Thanks to my parents, I've been involved in different denominations and sizes of churches since I was born. I've also discovered the church has lacked in their potential to truly connect their powerful, but digitally neglected , content with their people in a personal and relevant way.
Churches are usually focused on the next Sunday service and tend to devalue the past messages. Since churches are busy with this focus, I thought I'd make it easy for them by pointing out the problems. By illuminating these problems, the church can take the steps towards resolving them. They can then help the body of Christ where they need it and when it matters most.
Here are the top three problems I see with church members accessing content online to help "bring them along
We Know The Message Or Topic We're Looking For, But Your Content Search Does Not Easily Get Me There.
It frustrates me when I attempt to find an old sermon to re-listen or share only to be stopped by a bad website search. It typically seems to happen when I need this resource the most!
For us self starters, give us a search bar that works well and we'll find what we need. Build and test your search engine. Ensure it's pulling the most relevant content for our search queries.
The Solution: Give us a powerful search experience.
We Know Categorically What We're Looking For And We'd Like To Browse, But Your Website Does Not Easily Allow Me To Accomplish This.
Andy Stanley is a powerful communicator and preacher at Northpoint Community Church
. But what if I only started attending this month? I'd likely have no clue about the entire repository of resources Northpoint has created.
Since the content is usually organized by the latest messages, I'm usually out of luck or have to trudge through pages of content in order to find the good stuff from the past.
We want an online experience to explore what's available when we don't have specific content we're looking for.
Many larger churches have a book store on campus, and these are great places to browse and explore content. When building your online repository, translate the benefit from your bookstore to your online library. Think of this online section as a digital card catalog, and leverage visual cues to help connect users with relevant content.
The Solution: Give us a compelling browsing experience.
We Know We Need Help, We Just Don't Know What We Need, Or How To Find It. Your Website Does Not Help Connect Me With What I Need When I Don't Know What I Need.
What if I or someone I know was struggling in doubt? Marriage? Parenting? Evidence for the Christian Faith? What if I did not know where to turn or how to help connect them?
Unfortunately, Northpoint Community Church, Victory World Church, and 12 Stone, and many other innovative and established churches have yet to organize their content in a way that personally and directly connects their congregants with the content they need when it matters most.
There's a great book by Andy Stanley called "How Good is Good Enough?
" that I recently shared with my friend. He was posting on Facebook about several issues he was struggling through, and I knew immediately this book from 2003 was what he needed. Here is the funny thing, he attends Andy Stanley's church, owns many of his books and visits the book store often, but yet he had never heard of this one particular book before. He immediately bought and read it. He didn't know what he didn't know, and I believe the church can leverage its websites to help resolve this type of problem.
Let's create an online guide to ask the congregate questions and discover what messages would best help them where they are, right now.
The Solution: Give us a personal wizard to guide us in what we need.
The Future Of The Church
I've found resolving these problems is how I organically interact with those around me. I'm constantly helping people to search, browse as well as guide them when they don't know. All of these are attributes of how God works, so let's embrace his work and join in on how he operates.
The church that truly embraces solving these three problems is going to pioneer a new era of digital connection. It will be an era where gospel resources are syndicated to anyone in the world how and when they need it, but this solution is only visible when we've committed to a greater legacy than our own, God's legacy.