“Does your church’s website communicate to outsiders as well as to church members?” asks a new web resource. A church site is the congregation’s “shop window” to its community. To fulfill this function well, it must be enticing, people-centered and easily understood by outsiders. Unfortunately, many churches are unsure how to achieve this vital mix.
The Internet Evangelism Day (IE Day) team has produced an online self-assessment tool to help churches become more web-savvy in presenting their evangelistic message. It leads a church through a series of questions, to highlight areas of their website which may need development.
A church site which has been prioritized for non-Christian visitors can be remarkably effective in reaching the community. According to a spokesperson for one growing church in London, “Week in, week out, more visitors turn up at our church on a Sunday because of the website than anything else.”
The IE Day site also explains other types of online evangelism, such as outreach websites, video clips, blogging and podcasts. There is even a free conversation starter screensaver to download.
Holding a Focus Day
The IE Day team also encourages churches and other groups to hold their own web awareness focus day on (or near) this year’s Internet Evangelism Day, 29 April 2007. The IE Day site provides downloadable video clips, drama sketches, posters, handouts and a PowerPoint presentation, making it easy for any church to create its own IE Day program. This can be a 2-minute spot within a worship time, or it can be an entire themed church service, seminar or midweek meeting.
Churches that have already held their own focus day are enthusiastic. “It was a real eye-opener for many,” wrote one person in Muncie, Indiana, USA. “We held a midweek evening presentation of ninety minutes for other local churches,” said another person from Dawlish, United Kingdom.
A Canadian church leader commented, “I used a 10-minute presentation that focused on how anyone can get involved in reaching out to the Internet community. I also added a section on using our church website as an evangelism tool, as some of our members have already had great success with it.”
Internet Evangelism Day is an initiative of the Internet Evangelism Coalition, an umbrella group of major interdenominational Christian groups involved in web ministry.