Every Church Web Coordinator Should Have These Qualities (part 1 of 2)

Posted at April 19, 2011

My wife used to be a tech recruiter, and every once in a while she would get an almost impossible job description (or “req”, in recruiterspeak).  This was a job description with a mix of exotic skills that you’d never expect to find in a single person.  For example:

Big government contractor company seeks a candidate to work nights and weekends only.  You must possess the following skills:

  • Fluent in Spanish and Farsi
  • At least 5+ years experience in C# programming
  • At least 4+ years experience in Oracle
  • Expert knowledge of Fortran
  • Must have seen War Games at least 5 times

Recruiters get paid the big bucks to find such a person.  And they have a name for it.  It’s taken from something that doesn’t occur normally in nature.  But maybe, just maybe, in your wildest imagination, you could find such a person.  They call this type of candidate the purple squirrel

If you’re looking for the ideal church Web coordinator, it can feel like there is an equally overwhelming list of qualifications for the job.  After all, you got into ministry because you love the Word, you love people, and you want to expand the Kingdom of Jesus, right?  Not because you wanted to manage technology.

I suggest that there are a few non-negotiables with every good church Web coordinator, and then there are many more “soft” requirements that might or might not matter to you. (By the way, this post is focused on churches but the principles apply well in many other industries as well.)

Must-Have Qualities

  1. Must understand the vision for the church, and articulate why it has a Website in the first place.  Too often I’ll ask a pastor, “so tell me why your church has a Website.”  It seems like an almost-heretical question in this day and age. But stop and think–can you articulate your strategy for online ministry?  If you answer, “of course we have a Website, we just have to have one” then you are not getting it.  As with many other pursuits, when you have a clear vision, everything else falls into place.
  2. Must have implicit trust of the church leadership.  Don’t underestimate the value (or cost) of what your organization does online.  One blog post or one video clip can bless someone, cause them to investigate faith, or just speak to them in a way that no other medium can.  This should be the “fruit” that you seek to bear.  But remember that the converse is also true–one improper blog post, forum comment, or tweet can torpedo your church’s reputation and efficacy.  Don’t entrust the online ministry to the nearest warm body with a keyboard.  It could be your most powerful asset in reaching your community. Treat it accordingly.
  3. Remember the three necessary qualities in a volunteer? Those apply not just to volunteers but also to staff.  Whoever is managing your online ministry must have all three of these attributes or else it will end badly.
  4. Must have good relationships with other ministry/department liaisons.  Web coordinators often use the phrase “herding cats” to describe the ongoing challenge of getting content from various ministries.  In order to have the right content, images, media, etc. from your departments, your Web coordinator must have the ability to ask and receive in a timely manner.Related point: some churches place the entire Website content management duties on one person. Talk about herding cats! We believe this is the wrong approach.  Don’t make your success dependent on other departments; delegate! If a ministry chooses to slough off the Website duties, then this could be a sign of bigger problems. 
  5. Must be a good communicator.  Nothing can frustrate a Website visitor like finding irregular, incorrect, or unprofessional content on your Website.  Your Web coordinator’s job is not to create all of the content, but they should be curating, editing, and conforming it to a unified voice.  Speak as one church, using Colossians 3:23 as your standard for excellence!

Did you notice something about the above list? There are no technical requirements here. Computer knowledge and web/social networking skills are nice, but not essentials for success in online ministry.  Without any of the above items, however, you will  not produce the maximum fruit.

In part 2, we’ll cover the “nice-to-have” qualities.

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