or the sorry, the the benefit statement on your homepage. If you would say to your neighbor across the street, you will you should come because you’re lost and we want to save you.

Speaker2: [00:37:06] I think, again, the door slammed in your face. So I

Speaker1: [00:37:10] Rethink that. But why would you tell them? You would probably say something like phenomenal people, great community place where we can learn about God and grow together, where we can learn how to use our gifts and our talents to be a blessing to other people. You know, there are all kinds of reasons that you would give to invite someone who doesn’t know Jesus to this church that you love. Lead with that on your website. Lead with that.

Speaker2: [00:37:35] You’re not going to also speak into the fact that there’s a there’s a brand element. The word brand gets thrown around out there, like, what’s our brand? You know, and most people think it’s an icon of their logo. It’s not your brand. Your brand is what people outside think of you. Right. So if I’m not tied to you and I don’t I’m not a member of your church. I didn’t go to your church. What I think about your church is often the the brand, it may it may be a misalign brand like you might want to be this, but other people think of you as that. That’s another thing that I would encourage you to learn about, because if you’re truly like we want to be, you know, we want to work together for good, you’re you’re a service like you want to serve. Well, is there evidence of that? I don’t see a lot of serving opportunities in your church for the community, you know, so you don’t want to just come up with one because that’s super clever. No, it’s got to fit who you are as a church and what your body is doing to whatever it is like. What are you all about? Right. And so make sure those are all kind of connected. And then once you have those things interlocked, now you’re now you’re moving on the right path.

Speaker1: [00:38:51] That’s a perfect segue way to referencing another podcast that you recorded earlier this year with Mark McDonald. Your brand is more than your logo. Your church brand is more than your logo. I’ll link that one in the show notes as well. Another great episode.

Speaker2: [00:39:05] It’s all kind of goes together and and don’t get discouraged by this. Don’t get discouraged by this because it’s not super hard. Most churches, after some deeper, deeper thinking, can come up with this. That’s who we are. Yeah. This is this is who comes to our church. This is what we’re all about. Yeah. Let’s let’s make those connections and then everything gets behind that. Right. And that tagline that benefits statement shouldn’t just be on the home page above the fold. It should resonate through your whole website. It should be on signage. It should be on your campus. It can be in your digital bulletin on your on your app, wherever whatever that is. Get that thing out there and let everybody know the people that during when people don’t. Yep. That’s our. Yep. That’s that’s what we’re about. Boom. And our church meeting and follow. Jesus, we just nailed that like boom. That’s what we do and it’s everywhere. So I’d encourage don’t be discouraged by this. If you have a mission statement, how am I going to replace that? You know, think about it. Just go through the exercise and connect with us. If you if you would like to talk with Barder myself about that, we’d be more than happy to walk you through some exercises on how you can kind of get that benefit statement.

Speaker1: [00:40:21] Absolutely. All right. So to summarize, four things that you need to rethink about your church website, your photos, your menu, your time and location and your benefit statement. And I think that we’ve said enough on this topic. We said at the very beginning of this episode that we’ve been really, really busy. We’re so busy that you actually have people waiting in your Xoom room right now to get into a call. While you were talking a minute ago, I was messaging them and letting them know that you’re recording a podcast and that you would be with them in a minute. So we need to wrap this up. Hey, if you have been a listener, a follower of this podcast for the last 50 episodes for the last year, we really, really appreciate it. Again, we remind you to subscribe wherever you listen, whether that’s on a podcast platform or on YouTube, leave a comment, give us a rating, share it with a friend. If there’s anything specific that we could actually include in the content that we’re preparing for season two, shoot us a message and let us know. We’d love to know how we can serve you better and make sure that this podcast is actually addressing the questions that you as a church leader or church communicator have. Jason, thanks for taking the time with me today and looking. I’m looking forward to having a little break and then kicking off with season two.

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