I received an email from one of my spec websites, which is kind of a funny story in itself. I built the website after a pastor contacted me, and now I see the church went with a Google Sites page. That church used the old Google Sites, which at least allows blog/news. However, it looks like a Word Document published to the web. Oh well, it's what the church wanted.

Anyhow, I built this decent website for the church, but the pastor ignored my emails, probably because some church member built a free website, and I totally get it. The church members will eventually wish they'd done things differently, but it's an experiment. So I got this contact form email from another church asking about how my church handles certain aspects of our website presence (thinking the spec website was the actual website). Particularly, this church is interested in hiring a part-time person to maintain the website.

The two questions this church wants to know are "Who facilitates your website and online presence? As well as if you pay someone to do so?" I know the answer for a lot of the church websites I've built or been a part of, so I'll go ahead and answer.

Church 1

The pastor rebuilt the website himself using a template site. This was after paying way too much to a marketing firm (over $9,000) for the previous website, which was Wordpress. The problem was that no one knew how to use Wordpress at church, and the marketing firm didn't really know how to make small changes to the website. I can understand completely why this pastor wanted to get his hands dirty and buy the template-type website. But it's ugly, and it reflects only that pastor's vision of what needs to be on the website. Updates for this site are done by secretaries. A volunteer was used for a time, but she kind of quit.

Church 2

This website was built and is maintained by several church members who also run a website building company. It's another Wordpress site that the pastors and principal don't fully understand, but the members who built it are very quick to make adjustments, so it works. I believe the budget is something to the tune of $5,000 a year for this service. Updates are still done by the people responsible (principal, secretaries, church president, and so on). It's well-maintained, but it might be a little overkill, especially since it has over 50 menu items. Maybe more.

Church 3

The church secretary is responsible for adding announcements. Since the calendar and documents are tied into Google Calendar and Google Docs, it's pretty simple to add those to the website. The school maintains its side of the website, with the principal doing a lot. Luthernet hosts the website for $100 a year. A volunteer also adds a pastor newsletter once a week.

Church 4

This website was built by Luthernet and is hosted for $100 a year, but it's not updated by the owners. The church has a pastor and secretary, neither of whom have logged in. Adding articles or calendar items are basically a couple of clicks, but it's not a priority, so it does not happen. The website looks very nice, but it isn't helping the church very much.

Church 5

The church president and secretary do most of the work on this website. There's a new article about once a week, and most of the menu items have been filled in with content. Hosted by Luthernet.

Church 6

This website is maintained BY Luthernet for $100 a month. We add online church services each week and back them up to Google Drive. We also waive the $100 a year hosting for this particular website. No one else participates in maintaining the website, but its main purpose is to archive services.

Church 7

The pastor adds an article a month, on average. He is the only person to use the website. The only menu item that has new content is the news category, but at least there's something new. This church was an example of the old site having a lot of categories that were empty, and then those categories remained empty after the new site was built. Hosted by Luthernet.

Church 8

This church employs someone who works on the website as part of his job. Sermons and calendar are updated weekly. News not as frequently. Hosted by Luthernet.

Church 9

Volunteer has been part of initial building of website. The childcare director will have some responsibility for the website, as will the secretary, and it appears the volunteer will continue to help with some of the content.



Websites can be maintained with new content if it's considered a priority. Most are not difficult to add a new article, but if that's not part of the job of a pastor, secretary, church president, childcare director, teacher, volunteer, or web designer, then it won't get done. Websites are slightly more complicated than a Tweet or Facebook post, so many churches have decided the easier method is the better one. This is not true, especially when it comes to evergreen content that can always draw new people to the website. If a church has an overt plan for weekly content (and it should), the plan should be followed, whether that's done as part of a job, by a volunteer, or as part of an outside service. If the website is too complicated to add content, there are options. But if just saying it's too complicated is getting someone out of doing the work, then the answer may not just be a new website.