CEC North America

It was a big deal when churches turned the organ in for a guitar and drums.  It was painful, hard to learn, and required more people than a single organist, and yes, it was necessary to carry the Gospel forward.  Getting your church online is hard, a bit painful, and requires more people than a single person to ‘make a web page.  Once completed, you will wonder how you got along without it. 

Get My Church Online

PREPARATION (GET CONTROL)

  • Get control of your website
  • Which Email to Use?
  • Create a Google Accounts
  • Encouragement
The website has both a domain (www.example.com) – this is the internet address, and  a hosting company–this is where your files and images for your website are stored.  You need to have admin access to both. They can be with the same company or two different companies.   You will need to have the ability to upload files to your website (called FTP, File Transfer Protocol). You often can find this on your hosting site.

Learn More

If you can, create an email using your host and your website address so that your email looks like this: [email protected] or [email protected] Don’t mix up a personal email with your church administrative email. It is easy to change at this point, but after you have set up accounts, it is very hard to go back and fix this issue.

Learn More (Go Daddy) Learn More Cpanel

You will need to create a Google account for your church. If you have a personal Google account that you use for Gmail, do not use it for this. Do not use your personal account for the church. It will come to cause trouble later. A Google account gives you free access to many powerful tools you will need to move your church forward. This account is the key that you will use multiple times.
“Well begun is half done.” – Aristotle.  I know this seem like a simple way to start, but you are building on solid ground.
Jesus compares those who not only hear His words but do them to someone who wisely builds his house on a rock-solid foundation. The rains come, a flood comes, the winds howl, but the house stands firm.

-Matthew 7:24-25

PREPARATION(ACCOUNT CREATION)

  • Sign up with Google Search Console
  • Sign up with Google Analytics
  • Link you web page to these platforms
  • Encouragement

Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/ and sign in with your Google account you created for your church.  Google’s service is free.   This service shows you how search engines view your website, how they behave on your website, and how you can help search engines find you (adding Sitemaps, fixing mobile errors, etc.). To link your website to Google search console, you will need to have the ability to upload files to your website. (See above FTP)

Go to https://analytics.google.com  and sign in with your Google account you created.    Google’s service is free.   This service shows you who is looking at your website, how they behave on your website, how they arrived, and many very valuable pieces of information.  Like many powerful tools, it appears overly complex.  Rest assured it gets easier.   After a week, Google will have some data for you.  Start with looking at the Home Screen, it has a great overview.  At the bottom, look at “What pages do your users visit?” for useful insight.

These accounts link to your webpage.   Google Search Console and Google Analytics link in similar ways.  Either will have your file uploads or you can use plugins.  The file upload is best.  You are getting ready to make significant improvements to your website and these tools will show you if you are succeeding.

These features can be very technical looking, but they tell you what is going on.
The technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is everything.

– Sean Gerety

PREPARATION (FACEBOOK)

  • Do you have the right type of Facebook Page
  • Update your Facebook page
  • Setup Facebook Business Manager
  • Encouragement
Does your church presence on Facebook have “friends” …or “fans?” You may have set up your Facebook page as a “personal profile” on Facebook, rather than a “Group,” “Fan Page” or “Page.” NO WORRIES, this can be fixed

Look Here

Facebook changes all the time.  Take a look at the video at the left.  It will walk you through a simple diagnostic review of your Facebook page. 

One of the areas you will show your church service and advertise your church on is Facebook. To do this, you need to have access to Facebook Business Manager. At this point, we just need to turn on the account; we will play with it later.

Setup Facebook Business Manager

You can’t tiptoe into social media. You have to jump into the pool. People have a natural fear of it. But the scary part is not being there. Your customer (future member) is already there.

– Dave Saunders

Facebook is the entryway into Social Media and the simplest to work with. It is a forgiving platform and still effective.

PREPARATION (WEBSITE)

  • Secure your Website
  • Review your Host contract
  • HTML or WordPress or WIX etc.
  • Encouragement

Websites today need to be secured.  You need to see the padlock like this.  

It is often offered free from your host service.  Google and Facebook will not like linking to unsecured webpages.  Don’t skip this simple step. 

Your host might be a shared host that shares resources. This is normal and is OK. As you proceed, understand if your host has any limits on your growth and the criteria to upgrade your service.
We recommend that you use WordPress to run your website. It is fast, safe, and easier to learn than other methods. A website built on HTML is good, but to edit you must learn how to code and the website may be limited by your skillset. WIX and other free services are OK and a good way to start when funds are limited, but they are not a permanent solution as they have limits that will hinder you later. You can always upgrade later.
A website is a window through which your business says hello to the world.

– Amit Kalantri.

Many think of a website just as the Sign in front of the church, saying welcome, services at 10am. In fact, your website is an extension of your church, not only Sunday Services, but ALL its ministries.

OPTIMIZE (WEBSITE)

  • What is SEO?
  • Set your Webpage in Order
  • Content, Content, and Content
  • Encouragement
SEO: Search Engine Optimization: This makes your website easier for search engines to find. Search Engines use “bot” programs that scan your website for content and then try to match your content to people who are searching for you. We use a WordPress Site, and we use the Free Plugin “Rank Math” to help with our SEO. It is time-consuming but going through each page, adding the right Keywords (Keywords are ideas and topics that define what your content is about) is worth it.

First Decide: Is the Webpage for people in the church, or are you reaching others for the Gospel. We think it is for the Gospel, so we recommend a church have a signup page for events/classes and an announcement page.  All the rest (especially the main page) are for people who have not been in your church. Make sure that

  1. All your pages are working.
  2. There are no bad links.
  3. Update your pages regularly.
  4. Fix any errors Google Search Console has found.
  5. Get rid of pages you don’t need.
  6. Make sure every image has an alt label (Attributes title) as Search engines can find your page through its images also.
There are NO TRICKS to increasing your page rank (where you show up on Google). You need to have what people are searching for. The way to do this is by adding new and relevant content. You can’t win me in the opinion wars. The big pages pay to get their information out and we can’t compete with that. Instead, make unique content answering questions like “Where can I baptize my children?” Clearly define what you church is like. Avoid common terms such as healing center or worship center. Avoid church terms. People who have not been to church will not know them. Find what makes you unique.
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

– Proverbs 21:5

This is hard work, but the harvest is ready. God is looking for the laborers.

GET READY TO BROADCAST

  • Studio and Software
  • Church Online Platform
  • Facebook & Youtube
  • Encouragement

The Studio can be your phone or one video camera.  When you start, you do not need multiple cameras or closeups.  You do need quality.  A great service broadcast with poor video quality or poor sound will not retain your current member and certainly not retain new guests.  

Here is a website with some great details.

Church live streaming guide – learn to easily stream live church services

Church Online Platform (CHOP) is the best method to get your church online. It allows interaction with the people. You are NOT looking for numbers; you are looking for engagements, people who interact with your service, not passive watching. Your hosts are very important in creating a worship environment.
Facebook is the easiest way to get online, but don’t stop there. Facebook viewership tends to be older and often will not leave that platform for anything newer. It also has a very limited ability to interact and engage. YouTube is the Google of videos. A YouTube channel that looks great and is organized is a great way to attract new people, better than Facebook and CHOP. Make sure each video your post has all the SEO data filled out with unique Title, Descriptions, Tags, etc. Think about what people are searching for and what makes your videos unique when you fill these fields out.
I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. – Winston Churchill
This is new, this is hard, but it is worth doing.

BROADCAST

  • Broadcasting
  • Live or Recorded
  • Hosts
  • Encouragement

Practice, Practice, Practice, then practice some more. 

  1. Have a backup plan, a video to show if yours doesn’t work. 
  2. Decide: will you delay the in-person service if the online service isn’t ready?
  3. Start with broadcasting an empty church just to test it.
  4. Broadcast sound: work hard to make sure it sounds good.  (DO NOT play artists’ CDs, albums, or original recording.  Facebook and Google will ban you for rebroadcasting copyrighted material.)  You may broadcast you singing the songs, but not the recording artist. 
You can broadcast live as it happens (this usually has a 5-15 second delay). There is a risk that the stream can be interrupted by internet issues or other software issues. You can broadcast a “Simulated Live” broadcast you previously recorded that looks live. The viewer cannot stop it or “rewind.” What you do depends on your confidence with your skills and the system you have.

Here is the best overview of the duties of an online host:  https://arkhuntsville.com/2020/03/chat-host-training/

Going online WILL require MORE people than just broadcasting to Facebook.   These people are important, select them carefully. 

Twenty-five years ago, a pastor had to make the hard choice to give up the single organist and one instrument to upgrade to reach the people with a guitar. Then they needed a drum, then a speaker, then a soundboard, etc. We are at the same tipping point. Don’t be the only church still playing an organ in 2025.

TRACKING

  • Tracking
  • Vanity Metrics
  • Learn, Adapt, Repeat
  • Encouragement

Do you remember Google Analytics? Now is the time to put it to real use!   Complete start to finish Google Analytics

Google Analytics can be your best friend.  The one that always tells you the truth, congratulates you for every win, and provides you a way ahead after each defeat.

Analytics support solid decision making. This is the house built of solid rock that can stand the storm. 

Vanity metrics are things like registered users, downloads, and raw pageviews. They are easily manipulated and do not necessarily correlate to the numbers that really matter. The Biggest Number is the Most Un-Important If you have 1200 impressions and six engagements is that good or bad news? Impressions are the number of times your site shows up in a search. Engagements are the clicks; this is where your growth is.   People who do more than watch are your harvest field “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Always remember, Facebook and Google are advertisers. It is in their best interest to give you numbers, but some are worthless, and some make us feel good.  Dig for the truth instead.

More Information

Knowing the truth is hard. It is easier to live with constant encouragement, but in truth we need the cold hard truth of reality. Expect 100 mistakes and missteps to find the right path, then do it again. Work hard to be unique. Blending into the crowd on the internet is the fastest path to obscurity. This takes time; for every change you make, it will take time to see if it works or fails.
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

– Proverbs 21:5

This is hard work, but the harvest is ready. God is looking for the laborers.

OPTIMIZE

  • Optimize
  • How to Measure a Website
  • Recommended Tools
  • Encouragement

Your website needs to be optimized in a few areas.  None of these is really hard, and even working a little bit will bring great rewards.

Visual:  The page needs to use the same color and branding across all pages.  Does your “Contact Us” page look like your page or somebody else’s.

Speed:  The pages need to load fast.  People, especially on mobile phones, will not wait for an 8 second page load. 

  1. Make sure all your pages are working. 
  2. There are no bad links.
  3. Update your pages regularly.
  4. Fix any errors Google Search Console has found.
  5. Get rid of pages you don’t need. 
  6. Make sure every image has an alt label (Attributes title) so Search engines can find your page through its images also. 

Here is a great website that will analyze your website for common issues:  GT Metrix Speed.  This site has a scoring system (IGNORE IT). The numbers that matter are on the right.  You want your fully loaded time under 8 seconds.

Mobile View:  Google Analytics will tell you what percentage of users are using a phone to view your website.  50% or greater is common.   

This website Responsinator will show you how your webpages look like in various devices, desktop, tablet, iPad, iPhone etc. 

We use the following plugins on our WordPress website: 

  • ElementorPlugin helps to build fast and great looking content
  • WP Rocket:  Cache plugin that helps speed up the website
  • Permatters: Helps speed up the website by stopping extraneous code
  • WordFence:Security Plugin prevents unauthorized access to the website
  • Generate Press Theme:  Fast, safe, powerful, simple to use theme
  • Rank Math SEO:  Great and Free SEO tool
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. Always remember, your website can Always be Better, Faster, Always.

– Proverbs 16:32

ADVERTISE

  • Did they say Advertise?
  • Google Versus Facebook
  • Content, Content, and Content
  • Encouragement

Yes, we said advertising, and we recommend you spend money doing it.   Today, how much of your church budget is spent on outreach?  Advertising is a way of getting the Gospel in front of people searching. 

How much is your evangelism/outreach budget today?  50%, 20%, 1%, non-existent?  

Start with $100 a month, this is enough to learn with.  Once you get some success, reinforce your success.

Google ads work by matching you with what people are searching for.

Facebook works by sharing your ads with people who may have a like interest.

If you want to advertise a Saturday Evening Church Carnival, use Facebook to reach your friends and friends of friends.

If you what to let people know you have a great video about “What is Prayer,” use Google. 

You NEED both.

There are NO TRICKS to increasing your page rank (where you show up on Google).  You need to have what people are searching for. 

 

This cannot be overstated. If you have what people are searching for, Google will send them to you. 

The way to do this is by adding new and relevant content.   You can’t win me in the opinion wars. The big pages pay to get their information out, we can’t compete with that. 

Instead, make content that is unique, that answer questions like “Where can I baptize my children?”  Clearly define what your church is like.  Avoid common terms like healing center or worship center.  Avoid church terms. People who have not been to church will not know them.  Find what makes you unique. 

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

– Matthew 5:15

If you have the answer, shout it from the rooftops.

ONLINE CAMPUS

  • Online Chuch is not an Extra
  • One church, not two churches
  • Engagement, Engagement, Engagement
  • Encouragement

One church, one message.  You may argue whether Online church is the church. It is, in fact, Church for many people.  There is not a method to preach the Gospel that can reach more people, faster.

People who had thought about coming to your church, used to look at your website to “check you out.”  Today, they will watch a service, not just a video, and want to interact.  

Some of them end up coming to church, some stay online, and some do both.

Many committed church members no longer attend services every week.  Some two weeks a month, some less.  Now, they visit in person the same, but in these “off” weeks they attend online.

Try to change your mental model of church.  Don’t try to broadcast your in-person service to the web.  It won’t work.  People want to participate, not watch.  Change things, events in your in-person service, so that the online service also looks awesome.  The people in-person will not see any change, and the people online will stay as viewers. 

Talk to the people online as well as those in person.  If you take up an offering in person, have a button come up “AT THE SAME TIME” that allow online viewers to give. 

Have ONE SERVICE, make changes to both. 

You do not want viewers who watch and do not engage.  You want the service to be something that draws the viewer to become a participant.  

This is called engagement.  It measures clicks, likes, shares, gives, claps, anything that can show a person is interacting with your church. 

This measure will increase and decrease, and when it does ask the question, WHY?

When God Closes a Church Door, He Opens a Browser Window

– Kate Shellnutt

Read More

ADDENDUM GOOGLE ADVERTISING

  • Is it Advertises, when you are presenting the Gospel for Free
  • Google Non-Profit Grants
  • How to use Google
  • Encouragement

One church, one message.  You may argue whether Online church is the church. It is, in fact, Church for many people.  There is not a method to preach the Gospel that can reach more people, faster.

People who had thought about coming to your church, used to look at your website to “check you out.”  Today, they will watch a service, not just a video, and want to interact.  

Some of them end up coming to church, some stay online, and some do both.

Many committed church members no longer attend services every week.  Some two weeks a month, some less.  Now, they visit in person the same, but in these “off” weeks they attend online.

Try to change your mental model of church.  Don’t try to broadcast your in-person service to the web.  It won’t work.  People want to participate, not watch.  Change things, events in your in-person service, so that the online service also looks awesome.  The people in-person will not see any change, and the people online will stay as viewers. 

Talk to the people online as well as those in person.  If you take up an offering in person, have a button come up “AT THE SAME TIME” that allow online viewers to give. 

Have ONE SERVICE, make changes to both. 

You do not want viewers who watch and do not engage.  You want the service to be something that draws the viewer to become a participant.  

This is called engagement.  It measures clicks, likes, shares, gives, claps, anything that can show a person is interacting with your church. 

This measure will increase and decrease, and when it does ask the question, WHY?

work, but the harvest is ready, God is looking for the laborers.
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