Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Why Do You Exist?

After several years of having the same website design, I’m sure our church website is due for a change. As website designs go, it has held up very well. That’s part of why I’m struggling with creating a new design. As is, it has all the things, and more, that you would expect from a church website design, so it isn’t easy to identify problems that need to be fixed.

Mike Anderson, one of the developers of, recently blogged about 5 Principles of Church Website Design. They are:
  1. Tell Them Why You Exist
  2. Give ’Em A Hook
  3. Cast A Wide Net
  4. Don’t Fake A Vibe
  5. Show The Story
I’ve talked about all of these before in previous posts or in the book, in one form or another. Today, I want to focus on the first one. Mike Anderson’s solution was to put the statement “It’s all about Jesus” under the name of the church. My question is, is this enough?

Granted, Mars Hill is not one church but several under one name, so we can expect they may have different needs and different goals than a typical church. But even with them, I suspect that “It’s all about Jesus” is much too broad of a statement. Of course it is all about Jesus, but how does that make them different from any other Christian group?

Our church’s purpose statement is better (if it weren’t so long). It reads: Out purpose is to win people to Jesus Christ and enlist them in ministry, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God. For a website, I would rather it read: Winning people to Jesus and engaging them in ministry. But I wonder if even that is too broad. In the city of Fort Worth, there are probably hundreds of churches that could plaster that statement on their website. What does that say to someone who is looking for a church? Does it have any value for a church member?

I suspect it has more value for church members than it does for people who are looking for a church. A church member who happens to be looking at the church website has one more reminder of our purpose. The newcomer sees nothing that they haven’t seen on other church websites. I want to ask what makes us different from other churches, but that implies I know what other churches are like. A better question is what is it that we are trying to do as a church that few, if any, other churches can do?

Allow me to brainstorm for a moment. We are:
  • Sharing the gospel with the people of south Fort Worth, Crowley, Edgecliff Village and Burleson.
  • We are reaching out to youth and children through various programs.
  • We are teaching the scriptures through sermons and classes.
  • We are helping to spread the gospel through the whole world through our support of the efforts of the Baptist Missionary Association.
  • Our prayers for each other and those outside of our church are facilitated by our prayer meeting on Wednesday night, the church prayer list, the Sunday school class prayer lists, and e-mail mailings.
  • We visit people in the hospital, care for those who are grieving, attend to shut-ins.
  • We worship the Lord through music, with our choir, our brass band, and our praise team.
  • Volunteers clean our building and take care of the upkeep on our lawns

If you can understand why we do those things, you will understand why we exist. Is it “all about Jesus?” Perhaps, but it is more than that. Some people say our church is more loving than and more true to the scriptures than many of the churches they’ve visited. But like I said, I don’t know much about other churches. I wouldn’t want to put that on the church website. I do, however, believe we have a love for God, a love for his word, a love for each other, and a love for those around us. I would like to think that is true of most churches. I’ll leave it to those who have been in other churches to decide if that is true or not.

I very much doubt I can sum up what drives us into a simple statement that gets the whole point across. I rather think that is something that should come through when people see real church members involved in real activities on our church website. If they can see our dedication to the things we are called to do, they will understand who we are as a church.