Using Profiles to Build Your Communication Strategy, Part 2

Every church has different personas that make up the congregational body. Each of these personas—New Visitor, Return Visitor, Engaged Member, and Mature Disciple—all need different things from portions of the church website.

We started profiling these personas in a previous post, so today we want to finish out the group with Engaged Member and Mature Disciple.

Again, we’ll be revealing what our research shows as the most important sections for each of these two groups. Understanding the needs of each group is a critical path for creating an effective church website.

Engaged Member

An engaged member is someone who’s been at the church for over two years but no more than ten. They’ll be familiar with the church, the community, programs, and events the church offers. They’ll want to know things like:

Event Registration. How do they sign-up for classes, events, and programs on your website? This group showed the highest demand for an easy-to-use online registration process. Like the other groups, the website is most helpful to them in facilitating connection to the community.

Email Newsletter. Engaged members want their information delivered via email. Make sure there are easily identifiable places on your website to sign-up for e-blasts. (You do have those in place, right?)

Facebook Fan Page. Because engaged members are familiar with the church, they’re looking to connect relationally with other members of the community. More than any other social network, Facebook emerged as a front runner for this specific group. Judging by the data, if you were to poll your Facebook community on how long they’ve been attending your church, most of them will have been there for 2+ years.

Mature Disciple

We’re defining “mature disciples” as community members who have been at the church for 10+ years and self-identify as a Christian. Simply put, these are your “go-to” people; the folks you couldn’t do ministry without!

Here’s what interests mature disciples most on your church’s website:

Text Updates. Although this isn’t a distinct function of a church website, mature disciples were most likely to indicate a strong preference for receiving informational text updates from the church. You can facilitate this connection by offering simple ways for members to sign-up for text updates on your church website. Services like Jarbyco and Tatango are helpful when considering how to do text updates.

Small Groups/Home Groups. Not surprisingly, mature disciples wanted to know where to access information specific to small groups. Although this element of church life is important for all personas, mature disciples seem to be seeking out this information more than any other group.

Email Newsletter. Again, the longer someone attends a church, the more likely they are to opt-in to email updates. Relationships are formed, ministry allegiances are fortified, and people want to know what’s going on in the life of the church. Much like the engaged members, mature disciples proactively seek out information. Make it easy for this group to find email updates.

Conclusion

Community life is at the center of both of these groups interaction with the church website. The more you can facilitate specific connections to the community for these two groups, the more successful your website will be.

Read Part 1 of this series here.

Read more from Justin here.

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Justin Wise

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

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