Why does your ministry exist? Who are you here for? As mentioned in Part 1, church and parachurch ministries exist to bring God’s love to broken people – both inside and outside the family of God. They do this most effectively when they’re in touch with their own brokenness.
As we take our cue from Jesus — who specifically came for the messed-up and broken — we see that ministry is holistic and multi-faceted.
He didn’t just preach, but he fed, healed, and wept. Word and deed went hand-in-hand, expressed in a thousand different ways.
“…Christ plays in ten thousand places, Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his, To the Father, through the features of men’s faces.”
– Gerard Manley Hopkins
Make Your Headline Clear and Compelling
Why do we mention this in an article about websites? Because your church website provides a great opportunity to convey so much more than just service times, parking instructions, and directions.
And it’s your homepage that gives visitors their first impression.
So here are 3 things (in addition to your banner) to consider:
1. It might be part of the banner, but an engaging headline in large type can communicate much. It might be your one-sentence mission statement, or as we mentioned previously, “It’s OK to not be OK;” others include “There’s a Place for You Here,” or even the latest sermon series title, which you can link to additional notes or audio.
2. Your site’s navigation menu (the links across the top of the page for your site’s pages) are also key. We recommend avoiding clutter and going with 5 main headings (each with drop downs).
If you’re a church, realize that established members or frequent attendees already know the lay of the land, so why not aim your first header – which is what the eye will see first – towards visitors? Title it something like, “I’m New Here,” or “Skeptics Welcome,” which fits with the mission of reaching those who “don’t have it all together.”
3. People look for things that easily communicate. Studies have shown that video tends to capture the eye more than long paragraphs, so why not put one on your homepage? It could be a welcome from a leader, or any member with a grace story to tell.
Effective homepages avoid the stereotypical things that people normally associate with ministries or churches – a picture of the outside of the building, or a pastor in a pulpit.
The message, whether intended or not, is perceived in this way: “We are perfectly happy and healthy, so be like us,” or “I’ve got all the answers, let me teach you.” or even worse, “Our politics are the Christian ones, so see things like us…”
Remember, Jesus intentionally engaged in order to show grace and love. He fed the hungry; he was an instrument of healing to the sick.
In so doing, he ushered in a whole new reality called “the kingdom of God” – which isn’t a political power-play, but a revealing of the King who humbled himself to serve (Philippians 2).
In an age that prizes authenticity, we must embrace our brokenness, and our call to be “wounded healers.” The website headline, as well as photos, video clips, and stories of grace, prominently featured on your site, will help us do just that.
This is Christ’s love in action.