3 Parts of a Great Church Website – Part 1: Your Banner

Your website banner is like a large billboard – not unlike those signs on the freeway that you can’t help but notice. As such, it’s the first impression people get from your site.

Since that’s the case, you want the banner on each section of your site to communicate effectively – to help reveal the heart of what you do.  

“Why not use your banner to address your FCF?”

No, this isn’t some mysterious bit of technical code to worry over. Actually, FCF is an idea – a reason why you do ministry in the first place. 

Coined by teacher Bryan Chapell, FCF stands for Fallen Condition Focus, an important lens through which you can view ministry and your messaging – but it applies more broadly too.

Why do I mention this? Because identifying your target group’s FCF can become a key ingredient to your website theme as well. Let me explain.

Know People

Essentially, the main idea behind FCF is that the people you’d like to reach are needy – just like you. They have a particular brokenness you wish to address.  

While the details of each person’s brokenness are different, we all share something of the core issues with which we can relate. That is, we all are broken: 

  • relationally, on the vertical plane: we’re at war with God, wrestling (like Jacob) with him to receive his blessing. 
  • relationally, on the horizontal plane: we sin against each other, resulting in broken marriages, families, work relationships, etc.
  • as we experience a multitude of sufferings and griefs, to which we all can relate

Whatever healing we’ve received in these areas is, of course, all of grace. In fact, it’s that grace that propels us outward, so that we can “comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received” (2 Cor. 1:4).   

Why does FCF Matter?

Often, we can tend to jump right to “quick answers” without connecting with the person’s heart – the deeper roots of desires, loves, hopes, and fears. This is one reason why Scripture is so multi-faceted:

  • God has given us an entire volume of stories – all with broken people – so that we can identify how those struggles aren’t so foreign to us all. 
  • We have 150 Psalms so we can hear a full range of emotional human “processing.”
  • Ultimately, Scripture is pointing us toward a Redeemer who came to address our deepest need (our sin/FCF) with his life, death, and resurrection: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Lk. 5:32) – but is committed as well to our growth and healing. 

If we miss this central reality, we will minister in self-righteousness, pridefully disconnected from those we serve. Or, we may veer off into distortions such as the “prosperity Gospel” (name it and claim it) or any version of “success” that puts us in control.

Ministries that do so only do damage – to themselves as well as those they claim to help.   

Make Your Heart-Theme Clear

Now, we can apply these same ideas to our church website. To illustrate, here’s a site that typically does it well: https://thevillagechurch.net/)

With the headline, ‘Holding Space for the Hurting,” The Village Church taps into the reality of brokenness: we each know our own pain (Prov. 14:10). Church and parachurch ministries should be an assembly of wounded healers – not a “showcase for saints”.  

This headline provides a perfect path to the Gospel because it opens the door to the good news that it’s ok to not be ok. We don’t have to pretend that we’re fine or fear that we’ll be cast off for not having it together. All is a gift. 

Without this intentional focus on connecting to the FCF – in this case (as Tim Keller notes), that we all have deep-seated, self-salvation projects (idols of control, approval, etc.) in our hearts that lie below our circumstances – the church or parachurch’s mission and message can be lost.

We’ll end up with “50,000-foot flyovers” of “good behavior topics” and never address the heart. We’ll end up addressing problems superficially or “lightly”- like the prophets and priests spoken of Jeremiah 6:14:

“They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”

Of course, there are many FCF’s to talk about – if we’re willing to pray for the eyes to see it. It’s all around us, and in us.

So how well does your website banner communicate? Are you connecting to people at the level of the heart?