We are spending a lot of time considering and discussing how to make websites as effective as possible for churches. One of the things we have been contemplating a lot recently has been how to best profile upcoming events on the website.
If you currently post your events online, you should keep reading.
As we’ve been thinking things through – we have identified a few different types of events that churches usually deal with:
- Weekly Services – Weekend services and other events that are core to the church
- Internal Organisation Events – like committee meetings, prayer meetings and other events for a predominantly internal audience. This might also include growth groups or other home meetings
- Regular Public Events – regular outreach events like public clubs, soup kitchens and the like
- BIG feature events – these are the big ones to invite visitors to – outreach events and things like Easter and Christmas.
All of these events hold importance to different audience groups – and it can sometimes be tricky to figure out how to display them all. As we build FaithVox – we are trying to make smart decisions for churches – and build them into the platform by default – so that they have the most effective website possible. Here are some of the principles guiding us.
Feature the public facing events
Always feature events that are going to appeal to the public first – it is one of the greatest opportunities churches have to welcome those from outside the church to come in.
List weekly ministries & public groups
If you have public-facing ministries like community groups, soup kitchens or computer clubs that meet regularly (weekly or fortnightly) then it can be great to profile them specifically. You might have a section which lists them (and when they recur) so that people understand when they can come along, and don’t worry they might miss out.
Think hard about internal events
Lots of churches place have a lot of internal events that run for members. Grow groups, committee meetings, prayer circles – all sorts of things that are important to the life of the church, but are designed for existing members.
Most churches will have various communication channels for their members – for a lot of internal events, these other channels will suffice. This means that the public-facing events on the website don’t get lots amongst a bunch of events that the public can’t come along to. My general rule of thumb is this. If a visitor can’t just come along and attend an event – it shouldn’t be on the public calendar.
If it is essential that internal events be listed on the site – I recommend finding a way to separate them from the public events. Perhaps you can categorise the events so that internal ones only show on a specific calendar in the members area? Or perhaps the events could have filters to hide/show internal events. (These are both options we are considering for FaithVox).
So how do you supercharge your events online?
There are a few ways that we’re hoping to make events on church’s websites as effective as possible.
1). Feature Events
Allow for ‘featured’ events to be grouped and then pulled out in various locations through the site in prominent positions.
2). What’s on this Week?
A view like this allows visitors to see events that are coming up in the near future, and could be used throughout the site in different locations.
3). Event Listings
Listing events allows visitors to see a wide range of events. You could also add the ability to filter these events allowing you to to exclude or include internal events.
4). Event Calendar
A calendar view gives a good visual overview of the events on in the coming month in a way that is manageable and easy to understand.
5). Poster View
This is a visually engaging view that tells a little more about each of the events.
What about you?
How does your church handle events?