Using the Internet

[excerpt from The Pastoral Search Journey: A Guide to Finding Your Next Pastor]

Almost everyone by now has heard of and used the Internet—typically referred to as “the Web.” In fact, most of us cannot fathom how we managed before the Web. One of the most important things to remember about the Web is that people want information—that’s what they search for. To understand how committees can use the Web, think first about the members of your church and what they want to know about the pastoral search process. They want to know that someone in leadership is concerned about the pastor’s departure and the congregation’s search for a new pastor. They want to know how long it will take, how the search will be conducted, who can answer questions, how members will get updates and how often, who will lead worship and teach, how the time between pastors will affect parishioners and the ministries of the church, and more. Second, think about the pastors with whom you come in contact during the search process—or those who find your website through a search engine or word of mouth. What do they want? They are looking for information about your church—its size, worship style, ministries, staffing and organization, beliefs, vision, and more. This chapter details how the search committee can use the power of the Web to give people the information they are looking for.

Your Church’s Website

Many churches today have websites that extend their presence to a new arena called cyberspace that has worldwide reach. Some sites are simple, and others are complex. If your church has a website, it can be used to your advantage in your search.

Marketing Your Church on the Web

The key to marketing your church and its search process on the Web is making information available through a multitude of websites and forums. You want to create buzz. This can be accomplished in many ways.

Finding Candidates on the Web

Don’t forget about advertising on the Web and using it to find pastors seeking a new pastorate. Put an advertisement on your home page and link to another page for more information. The advantage of using a Web-based ad is that you can include links to other pages on your website with audio and video, as well as a contact form.

Using the Web to Communicate

The Web has made communication between people and organizations easier and faster. E-mails between individuals and groups, online chats, personal and company websites, blogs, and other forms of social media are all designed to help people connect with others.