Your Web Budget in 2012Posted at May 13, 2011
As we enter the midpoint of 2011, many churches are gearing up for budget planning season (actually, when is it not budget season?). For too many church Web staff and volunteers, it will be another round of begging for resources and help, but coming up short when all of the funds are allocated.
According to a Lifeway study earlier this year, 78% of U.S. churches have a Website but less than half use it for any interactive purposes. For the rest, the Website is just a stale billboard, business card, or brochure that rarely changes.
Why don’t more churches make active use of online technology to fulfill their mission? Here are some common reasons:
- Senior leadership don’t realize the sheer prevalence of Web usage in the mass population. This is the “head in the sand” problem.
- Staff are too busy with other things (time to re-read Tyranny of the Urgent!)
- Failure to see the connection between online outreach and spiritual growth.
- No goals for online ministry impact make it difficult/impossible to measure success, build momentum, etc.
- Strong focus on traditional missions (nothing wrong with that!), yet no attention paid to this generation’s largest mission field of all.
- Church was formerly relying on a technically-savvy person to “take care of the Website”, and now that person is unavailable. Result: we are embarrassed with our stale Website but nobody knows what to do about it.
- Believing the myth that only a Web geek can manage a church Website.
- Believing that it’s too expensive to have an effective Website.
- Fear that putting more content and tools online will cause the church body to become less connected, less interested in attending services, less willing to serve, etc.
- Not knowing where to start. So, we do nothing.
Have you heard any of these objections from your leadership team? Do you have an answer to each one? Do you have scriptural backup to make the case for relevance, urgency, and risk-taking when it comes to technology?
Many of you who are communications staff, part-time Web volunteers, or even volunteer committee members are called on to shape the direction of your church’s online strategy. Whether or not you feel that your leadership are sympathetic to the Big Picture, you have a responsibility to make a strong case for committing resources to this critical ministry field.
Here’s a challege: take the list of objections above (or write your own, based on personal experience) and then make a Bible study out of it. For example, what does Paul say about relevance? Does I Corinthians 9:19-23 apply in this case?
Through this kind of study, you will be more centered, more wise, and more prepared to enter prayerfully into your budget planning for next year.