Newsflash: you do not need to be young to work with technology. Basic computer skills and a can-do attitude can put nearly anyone in charge of the daily maintenance of your church’s website. Here are some tips and encouragement to get volunteers of any age involved and engaged.
Volunteers Hiding In Plain Sight
You most likely have experienced web professionals in your congregation, so why is your church website looking so sad? Many experts may not be able to commit to the time it takes to maintain a website. They might be able to set up the site, but making weekly updates is too big a burden for them. This is especially true for younger professionals who are juggling a full-time job and a family. If this is the case, considering creating two positions, an administrator and a curator. Then for your curator position, why not consider asking for retired volunteers?
Not as Difficult As You Think
The honest truth is that once a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress is up and running, the day-to-day maintenance is quite simple. Your curators need to know some computer basics and how to use a web browser. If they use tools such as Microsoft Word or better yet, web-based Email; a CMS should prove to be no big challenge.
Starting With the Basics
What if they do not even have a basic level of understanding? If you do not have anyone who can train them, local libraries often have free or low-cost introductory computer classes. Consider investing in one of your older members who have the time and desire to learn. With some help they will soon know the basics of editing text, adding images, and saving drafts.
Remember that this is a custodian for only adding new content. Their tasks will typically be posting a sermon summary, fixing content errors, and updating news and events. You will still need an experienced web professional to make the occasional system updates and configuration changes. Plus CMS’ often provide levels of access to prevent your curator from inadvertently taking down your website.
If your current webmaster is overburdened with the regular updates, ask for help from your congregation. Stress that only basic computer skills and an adventurous attitude is all that is required. They may not be able to troubleshoot a system outage, but they can certainly make a meaningful contribution to your church and the Kingdom of God!
Photo courtesy of Gabriella Fabbri