Making Websites Like a Child

child playing in sand on a beach

If you ask a child if they can draw, they will tell you yes. If you ask an adult, they will often say no because they assume you are asking if they can draw well. The honesty and innocence of children is a trait praised by Jesus, and is something web teams can utilize as they approach their church websites.

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15 (NIV)

This scripture refers to the unquestioning child-like faith we are asked to have in God. However, many traits of children can also be used as an example for a church website team. Consider the following: Two groups were given the task to create a structure out of Tinker Toys that would hold a 15 pound weight. One group consisted of college educated structural engineers with over 10 years experience, the other was third graders. Who made their structure first? The third graders. The reasons are below:

Not Afraid to Fail

Children are not good at assessing risks. Most younger humans often make very irrational decisions; from driving to financial responsibility. Yet this weakness can be a strength when approaching problems. They are often willing to try solutions that many adults might consider absurd or doomed to fail. In the business world, this risky idea following is called innovation. Without it, your church website may continue to slowly grow over time it will surely not be in any danger of causing a stir. Yet with it, you just might be on the crest of a wave of new ideas and technologies.

Planning Stagnation

If asked to plan a summer vacation, adults and children would approach it very differently. However I can almost guarantee that the child would be packed and ready to go on their doorstep far more quickly than the adult. Why? Because children do not plan. Instead of having meeting after meeting, where decisions keep getting kicked down the road and up the chain of command; start doing something. I certainly advocate having a solid strategy, but there comes a point where you just need to take that leap of faith and begin your work.

Quick Iteration

Because of the child’s lack of planning and foresight, they will most likely fail at complex tasks. However, because their lack of fear, they will pick themselves up and try again. I talked in previous articles about what happens when your website fails. As adults we can hopefully recognize the necessity to slightly alter our original plan to try something a little different. This iterative approach to solving problems can be done quickly and easily to solve tough problems. You can try a solution, observe the outcome, make an adjustment, and try again; several times in the course of a few months.

Action Item

Take a child’s approach to not only faith, but your website. Lose your fear of failing and try some new ideas; even if some people are against it. Plan only enough so that you have a clear understanding of what the first few steps are, and ensure that it aligns with your overall strategies. Then even if it does fail, see what adjustments could be made and try again. Prayerfully consider all of these options as you take Jesus’ own advice on receiving the kingdom of God like a child.

Photo courtesy of Marja Flick-Buijs

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.