When I wrote last week about just how awesome the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis‘ website was, I registered one relatively minor (teensy-weensy, really, hardly worth mentioning) complaint: there wasn’t a direct link to podcasts and videos on the front page. I heard back from Lori Stone Sirtosky, one of UUI’s web gurus, who said that they usually had podcasts featured in the middle of the page, and that they were going to add them to the “Highlights” section at the bottom of the page. Hooray! (Lori also mentioned that there were some folks interested in doing some videos, too. O frabjous day!) I bring this up here because The North Coast Church—today’s rockin’ church website—puts those two things (videos and podcasts) right up front and center. Check ’em out.
I like the way they lead with their current sermon series, followed by “Most Recent Sermon Video” and “Most Recent Sermon Audio.” What’s more, they have a link to “Growth Group Homework” right there as well—a perfect example of what the Faith Formation 2020 folks see as one of the two main faith formation goals for a church website: augment face-to-face learning with online learning activities. (The other goal, of course, is to invite people into the church for face-to-face learning after they’ve experience online learning activities.) And in case you’re wondering what a “Growth Group” is, their FAQ page says, “A Growth Group is a home fellowship made up of 10-16 people who meet weekly to share, study and support one another. A trained leader and host lead each group. An average meeting lasts for an hour and a half, followed by light refreshments.” Sound familiar? Like “Small Group Ministry” familiar?
Note, too, how prominent the “Visitor” link is. You CAN’T MISS IT! I also like the “Regular Attender” wording for the link next to it. Kind of sorts out the whole “members and friends” thing a lot of UU congregations engage in. Rather than implying that there are multiple tiers of involvement available at the church (members, pledging non-members, friends), North Coast presents two levels of involvement: Visitor or Regular Attender. That’s really about all we need to know from the website. I’m sure deeper levels of involvement naturally occur once regular attenders are more attentive to attending more regularly (or something like that).