Every church in North America should regularly evaluate the effectiveness of its use of mass communication tools
God is at work building the church on the foundation of Jesus Christ to be a witness in society. Communication is necessary in this work. “Face-to-face” is the best and most precious form of communication. But throughout church history there has also been an important role for mass communication tools: stone tablets, papyrus, the printing press, and now the web.
You as a church leader have the the sacred responsibility of evaluating the effectiveness of the communication tools you are using. Face-to-face communication is still as powerful as it has always been, but mass communication tools continue to provide new ways to transcend time and space with your message.
The web is the most powerful mass communication tool of our time
We live in a “digital age.” According to Dr. David Bourgeois, Associate Professor of Information Systems at Biola University, the digital age began in the 1960s with the invention of ARPAnet and email. In the 1990s, it matured with the widespread availability of personal computers and the invention of the first web browsers. Today, over 56% of North Americans can access the web anytime and anywhere from pocket-sized devices called “smartphones.”
Church leaders can and should use church websites as a tool for building the church unto the glory of God
Most church leaders I know and respect are justifiably resistant to “man-centered” theology and methodology in building the church. The creeds, confessions, and catechisms of the Reformation teach a thoroughly God-centered worldview. Therefore, it would be inconsistent with our understanding of biblical doctrine to promote any theology or adopt any methods if they can be shown to be irredeemably man-centered.
Is the use of church websites in ministry an inherently man-centered methodology? No, of course not! Rather, it is our conviction that the web has great potential as a tool for building the church. Indeed, thousands of vibrant local churches throughout North America and the world are already demonstrating how the web can be used to advance the gospel.
In Planting an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Rev. Ross Graham writes:
A church’s website often serves as the primary means by which those outside the church learn what it stands for and when and where it meets. For these reasons, a church’s website must be well designed and maintained in order to make it a useful tool.
Outsiders often judge your church by its website. Is your church website well designed and maintained? Does it reflect God’s truth and beauty in its content, design, and functionality?
How then can you use your church website as an effective tool for building the church? First, by recognizing that it is merely a tool for ministry, not a substitute for ministry. Second, by building your church website to reflect God’s truth and beauty.