What's in this session?

  • Part #1 - Getting To Know Each Other (1:02)
  • Part #2 - Service Times (2:07)
  • Part #3 - Location & Directions (2:14)
  • Part #4 - What Can I Expect? (2:33)
  • Part #5 - What About My Kids? (3:58)
  • Part #6 - Let Us Know You’re Coming (6:06)
  • Part #7 - Testimonial (7:32)

Show notes and resources

  • Plan A Visit Page Framework
  • Part #1 – Getting To Know Each Other (1:02)
  • Part #2 – Service Times (2:07)
  • Part #3 – Location & Directions (2:14)
  • Part #4 – What Can I Expect? (2:33)
  • Part #5 – What About My Kids? (3:58)
  • Part #6 – Let Us Know You’re Coming (6:06)
  • Part #7 – Testimonial (7:32)

Free Bonus: Click here to download The Perfect Church Homepage Infographic – a complete visual breakdown of the essential elements that every church website homepage needs

The Transcript

Alex Mills: Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Nucleus, a new kind of website builder for churches from single click templates to advanced integrations. Nucleus is unlike anything else. Nucleus opens on March 20th. Head to nucleus.church to join the launch list. Why just have a website when you could have a Nucleus?

Hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills. I’m joined, as always, by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. Today we’re talking about the seven part plan a visit church website page framework. It’s a lengthy title. It’s one of the most important pages on your church’s website.

Brady Shearer: It’s essential.

Alex Mills: For those that use Nucleus, we always recommend that churches put this as their featured card, the first card that you see on the Nucleus when you land on it. It’s basically the new visitor information that you need on every church website homepage. We want to give you an exact seven part framework for this. Let’s just dive right in.

The first part is what I like to call the getting to know each other section. Basically here what you want to do is you want to acknowledge a potential new visitor’s apprehension when it comes to attending a church. Attending a church for the first time, especially because church is such an intimate sort of thing, it’s involving faith, it’s involving existential matters like hope, community, purpose, the afterlife, there’s a lot of apprehension and maybe a little anxiety, a little bit of nerves that …

Brady Shearer: You’re probably going to get hugged by a stranger when you walk through the doors.

Alex Mills: Wow, okay, well there’s that too, so it’s very intimate.

Brady Shearer: Yeah.

Alex Mills: What you want to do at the very beginning of your plan of visit page framework is acknowledge this. Basically make sure that this potential new visitor knows that you empathize with their feelings. Here’s some pre-written copy that you can use.

We know meeting someone for the first time can be intimidating and going to a new church for the first time can be nerveracking. We want to help make your first experience at Hope Church a great one. Again, basically just a disclaimer practically that’s saying, “Hey, we recognize that this is a big deal and we know that and we’re going to make your experience a great one.”

Brady Shearer: Awesome, I love that.

Alex Mills: Part two and part three, basically this is just service times, locations and directions. Here you could link directly to your address that would link out to Google Maps so someone can plan their route from their home or their place of living to your church. This is the logistical information that you need to have early in the page so people don’t start scrolling, they already know service times are here. That meet at that part of the city, that part of the region, super simple.

From there, part number four. I call this the what can I expect section. At this point you’ve acknowledged any apprehension. You’ve given the logistical most important information, here’s where we meet, here’s what time, now it’s like, “Okay, what am I going to expect when I attend your church for the first time?” I think it’s important to note that as our culture, especially with millennials and Gen Z, becomes increasingly more unchurched, what you don’t want to do is just assume that people know what church is like.

Maybe a decade ago that would’ve made sense. People know four songs, announcements and the message. Maybe 10 years ago it was eight songs, I don’t know. Now people are like, “What even happens in a church?” You want to actually explicitly break down here’s what’s going to happen. The more detail that you can give the better. Here’s some pre-written copy. In total, a Hope Church service is about 60 minutes in length. Services begin with the Hope Church band leading the church in music. Song lyrics are projected onto the screen so you can sign along and/or engage with worship, however you feel comfortable.

After the music portion of service is complete one of our pastors will come out to share an encouraging and hope-filled message about Jesus.

Brady Shearer: Awesome.

Alex Mills: Some things to note here. I don’t mention worship. I talk about song lyrics because certain Christianese may not have any understanding, any frame of reference, for a potential new visitor. Song lyrics projected onto a screen is a lot more easy to understand and it’s synonymous. It means the same thing but for them it’s clear.

Brady Shearer: Of course.

Alex Mills: From there, part number five, what about my kids?

Brady Shearer: This is a big one.

Alex Mills: Plenty of different frequently asked questions that you can include on your plan of visit page. Something you need to address is parents with children. They’re going to come to a church, maybe their biggest barrier to attending your church is what about my kids? Again, here’s some pre-written copy that you can use.

We believe that kids should have a blast at church every single week. At Hope Kids we make this a priority. The other things we make a priority is your children’s safety. Because of that we have a detailed check and process for our Hope Kids program. The first time that you visit you want to leave yourself an extra 10 minutes to get signed in for the Hope Kids experience. Hope Kids is offered at every Hope Church service for kids ages infant through grade 8, or whatever grade. Obviously you can replace those. Those are place holders, but the point is here, again, logistical information.

You start off by saying, “Hey, your kids are going to have a blast.” Then you get into that safety stuff. This is the type of thing that you need to reassure your parents that are bringing their kids. I know it’s tough to leave your kids with a stranger. Our process is detailed. We are certified. We’ve covered all the basis. Your kids are safe, secure, and they’re going to have a blast.

Brady Shearer: This happened to us at church just a couple of weeks ago. We had a first time visitor. Her and her family came and we don’t have … On our church website we actually don’t have this information that you’re talking about, not as detailed as the copy you just suggested.

She came in, she was a part of our worship service, and then we called the kids to the front and we pray for them and they go up mid service. We sent the kids out. I walked out into the hallway because I was going to do something and I met her in the hallway. She’s like, “So where did my kids just go?” She saw them leave but she’s like, “But where are they now?”

Just like one of those things. You basically can’t give too much information, and especially when it comes to kids being explicitly clear about the stuff on your website when you’re making that first impression if a really important thing to do.

Alex Mills: That’s a perfect example of how easy it is to take for granted your church service structure and flow. When someone comes in without that preexisting understanding it feels so foreign. It’s helpful to kind of reverse engineer. Try to get in the mind of a new visitor. Hopefully this pre-written copy can help with that as well.

Part number six. This is the let us know you’re coming section. You can think of this kind of like a reservation at a restaurant. It puts you on high alert that someone is going to be attending. It’s basically just a forum that says, “Hey, let us know that you’re coming.” Just name, email, and anything that we need to know beforehand.

Another thing this does in your visitor’s mind is it acts as a sort of commitment. It makes it so much more likely that they’re going to follow through with their desire, with their intention to come to your church. If they fill out a form, even if it is just kind of a formality, no pun intended, if they fill that out in their minds they’re like, “Well, I’ve already kind of made a commitment and now I got to go.”

There’s so many things that we can use as excuses too, “It’s just too early. I’m not going to attend this week. You know what? The kids aren’t ready. I’m not going to attend this week.” You get them to fill out a form on this plan a visit page, even if it is just simple, one, lets you know they’re coming, and two, it puts into their mind, “I’ve already made this commitment. Now I need to follow through.”

Brady Shearer: I love this one too because if that form is going to your pastor like myself, or if it’s going to whoever leads your first impressions team, like your greeters at the door, if you’re a smaller church like we are and like most churches are …

Alex Mills: 80%, 250 or less.

Brady Shearer: They could be the only new family that comes or one of a few, so when they come to the door you could say, “Hey, are you Sherry or whatever?” That kind of first time encounter, a wall, a barrier is broken down there and you can greet them with their name and with a smile. It just makes them feel like they are coming home.

Alex Mills: The VIP experience. Final thing that you want to add, part number seven, is the testimonial. What this allows you to do, and I always put this right after the form because similar to pricing on a business page, the second somebody clicks submit on that plan a visit form and they’ve made that commitment, there’s already going to be objections running through their mind, second thoughts, is this the right decision. I come in right away with a testimonial from someone who’s also a new visitor and just say something like, “Man, it was so great attending Hope Church for the first time. I was so welcomed. My family had a blast.”

Really just to put them at ease. We know you might have second thoughts. We might know that you’re feeling hesitant if you haven’t already filled out the form. Here’s some social proof. Don’t take it from us. Take it from someone in this church. It’s an easy way to build rapport and again, if you want to learn more about social proof and really this tactic within communications you can watch episode, listen to episode number 17 of Pro Church Daily. We do a deep dive into this tactic of social proof.

Brady Shearer: For most people who are listening to this episode or watching this on YouTube, and people who are building websites for your church, it’s likely that you haven’t been a first time visitor or an unchurch person in a long time.

Alex Mills: A long time.

Brady Shearer: I’ve grown up in church my whole life and so I know what it’s like. I know the struggle of just trying to regain that perspective, what would this experience be like for someone who doesn’t have a point of reference for this, who doesn’t know what they’re walking into? That’s been super important in our church and very important, like we’ve just talked about, for your website, examining it from that third party perspective of who’s coming to our website. It’s likely a first time visitor, could be an unchurch person. Let’s prioritize our content and even our language, like you said, avoiding Christianese terms that aren’t familiar to unchurch people. Let’s approach it that way so that we can make that great first impression and then welcome them with open arms when they come to church.

Alex Mills: This template, this seven part framework, is one of the page templates in this free giveaway, this free download that we’ve been talking about for the last little while, prochurchtools.com/nucleus is where to get it. All of this copy that you’ve heard me say and maybe you didn’t write it all down, you can copy and paste it directly from there. This is just one of the seven templates within the ultimate church website page template library. Prochurchtools.com/nucleus is where you can download that. It’s free. It’ll give you a visual of basically what we’ve described here and you can copy and paste all of the words word for word, replace the Hope Church with your church’s name and you’re good to go.

Brady Shearer: Thanks for watching today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks for listening to today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. If you haven’t already, head to prochurchtools.com/nucleus to download our ultimate library of church website page templates, pre-written copy, structure the exact way we would do if we had these pages on our websites. Prochurchtools.com/nucleus is the place to download those.

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