With the weather we had from the Polar vortex last week, I found myself relying more and more on social media to feel connected. I was quite literally snowed-in for five days and the only other human I saw in person was a neighbor who shoveled his way over for dinner one evening. Without Facebook, FaceTime, and my cell phone I would have felt quite isolated, indeed! I hate to admit it but I am hooked on technology. Like it or not, we live in a culture that, like me, is becoming more and more connected because of the internet and its many applications. At our Diocesan Council meeting this past Saturday, the topic of church websites came up once again. As you may recall from a blog I wrote last April, General Convention passed a resolution requesting all congregations create “effective, dynamic and current” websites by 2015. I think it’s time to bring up this topic again with you, my friends.
One study done in 2012 by Phoenix-based Grey Matter Research found that 17 million “non-church-goers” visited church websites in the 12 months prior to the survey. While the study I read wasn’t clear on how many actually attended, it’s evident that people are looking. The study also asked what brought the viewers to the websites and found these results:
Check to see the times of services: 43%
Check what activities are offered: 29%
Look for a map or directions to the church’s location: 28%
Watch streaming video: 26%
Listen to streaming audio: 26%
Check to see what the church’s religious beliefs are: 22%
Request prayer: 18%
Downloading a podcast: 15%
Checking what denomination or group the church belongs to: 15%
Send a message to the pastor or leader: 12%
Post on a bulletin board or forum: 5%
This brings me to my point. This research was done between 2011 – 2012; it’s now 2014 and it’s my guess (not very scientific, I fear) that if we did the study again, we would only find more people using websites to gather information about our congregations! One pastor commented that 25% of his church visitors have checked out his church’s website before attending. Does your congregation have a website? How often is it updated so that it remains current? Is it “dynamic?”
Rick Schulte, Director of Diocesan Communications, is eager to help each of our congregations produce engaging sites by connecting you with the right people for the job! If we are going to see our Household vital and sustainable for the future, we must recognize our need to be relevant within our culture. We have a rich heritage and deep spirituality – and we need to make this known!!
Some helpful information:
A link to the research: A link to the article –
Some good articles:
The wording of the General convention resolution:
A025: Challenge Congregations to Develop Websites
Resolved, That the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church challenges every congregation in The Episcopal Church to have an effective, dynamic and current website by 2015.
Who knows – next week we may discuss Facebook!
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council