Churches, there is probably something important missing from your website. I have covered, in several posts, some of the essential content on a church website, and I am not sure if I have been clear and specific enough on this topic. I have noticed many churches with otherwise excellent websites, that are lacking in this particular area.
I have been visiting churches lately. I am no longer going in any sort of official capacity, so I think I am actually paying more attention. I always go to a church’s website before driving to a church. That is less about research and more about wanting to be comfortable.
The more I know about what to expect, the more comfortable I am visiting. Some churches do a great job of telling people the service times, how to get there, and what to expect in worship. I love those that share photos to give me an inside view. Sermon video is even better, especially if it is shot in such a way as I can see a little bit of the room and the people.
So, what is missing from many websites that would make things easier? It is not theological or spiritual. It is totally practical.
There are a few churches, but not many, with entrances that make everything clear to a first-time guest. Not often, but sometimes, you drive up to a church, and it is instantly clear where you should park and how to get in. However, that is more likely the case at a movie theater as opposed to a church.
Think about going to a new movie theater. There is usually very little question about where to park and how to find the main entrance. Churches, on the other hand, aren’t always so clear. Sometimes it is merely an issue of location. Churches located downtown or in the middle of a neighborhood often have to be creative about parking and entrances. There are times when it is impossible to create a perfect parking entry setup. There are times when it is impossible for parking to be visible from the street approach. There are also times when it is impossible to see the main entrance from the parking lot. This is unfortunate, but there is often nothing that can be done short of a complete relocation. Signage can help, but this leads us back to the topic of this post: add this to your website.
Despite our best efforts, most churches don’t offer everything a guest needs for a low-stress visit.
I visited a church the other day. I had actually been there before but not on a Sunday. I knew where people parked during the week, but I assumed that the small lot would be full for a Sunday morning 11 o’clock service. I checked the website before leaving to see if it had any parking information. Seeing none, I just hoped for the best. This was a church in a neighborhood. They didn’t have the option of a large parking lot out front.
I drove down the street toward the church and stopped at the corner. The church was across the road on the right. I could see where the church was and even the entrance. But where should I go to park? Interestingly, this church was very good at hospitality. I had never noticed during my non-Sunday visits but, right there on the other side of the street was a small sign announcing guest parking. It was a big lot with plenty of spots and, even better, lots of shade. And, it was right across the street from the main entrance.
Well done. But. Why wouldn’t that fantastic piece of hospitality be on the website?
For our guests: Don’t worry about parking! As you approach the church on x street, you will come to the intersection with x street. You will see the church on the right. Turn left, and you will see our guest parking. There are plenty of spots and even some shade for hot Texas days. You will be able to see the main entrance right across the street.
Okay. So your church parking situation is different. But go get in your car and approach your church as if you have never been there. Then, figure out how to explain to a guest how to find a parking space. And, from there, find the entrance. Hopefully, your website already has an “I’m New,” “First-Time Guest,” or “Plan Your Visit Page.” Make sure it is clearly explained on that page.
No need to let parking get in the way of Jesus.
Need someone to take a closer look at your church’s website? Check out my Church Website Review. I will evaluate your entire website and offer practical tips to make it more effective in reaching new people.