The Church Website Scorecard

Thankfully, God has provided for me to continue on with my education and start new things in life.  Sadly, it seems these opportunities are not within walking distance from my current home church, which is awesome and is family.  I've been a member for two years but have been attending and/ or listening to sermons for a total of four.  It's filled with people I love and people that love God and has basically been the place where I have been growing, been ministered to, and have been ministering.

I hope everyone can find a church like Shoreline, but sometimes God leads us down different paths.  When this happens, we live life with an open hand and follow where God leads.  While the Bible says what a good church should look like, but it is surprisingly silent on what a good church website should look like.  For that, I'd like to pay homage to the best Christian satirist out there and make a Church Website scorecard.

1) The website has photos of happy families +2
2) The website only has photos of happy families consisting of mom, dad, and 2-3 kids (at least one girl and one boy) -2
3) The happy family photos have a dog +1
4) The website has a picture of a dove +2
5) ...With an olive branch +2
6) ...Flying straight into your screen -1
7)...Backlit with some holy angelic light -3
8)  Actually, if anything is strangely backlit with holy angelic light -3 (but don't take off twice if you counted the doves)
9)  Has music in the background
...that would be equally fitting on a New Age palm reader tarot kind of website -5's not +1's a hymn played by an organ or piano +2
10) It has bad clipart -2
11) It has dropdown menus +3
12) It has multiple "under construction" pages that you suspect have been there for ages -4
13) It used a template, going with the generic-but-decent-looking route over the my-teenage-kid-made-this-in-computer-class-look +5
14) There are areas of the website that still clearly have the original template text -3
15) There are podcasted sermons +10
16) There is a statement of faith +5
17) There is contact information +3
18) There is information about different ministries +5
19) There is a paypal button...on the first page -15, + seriously?

Negatives: Keep in mind that a good church can have a bad website.  The people there can still have great theology, love the Lord, and love others.  However, a bad website may be indicative of people who 1) do not  care about making information about their church easily accessible to the public or 2) are really, really old (not a bad thing- just an observation!).  Depending on what contributed to the score, a negative score can also be indicative of a church that's trying to get money through its website

Positives:  Keep in mind that a bad church can have a good website.  The people there may have terrible theology, not follow the Lord, and not serve others.  However, since the website actually functions as an information-giving resource, use it.  Look at the statement of faith.  Listen to the sermons.  Try to get a feel for the church  (especially if you're in another city and can't just visit.)

I made this list based on my church hunt.  Sadly, I actually did see a website with a Paypal button on the first page.  (I didn't make up the backlit doves flying straight into your screen, either.)  What score does your church website get?  What do you think should be added to this list?

2 Response to The Church Website Scorecard

  1. Alex says:

    Trying to compete with SCL are we?

    (by the way, I really like the blogs you've been posting. I'm always like wow that is really encouraging/convicting/true/meaningful. Then I think, I should share this with Jo, it is totally something she should see, then I see you wrote it. And then I'm just like wow. And then, well then I usually have to get back to work, but yeah, kudos!)

    (I know that was a lot for a simple parenthetical, but w/e)

  2. Jo says:

    Oh, I only wish I were this amazing, but I think we both know I'm not even close. I like to think of it more as "imitation is the most sincere form of flattery."

    (By the way, thanks for your thoughtful comment; it's really encouraging to hear that the things that God has been teaching me can actually encourage others as well. I'm actually toying with the idea of doing MWF posts, with Friday's being a text post. I've really enjoyed these past few weeks, so we'll see. And I thought I would match your ridiculously long parenthetical with an equally long one :))