Go in Search of A Church By Way of The Web

Across the country, fall is high season for “church shopping,” as people in search of a new faith community to call home set about the task of finding one. But that doesn’t mean they’re showing up, singing hymns, shaking hands and sampling doughnuts at a different church each week.

Instead, observers say, they’re visiting church websites and evaluating congregations — often without having actually met anyone at the church. And that has some church people worried that the practice of faith is getting ever more impersonal — and consequently less powerful — in an age driven by efficiency and impatience.

Church shoppers “used to have to go to the service, sit in the back row and watch,” says Tom Bandy, president of EasumBandy & Associates, a church consultancy. “The website has just replaced that. The color schemes, the formatting, the language, the music — those things powerfully reveal who they (in the church) want to come there and who’s going to be accepted there.”

As tools for reaching potential worshipers, church websites are growing in number and getting more sophisticated…. (continued)

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