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You’ve gotta give before you can get

It’s a idea we’ve all heard before: You’ve gotta give before you can get.  Churches often apply it to tithing, many apply to social networking sites like Twitter, but it also applies in a few other areas.

Think back to the move “Miracle on 34th Street”.  Kris Kringle was directing shoppers to competing stores when Macy’s didn’t have their desired toy in stock.  Management was initially furious, but the result was that customers greatly appreciated that Macy’s was really looking out for them, and become even more devoted to the store.

Here’s a clip from the movie that shows that.  The audio isn’t synced correctly, but you should be able to follow along:


The same is true of ministers.  I’ve attended a handful of churches in the past decade and found a variety of styles from the ministers.  Some were great friends with neighboring churches, some were like mortal enemies.  Here are two quotes from senior ministers at two different churches, upon finding out that a high school student was attending a program at a different church in the area:

A: “That’s great! I hadn’t seem him in church lately and was getting worried. I’m glad to see he’s plugged in somewhere!”

B: “Why are they going over there?  We need to duplicate that program and try to lure them back!”

In the case of the second church, they spent thousands of dollars on a new program to directly compete with another church just a half mile away.  The program died shortly after.

At our church, the Lead Pastor makes it clear that his primary concern is for the well-being of church members; whether or not they attend our church is completely up to them.

Recently, when discussing the upcoming “Baptism Sunday” that was approaching, he showed a clip of a recent baptism at another church in the area.  It was a powerful clip, and it made that other church look very good.  More importantly, it made the church (as a whole) look good.  The clip was a powerful reminder of the importance of baptism, and the fact that it was promoting another church was meaningless.  Even so, many pastors avoid showing this kind of content during their service, for fear that it’ll make people want to attend the other church instead.

Here’s the clip, if you’re curious:


The same holds true to websites.  Some sites are afraid to link out to anyone, for fear of losing that visitor.  In fact, the opposite is true; by withholding valuable resources, visitors will be less likely to return to your site at all!

For example, on Google Earth Blog, virtually every post is a story with a link to another site.  I try to find the best information for the readers of the site, and direct them to it.  By always providing useful information, it’s become a very reputable resource for Google Earth news.  The same is try for sites of every genre; the biggest sites are the ones that freely link to the best resources.

Church Websites

So how does this apply to your church website?  That’s up to you.  The main thing is to simply give your users the best possible information, even if it’s not yours. You can do little things, like linking to the website of an upcoming musical or preaching guest.

You could take it even further and link to other churches in your area.  Oak Haven UMC actually has a page on their site that lists other churches in their community, so you can make an informed decision and choose the church that is best for you.

What are some other ways you could use your church website to give more to your users?

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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