When talking to Churches and organizations about getting a website, I hear things I never expect to hear from someone. Recently, a Church answered, "We're not interested." When we probed and went further into why they don't want a website, we got an even more interesting and unexpected response: "Our money is better spent in some other way." At the time, our prices were very much under the market for websites (we have recently changed strategy and still are under the market value for websites but still closer to market value). I agree. It is important how you spend money, especially for Churches.
However, a website is an important asset for a Church. It is the first thing a lot of upcoming visitors to your Church will research. They will want to know several things: who is the pastor, what time do the services start, is there something for kids during the worship service, what should we wear to this Church?
Without a website, your Church will have less visitors or else have visitors unprepared (either late or under-dressed or over-dressed). Social media is important, as well, and fortunately it is free, but websites allow for something that social media doesn't: a stable experience for everyone. When you get onto a website, you'll see the same thing today that someone may have seen a few weeks ago. A website is user-driven and a social media site (such as Facebook) is experience-driven or Church-driven. Visitors to a Facebook page see posts, which means that something from a year ago has been hidden by other posts. A website is more organized, and information is more easily find-able.
You don't want just any website, though. Websites are like the front of a building. It's what people first see when they are looking at visiting your Church. In fact, most millennials even look up most businesses (and Churches) on the Internet before they go to the business (or attend a worship service). Read this quote and think about it: "Your church website is your first impression. It needs to represent who you are as a church. Think of it like the upkeep of your building. You wouldn’t let your facilities fall apart, so why would you let your website look bad?" (Jerod Clark, Church Website Statistics).
Going back to the beginning of this post, a Church that we talked to recently said that their money was better spent other ways. While I agree that it is important how you spend money, a website is not just simply a presence on the Internet. It is an investment in future members of God's Kingdom and also a way for you to communicate with your Church members throughout the week (ex. blog posts, announcements, online sermons, etc.). Most Churches can afford to get a quality website and not dip into the money that can be (and should be) used elsewhere. I'd have to say that if you can get a quality website, you should, because people are looking up your Church online. Will they find it?