Encouragement comes in many forms, and while the act of “one-another” fellowship typically involves a physical assembly of two or more, we cannot discount the benefits of offering virtual support and inspiration. Your website has the potential to present refreshment to the weary, quiet answers to those seeking, and just good in-between inspiration and hope to a community of believers endeavoring to make sense of it all. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Here are some practical ways to offer encouragement using your church website:
How to Encourage Your Congregation Through Your Church Website
Provide answers to tough questions
If I am looking for answers to important questions like how to relieve a bee sting, can lime juice really discolor your skin if combined with UV rays, when will my toddler grow hair, and can people die from eating too many chia seeds (my latest Google entries), I go to the world-wide-web; but what about the super important questions being asked, the ones of eternal significance? If we are to give an answer to every man who asks of the hope that in us, isn’t it possible that questions pertaining to hope are also being asked online?
Give scriptural perspective on current events and trends
This goes along with the previous topic but allows me to get a little more specific. Recently an article on a popular new media site read: “News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier”. Sure it will, but for the rest of us watching these happy-joy people stick their heads in the sand, nothing will be solved. We are bombarded every day with varied forms of the same curse and increasing in number. These are the topics on people’s minds – what are God’s answers?
Include daily words of encouragement
I recently signed on to a verse of the day subscription to help counter all the other crud and corruption I subscribe to have flung at me. At the end of the day, the things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, admirable, virtuous and praise worthy, all define God’s standard for the Christian’s thought life. There are different ways to post these principled items to your church website. Whether you include headlines that link to encouraging blog articles, a regular feed of inspiring quotes, comments, or just a straight dose of God’s word, offering access to these regularly distributed gems of wisdom is a step in the right direction.
Contact for prayer
Do you want to keep a pulse on your church’s health? Pray. The Apostle Paul demonstrates that discernment and the ability to maintain vigilance is found through prayer. (Philippians 1:9-10). Organizing a prayer team and offering a place for people to leave requests and concerns is yet another way to connect with your members on a deeper level and gain the necessary insight to lead successfully. A contact number or email is a start, but you can take it a step further and install a prayer or praise message box on your website. There are a couple simple-to-use plug-in and web apps that can be easily added to your church website.
Highlight the great things God is doing
A church site should be about God and what He is doing, saying, achieving, transforming, redeeming, providing, multiplying, protecting, etc. Build up faith and inspire the church through expressed appreciation that expounds on the grace and goodness of God in the life of your church. Keeping your website relevant and up-to-date should include the task of refreshing it with thanksgiving, which brings me to my next point…
Keep your website tight, clean and relevant
It is possible to have an encouraging word but a discouraging presentation of it. Website full of clutter, irrelevancy and disorder actually hinder any effort to do otherwise. Information is great only if it is accessible. Make it easy to navigate with as few clicks as possible to get people to what they are looking for. Trim down information so that it is simple and easy to digest. Visually interesting is fine, but stuff splattered needlessly across a page is quite distracting.
Help visitors develop as Christians
Make your site a teaching site, a website that creates an environment of godly disciplines and spiritual enrichment. Provide links to study aids, biblical training programs, and book reviews as well as access to helpful blog entries and guest articles. These are just a few ways to promote continued learning and encourage positive growth..