The goal of brand loyalty is not to create someone who likes a product, but someone who will also tell others about it. Social media marketers hope that consumers will move to become advocates; not only liking posts on Facebook, but also sharing them with their friends. The same applies for the church as we hope to not just create disciples, but make advocates who share their faith and demonstrate Christ’s love.
If the early church only gathered followers of Jesus, it would not have lasted very long at all. They mentored early believers to become evangelists that would not just receive the Good News, but would reflect it to those around them. Church websites need to instruct and empower their congregations. I had written a previous article on this subject, but I did not have the benefit of having heard the sermon that inspired this article (see notes for more details). Now I want to outline some steps you need to take so your website can prepare your congregation just as Jesus taught the first disciples.
Even if you don’t believe in Jesus; many believe he was a good teacher. Do you have content in your conversion paths that start off by talking about the many lessons and parables Jesus taught? Many of them can, at a surface layer, be used to teach a moral lesson. However, further down the path, you can move into deeper areas. One could be a Christian Apologetics explanation of how Jesus not only provided good teaching, but also claimed to be God’s son. Not only can you create these conversion paths on your website, you can instruct your congregation so they are more educated on these points.
Jesus then demonstrated his teaching through healing and other miracles. However anyone with a skeptical bone in their body will want to see proof as to how God is moving in your church. Create testimonies for your website that highlight the effects of following Jesus, both good and bad. In my article on Safety Net for Suffering, I mention that becoming a Christian does not have only positive effects. Ask your congregation to write their own stories. With their permission, these testimonials can be used on your website. Additionally, they serve as practice for getting their thoughts in order in case they are asked by a friend as to how God has changed their lives.
Lastly, Jesus sent the disciples out to tell others of what they had witnessed. Hence it is now time to put everything into action for your website. This ranges from starting neighborhood community groups, to mission trips across the world. Use your website to inform and solicit interest. Show that you wish to demonstrate God’s love in tangible ways. Validate that nothing drives you further in your spiritual journey like loving others and eventually finding disciples of their own.
First, never just settle for creating a website has a goal of only bringing someone into relationship with Jesus. Strive to teach them to be teachers; to make disciple makers. By doing this you will greatly multiply the number of people who are not only believing, but are galvanizing their faith in the act of talking to others. Seek out areas where you can teach, demonstrate, and replicate the Gospel. People discipling each other is Jesus’ “Plan A” for growing the church, and there was never a “Plan B”. Use your website as a tool to get that plan into motion.