Thanks for joining me at my First First Impression: Your Online Presence breakout session! Below you’ll find links to the free downloads I mentioned and even a few additional resources. Have more questions? Email me at email@example.com.
4 Questions to Evaluate Your Website:
- Is your website updated? If it looks old, has low-quality photos, or includes outdated content, people will assume your church is old, low-quality, and outdated too. I found this list of top Church websites for 2017. Some are multi-campus megachurches and some are under-500-people mobile churches, so no matter your size or budget, an effective website is possible.
- Is important information easy to find? When looking at a church’s website, the majority of people are looking for information like service times, location, what to expect, childcare, etc., so make sure your website quickly and clearly communicates these details. Many churches are now making entire sections purely for visitors and first-time guests to quickly access the information they are looking for.
- Is your website easy to use? Does it load quickly and is it mobile-friendly? Most people surf the web from their phones, so if your site doesn’t adapt gracefully to a mobile-friendly version, it might be time to give it an update.
- Does your website communicate your vision? Parents want to know that there is a safe, purposeful, and fun place for their children. Make sure to include details like classroom locations, ages, ministry mission statement, and details about checking in your first time. You could even include a digital copy of your first-time guests form so visitors can fill it out online before they come on Sunday.
Once you use these questions to evaluate your website as a staff or on your own, test your site. Ask a young couple and an older couple in your congregation to find specific information on your site and survey them with questions like: Was the site easy to navigate? Was the information you needed easy to find? Was the description of your ministry true and accurate?
You may think the website is out of your control and not your concern, but everything about your church’s website reflects on your ministry. We only get one chance to make a great first impression, and it’s our responsibility to make sure the first first impression, the website, is an excellent one.
Social Media Strategies:
Mark 16:15 says, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
With over 3.6 billion users worldwide, social media allows us to “go into all the world” in powerful and far-reaching ways. Churches and ministries that use social media well can create new and effective avenues for discipleship and sharing the gospel. How do we do that?
- Be safe – We do our best to keep kids and volunteers safe when they walk through our doors, and we have to work to keep them safe online too. Consider creating a social media policy for your children’s ministry that addresses how staff and volunteers should interact with and through social media, and do your best to maintain safety and integrity when posting online. Download a sample media policy here.
- Be where your people are – I have some good news for you: You don’t have to be on every social media platform known to man, and not every social channel is the right fit for your ministry. When thinking about what and when to post, ask your ministry families where they hang out online, and focus there. You don’t have to be everywhere on social media. You just have to be where your people are. So find out where that is, and start there.
- Be real – Authenticity is essential for social media. You have to know where your people are, but you have to know yourself too. Your social media strategy must match your identity as a leader and as a ministry. That means it’s OK to have fun with your social media accounts – after all, isn’t fun a key part of children’s ministry in person too? Try to use pictures from your ministry (as opposed to stock photos or graphics) as often as you (safely) can. And let your social media accounts be a conversation, not a digital bulletin board, so make posts that encourage interaction, not just reminders about upcoming events.
- Be consistent – You don’t have to post frequently, just consistently. If you’re posting 1-2 times a week, that’s great! Keep it up. If you’re posting 1-2 times a day. That’s great! Keep it up! No matter how often you post, work to post with the same consistency over time. The easiest way to do this is by setting up a schedule for your daily or weekly posts on social media. Use this free social media planner template that will help you map out a whole week’s (or month’s) worth of content in less than an hour.
- Be present – It’s called “social” media because its original purpose was to help people be social online. So when people like or comment on one of your posts, respond to them. Ask questions that get people talking and encourage them to keep the conversation going. Don’t just post and walk away; engage!
Sample Media Consent clause to add to your ministry registration forms:
I hereby grant permission to (church or ministry name) the right to take, use, reproduce, and/or distribute photographs, films, video, and sound recordings of my child, without compensation or approval rights, for use in materials created for purposes of promoting the activities of (church or ministry name).
Looking for more resources and links about your online presence? Check out some of these:
- List of 20 of the Best Church Websites from Church Juice
- Sample Social Media Policy for Children’s Ministry from Deeper KidMin
- Social Media Post Planner Printable from Deeper KidMin
- List of fun holidays (for looking up random, fun, and funny holidays throughout the year)
- Make an Instagram Reels lip-sync video with your staff, team or by yourself to communicate an upcoming announcement in a fun way! Here’s an example from my church.
- For creating your social media graphics/images:
- For scheduling your social media posts:
- Pro Tip: Follow other churches on social media too!