We have a unique opportunity to spend Easter weekend with our son who's attending college in Sarasota, FL and looked for a church near where we're staying.
The experience of searching for a church was eye-opening and I'm guessing is quite similar to what many first-time guests experience. (And even a little depressing, to be honest)
I know it's easy for all of us to get caught up in the routine of daily stuff and sometimes forget that people not connected to our church may need a little extra help. Here's a quick overview of the process I went through:
1) Searched Google
I simply typed in "churches near <my location>"
2) Filtered by Name
I know our kids are going to want a more casual experience for a place they've never been before. Names that sounded formal or included "Holy Grail of the Tabernacle," I'm sure are great churches but not what we were looking for this time.
3) Checked the Website
100% of people who've never been to your church are going to check out your website before coming to your church. (Even if it's just to remember what time their friend said the service starts)
This is where I was amazed how few churches made it easy to know when their Easter services were held. Out of the ones I checked, it was less than 25%.
Most didn't include information at all; several listed it several clicks in (One search experience was: Gathering Times > Home Page > Upcoming Events > Sunday Gathering > Back to Home Page > Back to Gathering Times > Passion Week > Scroll to bottom, Easter Services) Just one church had an icon for Easter Services listed on the home page.
People expect websites to have time-sensitive information.
Easter is a great opportunity to connect with people who don't go to church all the time. But if we're shouting a message they can't hear, does it matter?