Churches often help their local community, but their websites often just display evidence of that help. Why not help the community right on your website? Yes you should focus on recruiting new members, but we should also strive to love our neighbors. This is content that will not only let visitors know that your church cares about the community; but it should rank well in search engines.
Here are a few examples of groups you can target and ways you can further let love shine on your website:
Create and maintain information that can help single parents. This could be information on child care groups that give single parents a break, listing of consignment shops, or possibly the best local deals on baby supplies. Either way, you can certainly reach out to this demographic and help show them Christ’s love. After all, regardless of the number of parents, new children in your youth ministry is always a blessing for the survival of your church.
Many churches offer counseling services, both professional and peer-based, that help addicts overcome their afflictions. Although posting dates and times for your meetings is helpful; it may not help with their more immediate needs. Perhaps you can post a daily prayer (that is shared on Facebook & Twitter of course), or provide regular links to articles on helping with addiction. Account for concerned family members and provide information or links to information on spotting signs of various addictions, and who to contact if they want to help. Hopefully this information can help addicts and their families better cope; and further establish your church as an entity that cares about its community
Publish an online guide for new residents and help newcomers to your city find their way around. Provide them a guide, highlighting the best restaurants, daycares, schools, parks, and other attractions around town. A daring move would be to provide a listing of other churches in the area. Invite people to try your church first, but if they do not feel that they fit in; help them find another church where they do. Not only are you showing that you are confident that they will enjoy your church; you are demonstrating your commitment to the Gospel, not your individual church.
If you create a section on your website, or even a microsite; the challenge will not be gathering the information, but keeping it up to date with fresh and accurate content. So be sure to think past your initial deployment and into how and who will maintain it.
Examine where your church can help your local community. What is the least churched demographic in your area and how can you help them? Sometimes an indirect means of converting people is more effective. It is far easier to invite someone to accept Christ’s gift of salvation when you have already won them over with love.
Note: This article was inspired by a episode of The Internet Toolbox for Churches.
Photo courtesy of Spiz