I was looking through LCMS churches in my area through the LCMS Find a Church website. That led me to several websites built by Kansas churches that were good, bad, and in the middle, but one stood out to me, since it has the most issues when it comes to people finding the church at all, and that church is St. John Lutheran in Kensington, Kansas.

First off, the church had been using Thrivant's free church website service, which is now defunct. The problem is that back in 2015 when the church switched to a Wordpress site, someone forgot to tell LCMS, so anyone looking for a local church using the LCMS site will be directed to Thrivant.

So I Googled the church, which maybe half of the seekers out there would bother to do at this point. The webpage looks ok, though it does have the typical blog format of a Wordpress site, making a user scroll down forever, like it's a Facebook page. Anyhow, it's not too bad for a free, member-created website, so my goal was to just simply tell someone on staff about the broken link on lcms.org.

I click on Connections, and it's all about connecting out, not in. So I click on Staff and it's just a list of names. Finally, after scrolling up and down the front page nonsense a few times, I spot the side menu with the contact info. Looking at the website on my phone, I have to scroll past ALL the articles in order to pick out the info. It's almost like First St. John Lutheran's contact info and location is hiding from me.

After looking around a bit, I see that the contact info is on some of the pages. Not all of them. No map. One email address without a contact form, meaning when I do send a message, they will likely ignore it as more spam.

The problem is that I'm not there for all churches, looking to see if you have your contact info on every page, a map somewhere, and a contact form to stop spam. So just take a look. I think a lot of web designers built something and then let it sit there, hoping no one will make any suggestions. That's wrong. When you hire someone to build you a website, make sure you look at it once in a while. If you don't want a Facebook-like blog frontpage, it can be corrected. If you don't want every article to display "Comments Off," then ask for the setting to be changed, and if you want contact info displayed properly, then you need to say it should be prominent and done right. Plus, check the links in to your website if you've changed the domain. You might have brand new site that just lost 20 links from other websites, or one huge link from your national headquarters.

A lot of the items I mentioned take almost no time. In fact, the First St. John website has a lot of content, which takes A LOT more time to create. But it's being wasted, to some extent, by some simple issues that create huge problems. If you're doing this all on your own, give my book a shot. It's not perfect, but it at least will get you started.