Many people in ministry have come to accept that having a website and possibly even a Facebook Page are “necessary,” to be credible or relevant today. The number who see them as important and valuable ministry tools are fewer. How do I know that? I frequently see ministry websites that are poorly designed and have text heavy home pages. These sites are non-responsive to mobile devices and not helpful to visitors. The quality of social media ministry sites varies as well.
When websites and social media are seen as important and valuable ministry tools, the parish, diocese, ministry or organization dedicate time and money to their development, maintenance and growth. Their sites are current, attractive and well-maintained. They respond to the needs of their audiences.
One of our challenges is that the people who are in ministry—who must be the primary source of content for web and social media sites—usually are not web and social media savvy. Some are intimidated by it, others don’t have time or ability to learn it, or do not have the support of leadership or a budget to move forward. And there are not a lot of resources or manuals to help them. The web ministers are, by necessity, self-taught.
I want to affirm every ministry person who is pioneering in this field. You are pastors, pastoral associates, religious men and women, lay ministers (volunteer and paid) in parishes, organizations, publishing companies, schools, dioceses and so many more places. You were working hard before the Internet came along. Now, you are paving the way for future generations of ministers who will be both ministry competent and web and social media savvy.
Those who are teaching themselves are leading the way. Those ministers who find tech savvy people to partner with are doing great work. There is a lot of trial and error going on, but we are making progress.
This is by way of introduction to the answers to the fourth question on my January 5 Reader’s Survey which was: What would you to like learn more about in regard to your online ministry in 2016? The responses can be grouped in three categories.
- Detailed strategies for drawing traffic to a parish website.
- Best length for a web article; we currently link some of our print magazine stories to related articles & items on the web.
- How to post voice and music
- How to put vocal prayer on our site
- What are people seeking and are pages for reader input helpful
- Helpful hints for ‘spicing up’ websites and blogs.
- Detailed strategies for drawing traffic to a parish Facebook page.
General website/social media
- How best to assess the success of our posts
- Advice as to how often to post on website, FB, Instagram
- Sources for usable photos and videos
If you have something you want to learn that is not here, please post it in the comments below.
If you have something to share from your own experience on any of my posts this year, please do so. We are all in this together.