Last week a friend shared that he wants to make some big changes to his church’s website (and the website needs some big changes), but he has been warned by the Senior Minister that the church administrator (who oversees the website) won’t be happy.
I have heard other stories just like this – of church websites that are in desperate need of an update but remain untouched for fear of offending the “webmaster”. To be fair, being the webmaster (surely there’s a better title!) is a difficult job. Everyone has an opinion about how the website should look and work and many aren’t afraid to tell you.
So let me be clear – if you are pursuing best-practices and have a strategy for making the most of your church’s online presence then by all means, share this with your critics and feel free to say no (graciously) to those who don’t know what they are talking about.
But in the examples I cite above, and many others, this isn’t the case. The door-keeper isn’t an expert in website development and they aren’t following a carefully crafted plan. What they are doing is shutting the door on many people who would benefit from an improved website.
This is ridiculous! The mission is bigger than one person and yet too often in churches and Christian ministries we permit this to happen. We allow the fear of how one prickly person might respond to paralyse progress in the mission.
And so the website doesn’t improve. Or the music continues to be average. Or the signage remains unengaging.
We need to stop asking the question “who might be upset if we change this?” and instead consider “who will benefit if we change this?”.
You can keep the peace or you can keep moving. But you can’t do both.