Mar 31, 2010

Church Websites

The other day I looked up a church website to find something and was startled by what I saw.  It was difficult to know if I was looking at a church website or the home page of a local chamber of commerce.  I wondered if other churches were doing the same thing with their websites and began to Google a variety of Protestant denominations and Bible churches that I was familiar with in the area.  Here are some of the common themes and layouts of many:

  • Minimizing or completely eliminating the word “church” from the name or the particular denomination.  Instead, the focus is on other words in the church’s name: “Oak Tree”, “River Creek”, “Winding River”, or “First Amarillo” (the names have been changed to protect the innocent).  On several websites, the word “Welcome” was about 4 times larger than the church’s name.  Other sites had the denomination or the word “church” in a much darker color so that the non-churchy words would stand out.

  • Frequent use of key words:

    • “Experience” – not the noun in this case but the verb meaning “to have certain sensations or feelings”;  I found this 4 times on one church’s website – and this was just on the home page!

    • “Real” – as in “Real Worship”, “Real People”, “Real Women”, “Real Community”

    • “Transformed” – as in “Transformed Lives” or “Transformed People” or “Spiritual Transformation”

  • A majority of the churches use a “rotating images” block which can feature:

    • the latest sermon series

    • upcoming services

    • new books being offered

    • special multimedia presentations

    • ways to stay “connected” with Facebook, Twitter and the church blog

  • Other columns on the Home page will list all the bible studies and help groups that are available or upcoming events.

Have we really come to the point where church is just another thing to be marketed, using the latest technology and gimmicks that have proven “successful” in the corporate world?  When did church become all about “community” and programs instead of about God?  One staff pastor was actually called an “Assimilation Pastor”.  I had flashbacks of old Star Trek episodes where the Borg (pseudo-race of cybernetic organisms) assimilated anyone in its path with the promise that “resistance is futile”!  By blurring the lines of the church and the world in this way, doesn’t the church become just another institution or organization trying to gain members and encourage involvement?  When did the church begin competing with the world?


Allen said...

All done in the name of being "relevant", "people-friendly" "out-reaching" and the big E word: "evangelistic outreach". Sigh. . .

Undergroundpewster said...

Well said.

The picture made me flashback to the adult Sunday School "forum" at our church. I recently challenged their reading a book by a certain retired Episcopal bishop who denies the virgin birth, the resurrection, and claims that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene at the wedding at Cana. I then challenged a quotation from Marcus Borg they circulated in an e-mail. I touched a nerve, and I got an angry series of responses. I ended the conversation by stating that their was no way I could defeat the Borg collective without Capt. Picard's help.

I try to stay away from the "forum" to avoid being assimilated.

desertseeker said...

Perceptive observations. Whatever happened to the verse in the title of your blog? "Narrow is the path, and only a few find it..."

desertseeker said...

Interesting observations. Whatever happened to the concept in the verse of your blog title? Mass appeal means degeneration, in politics, art, religion...

desertseeker said...

Oops, I didn't think my first comment took, so I reposted. Sorry. :)

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