3 Online Tools Every New Church Needs to Succeed
My grandfather liked to joke that he had two things in common with Jesus. He loved to fish and he was a darn good carpenter. He used his woodworking talent to care for his beloved church by building cubbies for the preschool, repairing wobbly banisters and maintaining the beauty of the altars. For my grandfather and his generation, the church was a physical representation of his faith, and he poured his love, sweat and talent into maintaining his second “home” as he described it.
If he were alive today, he’d be skeptical of the recent crop of non-traditional churches that have mushroomed in strip malls, school basements and coffee shops in the last 15 years. For my grandfather, a church meant stained-glass windows, lemon-polished wood pews and ornate pulpits, not a row of plastic chairs in an old Blockbuster.
The army of church planters, however, argue that faith and fledging congregations, like a mustard seed, can grow and proliferate out of the most humble beginnings. You just need the right tools to get started.
Evangelism in the Tech Age
Church planting, while certainly not a unique concept, has not only grown exponentially in the last decade but it’s also become more strategic in the digital age. Equipped with technology, pioneering pastors have more advanced tools at their disposal than ever before. And considering that most church planters operate with little seed money (pun intended!), knowing how to raise enough capital for sustainability through the rough patches is key.
While there are many facets to a successful church planting, success begins with understanding your community’s expectations and establishing trust, especially if you’re an outsider preaching in a non-traditional setting like a strip mall storefront.
Younger people are more likely to be comfortable holding church service in a basement or coffee shop, but older generations like my grandfather will need more proof of your church’s credibility before they put faith and trust in your message.
It may take years before you can raise enough money for a church of your own, but that shouldn’t stop you from planting stakes in the digital world.
Here are three, simple but crucial steps you’ll need to create a trusted online presence and raise capital as you grow your new church.
1. Develop a church website.
People expect any legitimate organization to have a website. At one time, churches that wanted a website had to pay for it or rely on a tech saavy member of their congregation. The advent of WordPress, Wix and Squarespace has made beautiful, user-friendly websites within reach for even the most technically-challenged pastor.
Don’t let great get in the way of good—you can always update and improve your site along the way. However, make sure to include these elements on your website:
- The physical address where you meet to worship, even if it is a coffee shop.
- Worship times and days.
- Your contact information including your phone number and email.
- A high-resolution photo of you and your team.
- Your mission statement. This is one to two sentences that explain what your church stands for and believes in.
- What to expect during the visit. Should they dress casual? Will it be a traditional or contemporary service? How long are the services? Visitors will have a better experience if you set the right expectations from the beginning.
2. Establish a social media presence.
According to estimates, 77% of Americans have at least one social media account. Heck, even people’s pets have a Facebook or Instagram page. Most Americans will spend more than five years of their lives on social media. Good or bad, it’s where most of us follow our favorite thought leaders, brands, community groups and news reports.
Setting up a Facebook account for your church is simple and only takes a couple of minutes. You will need your own personal account to manage your church account, however. And while it may seem daunting at first, after a couple of weeks, you’ll be pleased to discover how convenient social media can be to quickly share information, prayer requests and upcoming events.
Even more important, it allows you to establish a voice and tone for your ministry, which helps people gauge if your church is a good fit.
The best part? It’s free.
- Create a secure, online fundraising platform.
In a perfect world, churches could be built on prayer and faith alone, but unfortunately even old Blockbuster stores require rent. If you’re lucky, you’ll have secured substantial funding to help you through your growth, but the best laid plans can often have unexpected bumps and turns along the way. To weather the storms, you’ll need a respectable and established platform to raise money when the donations don’t cover all your operating expenses.
WonderWe Pro, one of the only faith-based crowdfunding platforms in the market, provides an inexpensive, robust solution to that problem. Developed by a Christian businessman, WonderWe Pro was designed to be cost effective for small organizations but scalable as your church expands.
WonderWe Pro helps you harness the power of your growing congregation by tapping into peer-to-peer fundraising. It also provides helpful analytic tools so you know where to invest your resources and a low, monthly fee to accurately budget. The funds go directly into your account, so you’ll be able to access them immediately. Additionally, the site can be white labeled, so your new church maintains a consistent brand.
Starting a new church is an exciting but challenging call that requires faith, grit and a significant amount of time and energy to succeed. Having the right tools from the beginning will help you build your church on a solid, sustainable foundation that can weather the storms.
For more information on how WonderWe Pro can help your growing church, visit our website at WonderWe Pro or schedule a free demo today.