Many places of worship now have their own websites, but how effective are they in getting their message across? To answer this question, ChurchInsight (a leading church management web application service from Endis Ltd) conducted an online survey among 120 evangelical churches of various denominations in the UK in February 2010. ChurchInsight’s analysis of the results of the survey, disaggregated by church size, is available at:
The study is also featured in an article by Mark Woods on the front page of the Baptist Times for 12 March 2010, under the downbeat headline: ‘Church websites aren’t working, says survey’. The underlying message of this report is that ‘churches have still not entered the digital age when it comes to evangelism – but those who have are reaping huge rewards’. Many websites were found to focus on the internal life of the church and to lack interactivity, thereby reducing their effectiveness as a tool for mission.
Among the statistical findings of the survey for the 120 churches are the following:
- The commonest features of websites are online contacts (95%), calendars (75%) and audio resources (65%), but only 50% of churches have a clear explanation of the gospel available on their website and only 25% have testimonies of faith
- There were 752 non-Christian visitors to events or services in the past year coming through the web and with no previous contact, together with another 588 with previous contact – an average of 11 per church
- There were 1,050 Christian visitors to events or services in the past year coming through the web and with no previous contact, plus another 574 with previous contact – an average of 14 per church
- Churches with an above-average number of non-Christian visitors are more likely to rate their website as being good at communicating to non-Christians, to have the gospel on their site, to provide online mechanisms for booking into events and to have audio resources
- Although the number of visitors naturally correlates fairly closely with church size, churches with 51-100 adult attenders seem, proportionately, to be the most effective in reaching non-Christians through the web