February 20, 2008

Sad web site story

I recently received an e-mail from a pastor who resigned from his congregation.  The last straw for him was conflict over the design of the congregation's web site.  (That's right, a well established congregation in a major denomination is just now building its first site in 2008.) 

He wrote:

We had a large disagreement about the purpose of a web site. They wanted it for upkeep of our calendar and shut-in lists, etc. I wanted it to be an evangelism and educational tool- sermons, blogs, mp3 and video. When I tried to convince them that it could be all of the above they really didn’t want to hear it. It was a small example of the big picture problem I’ve had with them for 7 years.

The pastor was working with Vine Hosting to build a Web Empowered Church site using the WEC Starter Package and pre-built templates.  Presumably the project will be abandoned now that the pastor has left.

Even though I've lived in the dysfunctional, dying part of the US Protestant church for my entire life, this kind of thing still upsets and saddens me.  Congregations like this one seem determined to continue their overall decline, missional inattention, and kingdom irrelevance. 

I'm proud of the part we play in the work of Web Empowered Church.  WEC's greatest obstacle is the all-to-common attitude displayed by this congregation.

6 comments:

Leo said...

After 18 years there, I recently left a church - for a complicated set of reasons. But, among them was that although I am a web professional, and I get to work on a crack team (the team at COR) my old church was content for their web site to be a static internal billboard. "It's not important to ministry - a web site is just icing on the cake" was how the Director put it to me at a meeting at Chili's Restaurant in 2006. I wanted to do ministry in the Millennium; they weren't interested - at least in my ideas, vision, and energy for it.

+++ leo johns +++

Nick Nicholaou said...

This is tragic, Cliff... and points to a larger issue in the American church today. I just blogged about it (and quoted your blog). There's a group in our church that is trying to derail the ministry because they don't want to follow leadership... just tragic.

ChurchMedic said...

The World is dying in the dark that the Church just cant fight because its asleep in the light...

Keith Green


I commend this pastor -
The business of the church is simple... to make disciples...

I think the minute one believes that a church can forgo Evangelism is the minute that the church begins to die.

Evangelism, Discipleship and Care.
if we loose our focus on these three - then the church will most often be missing out on so many opportunities for ministry.

I commend this Pastor - and
God will open a door where one has closed.

Mark Stephenson said...

Well, when we created the Web-Empowered Church (WEC), we never expected that our ministry would help motivate a pastor to leave a church. But we see this problem over and over as we share WEC with different churches. Passionate servants catch the vision of what God can do through Internet ministry and they are stopped dead in their tracks by the very people who should be supporting and encouraging them. Many churches do not want to change and are not motivated to reach people for Jesus Christ. I agree that this is sad for that church. But I commend that pastor for not letting that stop him. I pray that God will open up whole new and exciting opportunities for this pastor. May God bless his ministry.

In Christ,
Mark
WEC Director

Jerry Weinstock said...

As a person who is spent most of his business life in a sales role, one truism that I have confirmed for myself is that in dysfunctional companies sales people often find convincing the customer to buy is easier than getting their company to deliver.

I would suspect this individual found the the similar to be true - if asked the congregation would have welcomed the website deliverables, but the 'management' thought they knew better.

Here is a general purpose Marketing gem that can be applied to just about every business question or even life queston of any type - when in doubt ask your customer what they want. Had the board or the pastor asked the congregation what they want, then perhaps the outcome would have been different.

It even works at my house when my wife says lets go out for dinner. In the first few years what worked was, okay lets go out to so and so. However, I have found in the last 25+ years what has worked better is, where would you like to go.

Best Regards,

Jerry Weinstock
http://www.easycrmlive.com

Tony said...

Sorry you had problems! My own feeling is that a church should prioritize its site for outsiders. This self-assessment tool helps churches to do this.

Blessings

Tony