Christmas is coming, you are decorating the trees that are in your churches, hanging lights, and putting up the nativity set. We all know that there may be a lot of new faces (or ones we only see a couple times a year) at church on Christmas Sunday.
Many churches go the extra mile with choir productions, childrens programs, dramas, and other special touches for that Sunday. In Southern Baptist Churches, there is one step that many of our churches have forgotten.
On the SBC.Net homepage, there has been a lot of work over the last couple years, mainly toward making it easier to find a local Southern Baptist Church in your area. They have cross referenced addresses they receive from annual reporting with Google Maps data. They have done quite well. However, any map is only as good as the data it uses.
Here is my early Christmas gift to you, SBC pastor. Stop what you are doing, go to the Church Search Page (after reading the rest of this post, of course) and make sure it is updated with the latest information on your church. Phone number, address, email addresses, service times, directions, and staff members names can all be part of this page. Many of the individual church pages will also display the last time you have updated this information. In looking at some of the churches in my part of the country, the last update was 7-9 years ago! This kind of thing would never be allowed in the maintenance of your church building (oh, we’re out of toilet paper,… but we just bought some 8 years ago…). We need to have the mindset of treating the church’s online presence with dignity as well, even if your church search page is the only online presence your church has.
This may be the only way someone can find your church. For example, Church Search is the first result when you Google “southern baptist church near me“. Make it easier, not harder for people to find you. I am not talking rocket science, nuclear chemistry, or reaching 18-35 year olds. Just simple common sense. It’s asking the question, “if this is all someone sees of our church when they move to the community, is it what we want them to see?”
So, my challenge to you is while you are preparing your church building for Christmas, that you prepare your online presence as well.