I am continuing my series on effective church websites in the new Rio Texas Conference. Next step, Christ Fellowship, San Antonio (www.cfumcsa.org). For full disclosure, Lead Pastor Adam Knight, is a friend of mine and the church was birthed out of University, San Antonio, where I currently serve. This could lead me to be more gracious, or, as Adam will attest, less gracious.
When I show screen shots, there are two things to think about. First, screen shots are taken at a given moment in time. Many sites have dynamic content (rotating banners, etc.) which I like, but you will have to go directly to the site to see that for yourself. Second, websites look different on different screens. I work on a monitor that is taller than it is wide (that might need another post of explanation at some point,) so websites always look different for me. However, I am taking these screenshots from the main monitor of my MacBook Pro. Why does that matter? It matters because, when you create your website or have someone create it for you, you need to look at it on a lot of different screens on a lot of different computers. It may look amazing on your PC desktop. However, if it is not designed correctly, it make look horrible on someone’s Macbook Air. And, now you need to also worry about what it looks like on someone’s iPad, iPhone, Android phone, etc. More on that in a future post. Now, back to Christ Fellowship.
I have noticed that younger churches tend to have more effective websites. There is a reason for that: simplicity. Younger churches tend to be simpler. I mean that in a good way. New churches have not had enough time to experience the mission drift that sometimes leads to an overabundance of program options. They also usually have a smaller staff and lean leadership structure. This means that fewer people are vying for real estate on the webpage.
The first thing people see when they get to cfumcsa.org is a snapshot of what the church is about. The rotating image banner currently scrolls through four images — one about Christmas worship, one about Advent, one about a Christmas event for families and one that is sort of generic. The navigation bar is simple and drops down when hovered over to reveal more insight into the church.
The real beauty of this site appears below the fold.
On some browsers, you get a peak right up front and on others you need to scroll first. In some ways, I wish this what was on top. Here, they have used their discipleship pathway as a means of organizing content. Featured here are the three phases of the journey of discipleship as it lives at Christ Fellowship. This really shows what Christ Fellowship wants to be about.
Okay, one thing I would change on this site. I say this with some trepidation because I know how hard it is to get a website right and I know how much fun it is to hear everyone else’s opinion after it is done. I also know the hundreds of decisions and trade-off that have to be made. However, it is also fun to have ideas without worrying about any of that. Here goes: buried on the “Beliefs” page is a very clear, concise mission statement, “Connecting people to a community committed to changing the world for Jesus Christ.” That’s good stuff. I would love to see it right up front.
Good stuff from Christ Fellowship. Another Rio Texas website that works.