7 Benefits Why Your Parish Needs a Website

Church of St. Peter. The website has subtle content animations that appear unobtrusively when you scroll down the page. The already familiar central banner showcases a church photo and calendar of events with a schedule of masses. So it has all church website essentials to engage new parishioners.
Image by Cadabra

Historically, Catholics have been at the forefront of scientific, educational, medical, and technological innovation. Ironically, however, the Catholic Church is sometimes one of the slower adopters of this same innovation. This has proven true of the adoption and effective use of both websites and social media by most parishes. —eCatholic

Shout out to the parishes who are already thriving and for those who just started to make an impact on people's spiritual lives in the blogosphere. For those parishes who are not yet leveraging the power of the website and social media now is the time to take action. The parish administrators (setting aside personal schedules and giving more time for the church growth and success) along with the catechists must create a Social Media Ministry Committee. Inform parishioners who are tech-savvy to volunteer in joining the ministry and create a strategic plan on how you (as a team) propagate the Good News.

Moving on, creating a website for your parish is a valuable way of improving communications with the parishioners and with the community around you throughout the week which helps build unity; it should not be thought of as an alternative to face-to-face interaction but as a backup to fill in the time where priests or catechists are not around to ask questions and clarifications about the parish ministries and services they are interested with. This is to avoid the words like the priest is not around come back tomorrow, when you come back the priest is still sleeping he’s tired come back after lunch, and so on… you get what I mean? If the parish office is closed or the priest is not available for face-to-face interaction, then put a visible note saying please visit our parish website to find answers to your questions otherwise please come back on this date and time. Isn’t more professional and showing care to your parishioners by giving them an alternative to finding answers to their questions?

Here are some of the benefits of having a website for your parish:

1. Become a Good Steward of the Environment by Having a Website for Your Parish

Get your parish to go green. Your parish becomes a more paperless parish by having a website and leveraging social media to “help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations.”

2. Having a Website Serves as Your Parish Digital Library to Everyone

A parish website offers an open digital media library for parishioners. Saving articles and recordings of your homilies and Gospel reflections online are a perfect way to increase the longevity and reach of your homilies and Gospel reflections. People who did not attend during some or most of your Eucharistic Celebrations can read and watch it online on-demand.

During times of crisis like what we are currently experiencing right now, various activities, most especially parish activities, are put on hold. How do you deliver your homilies to your parishioners in times like this? How do you hold the weekly scheduled services (except those activities that need personal attendance)? You can do all of that online. All you need is a decent website.

You may visit Ascension Presents – YouTube, Ascension Presents – Website, Pins of Light, and Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore – Website, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore – YouTube for inspiration.

3. A Website Helps in Extending Your Parish Reach

A parish website spreads your message around the world. Your parish can reach as far as Africa, North America, North/South America, Europe, and Australia. It is a powerful tool to evangelize and keep in touch with your parishioners/benefactors/friends/Families who are on these continents.

4. A Website for a Centralize Communication to Keep Your Parishioners Up to Date

A parish website answers questions about the church. People have all kinds of questions about churches. Scholarship? Services? Schedules? Music? Ministries? Schools? Bible version? Prayer Pamphlets? Retreat and Recollections? These questions can be answered through a parish website.

Besides, a parish website helps your church to be relevant in communicating today. We live in an era where technology is advancing faster and these advancements can be really beneficial to the church. Creating a website helps in catechizing, educating, and most especially saving more souls. Technology should not only be used for the economy but also for the salvation of souls.

Moving on, it’s really important to have everybody on the same page. Conveying your parish activities, events, goals, success stories, financial reports, and needs to your parishioners can be very difficult if limited only to making announcements on Sunday Eucharistic Celebrations. You need to display a note via a PowerPoint presentation at the end of the mass to keep your parishioners informed saying please visit our website to stay updated, stay informed with our latest and upcoming activities/events/announcements. You can also create a simple outdoor banner placed at the entrance of the church so everyone can read it. This is the main function of a website, to communicate information. Do make sure your parish information can be easily found on your website for convenience and information should be organized.

5. A Website Helps Your Parish to Show Up in Google and Other Search Engines for People Searching for a Church to Visit

Millions of people search for local and international products and services near them on a daily basis. If you are going to ask me, are they searching for a parish? For sure that they do! I for one, for example, has done it many times when moving to a new location. Such people who make these searches online may have moved or maybe moving. Or looking for information or church materials such as homilies and gospel reflections, inspirational books, prayer pamphlets, online retreats and recollections to attend, prayer request page to send their prayer requests, online prayer group to join, church list of services, church schedules. Maybe they're new believers looking to become a part of a parish. Maybe they just want to attend a mass for the day. Or maybe they're looking for a new home because they are not happy with their present parish and would like to go to another parish. No matter why they're looking, they are probably searching online. The only way to ensure other people find you online is you’ve gotta show up in Google search results by having a website and google my business page.

Think about it, your parish website is available 24/7/635 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year).  Most people are using the internet to find whatever information they want. It’s faster and more convenient than calling over the phone. If you don’t have a website, then your parish is not reaching out to where most people are looking. Remember, your website is unlimited in its reach and is always available to anyone searching for it.

Catholic IQ Test

6. A Website Can Be a Great Platform to Increase Your Parish Income

Having a parish website can help increase your church’s income. We are in a digital age where people pay their bills online, shop online, invest their money online (stock market/time deposits/mutual funds/etc..), and read their bank statements online. Can they also give to their parish online? With a parish church website, yes! A website can help your parish to collect donations and pledges/tithes, not just from the 1st and 2nd and 3rd collections you are getting during the mass from your parishioners but including those people from abroad and other people from other parishes. This can be achieved by creating a donation page and make sure your parish website attracts your potential donors to donate online.

Consider your website as your personal assistant. When set up to accept donations properly, it makes it easier for potential donors to donate online and it takes out the administrative work of handling their donation for your parish. So it’s important to optimize your donation page: there should be a call to action (CTA) button for your parish website visitors to donate; provide the necessary information so that your potential donors feel comfortable in donating; process your donations instantly into your parish payment account(s) such as BPI, BDO, GCash, PayMaya but I don’t think you can set up automated donation receipts and thank you messages with these, unlike PayPal and Stripe they have guides on how to set it up; collect your donor details straight into your database through a fillable form incorporated in the donation page; create summaries of the donations and tell your donors how far you are to your objective; and keep in touch with your donors through scheduled donor impact updates emails because this is one way to keep your donors engaged with your parish. Emails could be sent monthly or weekly depends on you as long as you are not spamming. Another way you can do to keep your donors informed is by calling them personally and walk them through how their donation is working for change which I think a more memorable one.

7. A Website Helps to Promote Your Parish Ministries and Services

Many churches have some sort of marketing plan in place to help them get their message to those who otherwise wouldn't hear it and a website is a great tool to help extend that reach.

In addition, promoting your parish doesn't differ much from promoting a secular corporation, brand, business, product, or service. What are the parish services you want to promote to your target audience? Maybe your parish provides counseling services for individual, marital, family, child and adolescent counseling. Or maybe your parish provides vacation bible school study activities for kids/youth/adults, seminar-workshop to strengthen marriage/family relationship, and recollections. Or perhaps your parish has ministries that need members who are interested to join, a vocational school that provides free education for deserving poor students, and vocation & discernment services. These services have to be marketed in some way, and a website is one of the best ways to do it. Provide all the details of how to join the ministries and use the services. And add as much information as you need to about the church’s ministries and services because it will help people who need it.

I hope that these benefits motivate you to create a website for your parish. We really need it in this digital era. Use the internet to your advantage to preach the good news to the lost and to address social issues.

Your voice matters. Discussions are moderated for civility before being published on the blog. Read my comment policy here.

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