After more than a year of building websites specifically for churches, I have found that churches do not want better websites. In that time, I have built more non-church websites that church ones, and I have spent many hours specifically trying to show churches the light. I think the reasoning is that churches are organizations with many people and opinions, whereas most of my business really ends up coming from individuals. I want to take a look at the disconnect between website designers and those who often really, really need new websites.

Leadership Structure

Church leaders are often told to get the website working. These pastors or other leaders might contact me. Then there's a board, the other leader who will actually work on the website, the church member who knows a lot about IT, and so on. The best opportunities I have had as a web designer have come from organizations that allow one person to really, honestly be in charge. If that person trusts me, the website is ready in a week.

When you think of it, a new website is so important compared to many of the other expenses churches tend to pay every month. With Brave New Church or Luthernet, you don't have to take out a loan in order to get a newly-built online cornerstone. However, a lot of discussion goes on in committees and boards, which often leads to volunteers or pioneers. These are people with good hearts and intentions who will ultimately not want to be responsible for all aspects of the website. I was once one of these guys, telling everyone I could do better. But when it started to take more time than it was worth (free labor), I backed away.

Lack of Trust

Most organizations feel they've been burned before. Web guys and IT guys tend to charge much more than they're worth. Consultants are worse. Salesmen are awful. Email marketers are the worst. Every church has dealt with the long line of experts in technology. If you get burned often enough, you tend to stay away. And then there's that church volunteer guy who says he has a Wordpress site.

I am in America, I charge an honest amount, and I can do whatever it is you want. I am sorry for all the others who have made my job of connecting with you nearly impossible.

Lack of Money

Websites do not turn water in to wine. Any website builder that guarantees you traffic is doing it in a mostly dishonest way. Building a new website IS a risk. With Brave New Church, that risk is about the same cost as a digital camera and your monthly coffee cup supply to keep going. Less than $1000 for a design and $10 a month to host. Even churches that are running out of someone's house and just starting out can afford that.