I know, because I have been there. Before doing what I do now, I served three different churches and I remember what it is like to not have enough time to get done what needs to be done. I remember listening to experts telling me what I should be doing at the church and wondering how they expected me to accomplish that that in between writing sermons, visiting members, going to meetings, preparing for funerals, attending district and conference events… you know the list.
God created and called many different kinds of pastors. I love getting to know pastors because they tend to have different approaches to ministry. Amidst all the busyness, there is usually something that stands out to them. They find the time to get it done or the extra time and energy to put more into it. For some, it is preaching. No matter what, their sermon preparation time is non-negotiable. Or, if they get interrupted, they stay up all night if necessary, to give it them time it needs. For others, it is pastoral care. If they have a member in need, they will drop absolutely anything to be with them and pray with them. Still another pastor might elevate evangelism, always finding time to be out in the community, meeting new people and inviting them to church. These are all noble pursuits and all part of what it means to be a pastor. My point is that, among the impossibly long list of things that a pastor needs to do, there is usually something that the pastor won’t let slide. This is a good thing. I believe there is a reason for this. God calls and equips many different kinds of pastors and puts them in a specific time and context for ministry. Different seasons and contexts call for different priorities.
I know you are busy, but I am asking for just a little bit of that precious time and energy, a mild shift in that priority list. There are people out there who want to go to church. Maybe they have been away for a while and have decided it is time to reconnect. Maybe they have never been and they feel that indescribable nudge of prevenient grace pushing them to be among the body of believers. Maybe someone invited them to your church and they are seriously considering doing checking it out.
Research shows that their likely first step will be to visit your church’s website. Saturday evening, I found myself, for the first time in a long time, deciding where I would worship on Sunday. Most Sundays, for years, I knew where I was going because I served there. Now, I had a choice. I know a lot of pastors and churches, but I decided to attempt to attend a church I had never attended. So where did I start? The web. Your church’s website is your new sign, your new Yellow Pages ad, your new Saturday Religion Page ad. Yes, there are other ways to let people know about your church, but your website is a place people are already trying to look.
I know you are busy, but I just want you to put a little bit of that precious time into taking a look at your website. I know it will take away time from the other things and I realize how difficult that is. If you don’t have a website, how about finding someone to help you put up a basic site? Your church’s name, location, worship times, a brief statement of beliefs, contact information, and a couple of pictures of your people being the church.
If you do have a website, how about taking a good hard look at it? When we are expecting guests, we tend to clean up, spruce up and make sure we are ready. Is your website ready for guests? Is it modern-looking? Is the important information easy to find? Is it up to date? I don’t know any pastors who don’t want to see new faces on Sunday morning. The truth is, they may already be looking for you.