As a life-long Lutheran, I have the right to make an observation about our evangelical behaviors, and it's not entirely positive. If you are looking for the #1 reason for a decline in the Lutheran Church, it probably has to do with the lack of evangelism, even while many of our churches (and even synods) have the word as part of the title. Ironic, yes, but not useful for recruiting and maintaining membership, A website from is a good start in being evangelical, but there are a few traps you'll want to avoid as you bolster your online presence.


Hiding. We have a Lutheran college about three blocks away. We rarely see the students out, even when our family walks around on their campus. The only time I was ever invited to the campus was in order to discuss concerns about students not treating the neighborhood like their own, and my suggestions about having students interact more in the community were ignored.. When I looked the college up on Google, one review said the campus was secretive and elitist. Seemed true from my experience. I grew up in a different neighborhood where many of the kids went to Lutheran or Catholic schools, which is great,  but I was told quite often by them (and their parents) that public schools (and those attending them) were bad. The point is not to isolate ourselves as Lutherans in order to avoid others who have less or with whom we will not commune. Rather, as an evangelical congregation, the point is to at least show others around us the importance of our faith. Invite others. Help others. Talk about your faith with others. Or, just set a good example for others, but don't just be good people hidden away in your school or church. That's not evangelical. Using a website to share your views with other people is an efficient way to come out of hiding without having to ring doorbells. You might want to pick up the trash generated by your facility or have a sign that reminds people to respect the neighborhood, too (like my church does). Wear church t-shirts and do something for the community. People will notice you're not hiding.

Resting. Maybe many Lutherans are good with the fact that Martin Luther did a lot to start the whole Protestant movement. The problem is that Martin Luther died nearly 500 years ago. A lot has happened since then, and Lutherans need to work on adapting to the world as much as other denominations. No, we don't have to give in to anything, but using the tools available in a way that promotes our views is imperative. For example, most Lutheran congregations now have screens of some sort that are used during service, send out emails, or use technology in some way to help spread God's Word. However,  you should not neglect the way that unchurched people seek out Truth: on the internet. To be evangelical, you must have an online presence that invites others and tells them about your church. If your site is outdated, it's not being found by those who need to find it most. Martin Luther never rested in his mission.

Pretending. Churches will often pretend to be evangelical by doing things for fellow church members. Think about it: if you have a day of service, and people volunteer to help with lawn care for church members (or the church itself) or participate in various other church-related activities that mostly benefit fellow church members, you're pretending.There is certainly a place for helping each other out, and don't stop doing it, but if that's the alternative to true evangelism, then at least get a website to promote it so that others in the community know which church is generous to its members. A website that is updated and has relevant information for those seeking God can be a very useful tool, and it will be augmented by your acts of kindness that can be added to the site via articles and photos. You can lead by example and be evangelical without having to step out of your comfort zone, but you likely can't do it with your current, outdated website, so contact LutherNet today. Besides, those who THINK all of your mission work is internal will get a chance to see the truth, as long as you update the site with articles about what you do.

Keep in mind that Lutheran churches do not attempt to hide, rest, or pretend. It's just a bit easier than the alternative. A website can really help get people involved at church, but it can also help the outside world see the benefits of visiting your church. Whether you are reaching rural America for Christ  or otherwise engaging your community (EYC), it's much easier to do when you have a decent website.