During this uncertain and unprecedented time, your ministry’s homepage has become an even more vital link for your now virtual community. It is critical to optimize your website by updating the information on your homepage to reflect the new, essential information for your ministry and community.
Things that were once top-tier homepage information, like your address, are less important. Many pieces of technology that were seen as unnecessary, or even a luxury, are now vital to support your congregation as they navigate the fear and anxiety that comes with social isolation.
Deciding to Go Virtual
While a scary decision to make, deciding to go virtual may be the best choice for many of us. So many in our communities are the ones at the highest risk, and it is our responsibility to care for them, as well as all of our neighbors. As the isolation of social distancing sets in, we know community connection will be more important than ever.
If you are no longer meeting in-person as a congregation, it’s time to reframe what it means to be community. Begin by listing the ways your community worships, prays, and connects throughout the week. All of those face-to-face moments need to shift. Basically, everything you knew about how to do ministry has changed over night.
Worship Times is here to support you and your ministry in this moment. We are hard at work building tools that will allow you to optimize your homepage and reach your community. Below is our preliminary list of what to shift on your website homepage to connect easily and readily until that moment when we can worship together once more.
To learn more, head on over to your Worship Times Learning Center to watch step-by-step videos. Go to your website dashboard; in the upper left corner, click on Worship Times; then select Learning Center from the drop down.
Until now, Live Streaming was something that only mega-churches and multi-campus congregations used regularly as an integral part of their worship service. Now, it is something you should definitely consider. It allows people to watch service from home, and not worry about sharing germs or maintaining 6 feet of social distancing.
On the Worship Times network, we now have plugins that will allow your congregation to directly embed most major live stream services on your website. Choose from Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Ustream, Sermon.net, and Zoom. Each service has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you are not already using a service, you can put a support ticket in so we can help you decide which is best for your context.
One last thing to consider with Live Streaming is to take a look at the licensing for your music selection. Here are some resources that will help you sort out how to handle songs during this season.
Online Giving is another area that has been a little superfluous over the past decade. While it made it easier for some folks who don’t regularly use checks or carry cash to give to the church, the majority of folks were able to drop their tithes and offerings right in the basket.
Without meeting every week, Online Giving has become the go-to virtual offering basket. There are many integrations on the Worship Times network for a variety of services such as PayPal, Breeze CMS giving, Tithely and many others. If you do not yet have a service specified, we can work with you to decide which platform is best for your congregation. Create a support ticket if you have questions.
With services online, it is important to consider ways to build in interaction. One way to do this is to set up a Prayer Request form on your website. Whether the prayers are read during services or if you decide to incorporate a mid-week prayer time, it will draw people into community.
Using the form builder, you can create an easy way for people to submit Prayer Requests. On the form you can include options, like whether the prayer request is private or if it can be read during worship. You may also want to include an option for a personal call during the week to pray together over the phone.
Consider your community closely during this time. Are you experiencing closures of restaurants, bars, and recreational facilities? How many in your community will be impacted by this? More importantly, if their paychecks are no longer coming in, then they may be in need of financial assistance for food and shelter.
Many local state and city governments are pulling together resources for how to manage this time financially. Maybe there are local food pantries that have a new way of delivering food to the food insecure. Take a look around your community and see what is popping up. Help your congregation by making these resources easy to find using the Publications tool on the Worship Times network.
An Optimized Homepage
In thinking about how to bring these pieces of technology onto your homepage, remember a few key points.
- This is not going to last forever. If you are using Divi Builder, consider using the disable function for your content. We will come back together and your current awesomely optimized homepage will need to return. Try not to delete anything if at all possible.
- Bring the times for your virtual worship service, weekly Bible study, and prayer meetings front and center.
- Make the links for videos, prayer requests, online giving, and local resources clear and easy to navigate.
- Move things like mission updates and upcoming events “below the fold.” These are less necessary in this time and are taking up valuable real estate on your homepage.
Worship Times Webinar
Are you still feeling a little unsure of what to do? We are here for you. Your ministry is the most important thing and your people need you now more than ever. Worship Times is hosting a Webinar on How to Optimize Your Homepage During Covid-19 Isolation on Thursday, March 19 at 9am Pacific/12pm Eastern to go through the above information and answer any question you may have about how to best support your people.
If you are already on the Worship Times network, remember you can always submit a support ticket with your questions. We are working diligently to respond as quickly as we are able.
If you are not yet on the Worship Times network, still join us for the webinar. The information applies regardless of who manages your website or where it is is hosted.
If you are curious about becoming part of the Worship Times family, get started today. With access to all of these amazing tools and a staff of experienced marketing and communication professionals who care about your ministry, you will not be disappointed.
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