Friday, September 30, 2011
Online Jesus Shopping
Okay, I admit that the title for today's blog is a bit misleading! It is prompted by some conversations over the past year, two in the past week. I chatted with a young couple who got married here earlier in 2011 and happily have joined St. Paul's. We have a shared interest in Creation care and I mentioned that I often write about the subject in my blog. They replied that they were aware of this. When they were looking for a place to get married they checked out church websites and the blog convinced them that we have shared sensibilities.
Last week I met with another young couple who are new to St. Paul's and are seeking baptism for their adorable daughter. They mentioned that when they started looking for a Bowmanville church, being new here, they looked online and our website listed the worship time prominently and other churches didn't. They have found St. Paul's to be friendly and a good fit for them as a couple but something as simple as listing the time got them through the door.
A few evenings ago I spent an hour with another young couple who have decided St. Paul's is the place for them and their two little ones. Sadly their church closed its doors and they started a search for a new place of worship, again looking online. And again info on the website and the blog helped them take the first step.
I can't tell you how pleased I am to have these three couples in our midst. One couple actually participated in our Exploring Your Faith classes to join, and the other two are transferring memberships from previous church homes. I have enjoyed talking with all of them, and all have a great deal to offer us.
They are part of a generation which assumes that information will be available through the internet, so we need to provide it. I'm just relieved that when they went looking they found something helpful. I find that some people who are a generation or two older assume that word of mouth and signage are enough to bring people in. Not any more, and it is important to make sure that our website is current and that we have the resources to maintain it. We are fortunate to have committed volunteers in this regard, but we know we can do more. When we put up our excellent new sign in front of the church we chose to include our website URL rather than our phone number.
We have readers of all ages. What are your observations about all this? Does this just make sense or are you still making the shift in perceptions about how we "sell" our faith community?
I suppose if you are reading this you have already bought in!