One of many benefits being a ministry coach is to witness a growing churches in places despite the plummeted decline of the churches in the US over the last decades. There should be many factors in the success. One notable common theme is that they are all very inviting churches. New people are finding these congregations and choosing them as their home for the spiritual formation of their families including their kids.
How did they become so inclusively friendly congregations? This may be a question like which is first, egg or chicken. One thing for sure is that the success was not an overnight thing. Trust me that every congregation in the four corners has been trying to become an inviting church. Most of them have not yet become one, as losing their last chance of becoming one, even after all the hospitality training and a year-round invitational Sundays. My thought is that all the preparation work was useless simply because there were no visitors on Sundays.
When studying on those thriving congregations in today’s culture, they have one commonality: they do have a good web presence.
I’m not talking here about their superior graphical designs. Some do! But most of growing churches’s websites are plainly simple but communicating relevance with the community. What do I mean by communicating relevance? It sometimes literally shows in their web contents or in their keywords. Let say there is a family moving into the town. If they were Christians, what they would do first is a Google search on their preferred keywords like “best churches near me,” “contemporary worship near me,” or “best children ministry near me”. If they were not church-goers, they would probably search for a keyword on health-related topics, family-related topics, children-education, etc. Do you agree to this? You better! The statistic shows that 93% of any online experiences start with a search engine today. Communicating relevance means that whether your web presence is searchable with these keywords.
Do a Google search for “best churches in [your town]” right now and find out who re listed on the top!
Your time, energy, man-powers and financial resources you have invested in reaching out to your community become irrelevant if your ministry contents are not searchable and don’t appear in the first couple of web pages of the search engine result. Try yourself! Do a Google search for “best churches in your town”. See who are on the list and check it out if the top contenders are thriving in emerging culture: digital culture. First, let me give you with some links to related articles on this topic for anyone who are seriously interested in becoming an inviting church in the digital culture:
- What Does Your Church Communicate Today?
- Successful Keywords Research for Your Churches’ Website
- Becoming an Inviting Church: On-Page Optimizations
If you would like to explore the relevant keywords in which those thriving congregations are successfully communicating with their community, there are some tools you can use. Some of you may be familiar with web analytics tools like as Google Analytics. It can provide intelligence into your own website performance. What I’m here introducing is to understand other churches’ web traffic to learn how to increase foot-traffic to your church doors. I believe that the hospitality training and teams will bear fruits only when it reaches a critical mass in foot-traffic to your Sundays and online visitors to your website and blogs. We need to learn from those who successfully done that.
My introduction is here limited to free tools only: Tag Explorer and TagInspector.com.
Tag Explorer is a free tool used to see what keywords are running on a web page you are on. TagInspector is also a free tool to show what keywords are running across an entire website. Representing your core ministry with relevant keywords is a starting point of increasing foot-traffic to your church doors. Your hospitality ministry is then kicked-in organically.
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