So you think your church needs a website. Or a new site. Or a better site. Rock on. Welcome to Church Websites 101, a quick and dirty series about how to start or restart your church’s website.
Last time we started things off by stopping and coming up with a plan. If you don’t have a communications plan—even a basic one—just stop. There’s no sense in moving forward if you don’t have a basic strategy. So go back and do it.
Find a Champion
To really move your church forward with a new or improved website you need a champion. You need someone who can take this project and make it happen. You need someone with the drive and motivation to carry this project forward no matter the obstacles—because there will be obstacles. You need someone who can fight for this project, someone to give it the time it needs, someone to rally support behind it and keep people going when nothing is going. You need someone who can carry this project through from idea to reality (well, virtual reality).
That someone is your champion.
You won’t get very far without one. If your project leader isn’t committed, if this is just another assignment on their to-do list, if they care about other stuff more, your site won’t happen. Or it won’t happen the way you need it to. If you want this to work, you need a champion.
Choosing a Champion
You can find a champion in many places. They might be a staff member or a dedicated volunteer. They may have helped on a number of projects in the past or this might be your first time engaging them. They should have some basic web skills, some understanding of what goes into building a website—but they don’t have to be a techie. They don’t have to know HTML or be able to work Photoshop. They just have to know and love websites.
Empower Your Champion
Once you have your champion, you need to give them the tools to succeed:
Plan: Above all else your champion needs to know your church’s communication strategy. If you’re not giving them that, you’re short-changing your champion. Yeah, we’re like a broken record around here. It all goes back to that plan. Your champion needs to know the plan and be on board with the plan. How do they know if they’re succeeding if they don’t know the plan?
Power: Your champion can’t be the champion unless they have some power to make decisions. You have to give a champion room to flex their muscle. Give them room to run. And they can’t do that if you’re micromanaging them. Give them the freedom to make their own decisions (and their own mistakes). If you spent some time on the plan, you have nothing to worry about. But if you don’t give your champion power to make decisions, you’re setting them up for failure.
Punch: Your champion can’t do it alone. They’re going to need help, some extra punch. But if you chose the right champion, this part will be easy. They’ll fire up their fellow teammates with their catchy enthusiasm. But they might need more than people power. They might need some budget or some direction or something else. You might not be able to give them everything they need (we can’t all have a budget), but step up with as much as you can. Your champion is doing as much as they can for you, so do as much as you can for them. Be willing to fight for them, especially when the senior pastor insists on a flash intro with double rainbows (wait, that could be cool…).
It’s Go Time
With those tools your champion is sure to succeed. And so will your web project. All because of a champion. Don’t leave home without one.
More Church Websites 101: