Many decisions around websites are subjective; that is based on opinions and guesses. There are emerging areas for objective, numbers-based, decisions; but those techniques are often out of scope of smaller churches. That said, what happens when those subjective decisions go awry and your website does not meet expectations?
Unlike many inspirational articles I have written, this has come directly from scripture. Therefore let me say that I am not a pastor and have no formal theological training. Yet I would be lying if I said I was not convicted by the Holy Spirit to write this. The scripture in question is this:
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3 (NIV)
Avoid Finger Pointing
When something goes wrong in our lives, we tend to look for something to blame. In Biblical times, if someone had a physical deformity, the belief was that they or someone in their family had sinned. Thus God was punishing them. When something goes wrong with your church website, you might blame someone, something, or even God. Last week I asked you to keep hope alive in your website, this week I ask that you not let blame tear your team apart.
You Are Not Alone
Throughout many of my articles I encouraged you to try different directions, test their effectiveness, and evaluate its long-term benefits. You may think that the majority of those adventures ends in success. Unfortunately many do not. Many end at a dead end with a few months of work seemingly wasted. The web is still a very new medium for communication and interaction. Large corporations investing millions of dollars in their websites, with weeks of research and preparation, still manage to fail. It should be no surprise that your church has to learn its lessons in the same fashion.
Also, remember that these mistakes are not forever. What did not work one year may work another. Perhaps your congregation was not ready for a concept, or you were trying to reach an audience that did not yet exist in your city. Do not write off failed campaigns as the timing might have been off.
Encourage Each Other
Lastly,you will be tempted to blame each other. Just remember that you took this path because at least one person saw as a good idea. Unless the mistake was negligence or malicious; do not blame your team members. You are all on point for trying to further the kingdom of God and setbacks will occur. See what you can learn from the mistakes, and what new directions you can take to grow your ministry.
Take heart in that your efforts to create an effective website are not in vain. Mistakes will happen and when they do, learn from them and press on. Do not assign blame, but recognize that it was the wrong path at the wrong time, and you now know better. Explore your options, and continue your prayers for guidance and wisdom. God is with you, and with His help, your ministry will flourish in time.
Note: This article was inspired by the Daily Audio Bible. Their ministry is how I keep in step with God's Word on a daily basis.
Photo courtesy of Ahmed Al-Shukaili