Oh look – BigAwesome Church has just launched a brand new website. It looks awesome – really modern and engaging, lots of personality. Let’s take a look at the homepage…
A nice black or white panel at the top with the logo in it? Check.
BIG full width image at the top? Check.
How about some big center-aligned text over the image? Check.
Do you ever get the feeling that Church websites are all starting to look the same?
Don’t get me wrong – I think it is great that Churches are reaching a point where the websites they create are attractive. They are understanding the need to be engaging for potential visitors – and big photos do a great job of showing of what the church is like through people and location shots. They are putting resources aside to do the job properly.
All of these things are really good. But here’s the thing…
How is this Church Different?
It’s possible that the only interaction I have with your church is through your website. A lot of the impression I get of your church (in an intangible sense) is through the style and design of your website.
If your church’s website looks much the same as everyone else – I start to feel like you are just like everyone else.
At the heart of it – most churches are on about the same thing. We love Jesus, and want the world to meet him through our words and deeds. But each church also unique – its culture, and the makeup of its congregation make it different from the church down the road.
This difference is something that should be able to be seen through your website. It should be a unique reflection of your culture, makeup and mission.
What about being on trend?
Trends and best practices can be a great starting point. It allows you to see where people’s expectations are, and avoid doing something that will be dated and out of touch. But they can’t be the only thing.
— Aaron Skinner (@t_a_skinner) August 12, 2015
If you’re going to truly reach the people you are uniquely suited minster to – you need to be authentic. You need your website to be a true indication of what you are like. And that is going to be different from Church to Church.
What about Creative Expression?
Our God is a creative God. Being made in God’s image means that we are creative beings. We are made to make things an express ourselves (and God) through them.
Surely this should also be seen in our websites? Surely we should be using them as an opportunity to express how God has made us?
To be sure – they are also a functional tool. They are designed to convey information clearly, and make people welcome.
But can’t it be both?
The challenge is to make websites for churches that are a reflection of the church, and uniquely suited to reach the people they are ministering to. And it is a responsibility that we share…
Those responsible for decisions in churches need to push those designing & developing their websites to look past the trends.
And designers/creatives and others designing and building websites for Churches – it is our responsibility to keep pushing. Don’t gt bogged in trends and best practices. Let’s design websites that truly represent the churches we are designing the for.
It’s Not All Bad
There are some really great an unique church websites out there. Let us know some of the great ones you have seen.