Churches with Web sites and pastors using e-mail are praising how the electronic media keeps them in touch and enriches congregational life, a recent foundation-funded study discovered. But in a good news–bad news scenario, the authors of a separate survey warn that having a Web site designed chiefly to attract newcomers to the brick-and-mortar site is worse than having no Internet presence at all.
People using computers to scout out a church to attend have distinct expectations for what a web site should be. They “will hold a poor site against a congregation,” says the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. “Having a quality Web site presence is even more crucial for congregations attempting to reach persons under 30 years old.”