Why “Purpose” Is the Most Important Step in Designing Your Church Website

Compass Illustrating the role of church purpose in website
Unleash the power of your website by identifying it’s purpose. It is through understanding how your website fits into your overall goals and strategy that you can create an effective plan and then continually evaluate and improve how your website performs.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Purpose Driven Websites?

There is a reason why Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life exploded in popularity in the early 2000s. People intrinsically understood the need to live life with purpose. Your life’s purpose guides your choices. Without purpose you are adrift aimlessly following life where it takes you. With purpose you have meaning and direction.

Was Rick Warren right what he thinks your life purpose is? Ultimately that is for you to decide, but he is certainly right that your life does have purpose and will be infinitely more meaningful when you embrace and follow that purpose.

This is true for websites too. You must understand your church website’s purpose if you have any hope for it offering value to what your church is trying to do.

The Purpose of Your Website is NOT “just having a website”

 If you are a pastor or church leader here is some good news. You are not alone in failing to understand the purpose of your website. In fact, almost none of non-church small business owners I have worked with as a web designer at a local marketing company could articulate the goal or purpose of their website.  The three most common reasons for wanting to create or rebuild their website were:

  1. Because we need a website
  2. Because my competitors have a website
  3. Because my current website doesn’t look good (for rebuilds)

In these cases, my first job as a web designer was to come to understand the company’s overall goals and strategy and then identify what the purpose of the website was.  Without this our marketing company could do nothing more than throw darts at the wall and hope something stuck.

“We need a church website” is probably a true statement in your case. It is not, however, particularly helpful in understanding the purpose of your website.  You’ll have to dive in much deeper than that.

Was Rick Warren right what he thinks your life purpose is? Ultimately that is for you to decide, but he is certainly right that your life does have purpose and will be infinitely more meaningful when you embrace and follow that purpose.

This is true for websites too. You must understand your church website’s purpose if you have any hope for it offering value to what your church is trying to do.

Three Questions for Finding the Purpose of Your Website

These 3 questions can help you get started on finding the purpose of your website.

1. What is the goal of your church?

Your church is trying to do and be something. What? This may be your vision or mission statement. It may be unspoken. You may have multiple things your church is trying to accomplish.  Everything your church does from your weekly services to your event programming should in some way help you accomplish this.

As you explore this you may find many more questions arise. Who are we serving? How well are we accomplishing this goal? How is our unique mission different from other churches?

The deeper you can go in understanding who your church is and what you are called by God to do the better. However, it is easy to get lost in the rabbit hole of never-ending self-reflection.  Don’t allow yourself to lose site of why you are asking these questions. It is about action, actually doing not just talking. Don’t send this to a committee to explore more. Ask, think, and then move on so you can actually do.

2. In what specific ways can your website help you accomplish that goal?

Once you understand what your church as a whole is trying to do you can ask yourself how your church can accomplish it. The purpose here is to narrow down to specific goals eliminating goals that could best be accomplished through other means or goals that are simply not realistic. 

Remember, the more goals you have, the harder it will be to accomplish.  In web design (and life in general) focus is essential. Doing one thing well is much easier than doing two things at the same time well.  It gets exponentially difficult to balance together multiple goals simultaneously.  As you begin answering this question remember that eliminating goals can be just as helpful, if not more, than adding goals.

3. How does your website integrate with your overall strategy?

Usually your overall goals will not be accomplished directly on your website site. Instead, your site will be but one step in a multi step process.

One of the most glaring examples of overlooking this that I see on many websites is a desire to see people accept Jesus as their savior. Seeing people come to a saving faith in Jesus is a worthy goal for a church to have. A church website can help with this goal. Putting a link “Accept Christ” in the menu with a link to a page that walks through the steps of salvation and has a prayer written is not a good way to see help accomplish this.  It overlooks both how people will come to find this information and what will happen if they do. Predictably it accomplishes nothing because it bypasses the effective ways to actually share Jesus with others.

Take a good look at your complete web strategy including social media, advertising, community outreach strategies to see how people will come to find your website. Look at your worship service and event planning, guest follow up, email marketing, church assimilation and discipleship strategies to see how site visitor’s will be engaged when they respond to your website.

Does Your Church Website Have a Purpose?

I’ve written previously that I think the primary goal of most church websites should be to connecting visitors with your church. As you explore the purpose of your church website I think this will rise up as a primary target. What will differentiate your church (and website) form others is what that connection might look like.

What about your church? Does your website have a purpose? If the answer is yes, then good for you! You can now measure how well you are accomplishing that and continue to make changes to grow more and more effective.

If the answer is no, don’t be discouraged. This is the perfect time to find your church website’s purpose and see how God can use your website to make a huge impact in your community and the in your church.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

Do You Want To Reach Your Community?

Get Started Today

Family
Scroll to Top