If you have been following the Church Web Strategy Cooperative you are aware that we have been involved in a market research project for church websites. The research staff at ChurchWebsiteGuide.com has been working feverishly for four months on cutting-edge market research that seeks to answer the question, ÄúWhat are churches doing on the Internet right now that are best practices for effective online ministry?Äù Well now data is slowly being released.
Here is a list of the current articles released:
1. Church Website Market Research
2. Google Analytics: Why Every Church Needs To Use Google Analytics
3. Setting Up Google Analytics
Church Website Visitors
1. New Visits vs. Returning Visits
2. Church with Highest % of New Visitors to Returning Visitors
3. Getting a High New Visitor % to your Church Website
4. Getting a High New Visitor % to your Church Website (part 2)
5. Top Visited Church Website Pages
1. Survey of Church Website Use by Attendees
2. Top Rated Church Website Features
New articles are posted frequently, so follow the Church Website Guide RSS Feed to stay updated on the latest Church Website Research.
Today I received an email from a pastor on Gospel Intentionality. In this email he requested help for his church family to gain a better understanding of what gospel intentionality looks like. What exactly is gospel intentionality?
Steve Timmis posted a series of Tweets on this: Living ordinary life with gospel intentionality means Ä¶
Ä¶ buying from local shops.
Ä¶ frequenting a local coffee shop or pub.
Ä¶ playing for a local sports team.
Ä¶ always tipping generously in local restaurants.
Ä¶ being the kind of neighbor everyone wants to have as a neighbor.
Ä¶ volunteering at a local charity shop along with a couple of others from church.
Ä¶ doing ordinary things in community.
Ä¶ opening your home to, and sharing your food with others.
Ä¶ walking the same route to work at the same time or catching the same train each day.
Ä¶ we do EVERYTHING for the sake of the gospel!
These ideas are fleshed out more in the book Total Church. ÄúTotal churchÄù is their way of capturing the idea that church is not one activity in our lives. Church isnÄôt a meeting you attend or a building your enter. ItÄôs our identity, our community, our family. ItÄôs the context for the totality of the Christian life.
In a post on this gospel intentionality at Edwards blog, Jonathan Dodson comments: “We need not only to do these things, but also understand how they are an expression of the gospelÄ¶or they will devolve into meaningless practices or legalistic works.”
This is the ‘stuff’ we go through at Kaleo. Recently, in our missional community we have had two families begin the process of searching for a home. Both were considering a location farther away from the community where they could get more home for the money. In our gospel intentional way we asked them what were the motivations behind this. If we are called to be a community on mission with the gospel at the center of everything we do, wouldn’t our decision of where we live profoundly be impacted by this? If we are gospel intentional we make decisions with what is best in mind for our witness, our faith and God’s glory. What motivates us to move outside the city to buy a bigger home? Comfort? Investment? Safety? If the answer isn’t calling than ultimately this decision is not being made with the gospel at the core. The good news of who God is tells us our comfort, value and protection reside in Him not in our home. We ultimately need to get down to the heart issues of what motivates people in all our decisions, because if we are not walking in line with the gospel we are worshiping something other than God.
These two families have begun to re-consider what they want to prioritize. They recognize that if they moved 20 minutes away it would impact their ability to be gospel intentional. Certainly, if God was calling them to move and their motivation was the gospel at the center, we would embrace this and help them move but our missional community doesn’t see this as the case. These people have been willing to submit this decision and heed the counsel of the community because of the gospel intentionality they desire. (Note: This is not gospel ‘intensity’ these conversations are not heavy-handed or us trying to make decisions for them.) All of us seek to expose our lives to each other and the community around us so that when any decision or circumstance is brought up we examine it through the idea of God’s calling on our life to live as a redemptive people who are servants of our great King. To the world this may sound crazy but to us it is a beautiful mess of sinners celebrating a life under the reign of a God who loves us and has adopted us as His.
We are calling our community to process this in how they dress, where they live, what activities they participate in and how we interact. It is all of life. For us this is Gospel Intentionality.
Thank you for those who are interested in participating in the Church Web Cooperative.
We have been working feverishly for four months of cutting-edge research that seeks to answer the question ÄúWhat are churches doing on the Internet right now that are best practices for effective online ministry?Äù In spring 2009, Monk Development conducted market research on the impact of a churchÄôs website. Over one hundred churches that represent 20,000+ members participated in the study. The study included 1100 survey responses and a collective 20+ years worth of web analytics data to help examine what happens on a church website and the impact on potential church visitors. The study found that over 17% of respondents learned about the church they attend through its website first. Further, 36.1% of respondents said the website played an important role in their decision to attend the church. We are beginning to see what works, and what doesnÄôt work.
Our research is exciting and revealing in that it tell us everything from how churches are using Social Media to get more traffic, to identifying what content is being most frequently accessed. Ultimately we want to understand what brings more people to your website, and what sorts of things breed user engagement enough so that you can use the web as a strategic resource as part of your mission.
For those who decide to participate in this cooperative they will receive valuable tools to use the web strategically. This will include things such as:
Ä¢ Access to Cutting Edge Market Research
Ä¢ Website Design & Web Strategy Consulting
Ä¢ Website Wireframing/Layout Guidance
Ä¢ Website Design for your Local Church
Ä¢ A Powerful and Easy-to-Use CMS
Ä¢ Social Media Engagement Resources & Guidance
Ä¢ Online Community Engagement
There will be three levels of participation each with different shared costs:
Informative: Access to market research, benchmarking of your website performance against peers and the larger church web community, learn where you can improve, web design suggestion and social media engagement suggestions.
Design: All of the above and a website design (psd files) for your local church. This new brand to take into your social media presence such as Twitter backgrounds and icons.
Full Strategy: The above as well as rebuilding your website onto Ekklesia 360 and a private labeled community site through Cobblestone.
The first group of churches will be firmed up by June 30th, 2009. We already have a number of church commitments. Let me know if you would like to learn more about this co-op or are interested in participating in a future co-op.
Kaleo Church along with several other churches plan on cooperating and implementing a new church web strategy. This strategy is influenced from a study that examined the analytics of 50+ church websites. In this research there were answers to questions such as: Why do people come to a church website? What are they doing? Where did they come from? How long are they on the site? This study resulted in several case studies of best practices. In addition to this, a second research survey of 1,000+ congregants helps us understand much about people’s use of a church website as well as the desired functionalities they would like to see from their church. What are new people seeking at the church website? What about people who have gone to the church for years? How important was the website in their decision to attend the church? These studies have caused us to re-think how we are using the web and create this new strategy based on these findings.
This project will be led by me and I will help translate these findings into a strategy that we believe will become the best practices of church website use. For example, many websites do a poor job of connecting to new visitors and encouraging behaviors that are of value to the church. We will employ a triperspectival design process to quickly and effectively present the churches vision (normative), impact the visitor toward sharing this vision (existential) and seek to encourage behaviors (situational) that the church desires. These behaviors could include:
Ä¢ Low Value Behaviors: Subscribe to RSS, podcast, engage Church Twitter account or Facebook.
Ä¢ Medium Value Behaviors: Sign-up for an Email or complete a Web Form.
Ä¢ High Value Behaviors: Show up to a service, home group or other relational meeting.
The strategy will target new visitors, the existing church community seeking to move them deeper into relationships and involvement, church media resources, event management, social media integration, online donations, amongst other key elements.
This first cooperative will have a limited number of spaces available. If you would like to participate or if you’d like more info feel free to contact me directly.