I’ve been on the road and trying to find places to worship of late. In doing so, I’m noticing several things that I always need on a site. I am listing them below for all the webmasters out there, and for me personally since the website I maintain for the church in which God has placed me doesn’t always contain them.
What is your communion schedule?
I treasure the eucharist and dearly wish to commune with congregations in my synod and synods in its fellowship when on the road. However, I also don’t want to put the pastor in a position where he communes someone he doesn’t know. As such, I would like to know if I need to arrive early in order to introduce myself. Ideally, every church would offer the sacrament every Sunday. Until the blessed day where I can count on this, please list your schedule and make certain that it is updated if you switch it around for a month.
Who is your pastor?
I really could use the name of your pastor or pastors so I know who to contact. I could also use a picture of your pastor to make it easier to identify him. Going to a new congregation is an intimidating experience, so it helps.
Is the site actually up to date?
A recent site at which I was looking had a calendar from March (it is July), the most recent sermon was March 10, and the announcements section was from March 10. At this point I’m going to hope that the 9:30 a.m. worship time is still accurate and you haven’t switched to a summer schedule without telling me. If you have a summer schedule and aren’t likely to be modifying the site every week, please indicate that on the site and list both schedules and the date on which it changes.
A statement of why you exist.
I want to be able to rule out the churches that are tinkering with the liturgy. I wish that I could simply assume that every church was solidly biblical, holding fast to the faith passed down from our fathers. However, this is not the case. Having a statement of purpose will solidify my decision to attend. If I see words like “Confessional”, “Book of Concord”, “Sacrament”, “Baptism”, and “Doctrine”, I will conclude that you actually believe the doctrine to which you officially subscribe. It is remarkably easy to tell if a congregation is tinkering with historic Christian worship and doctrine from a statement of faith.
I go to worship to receive God’s gifts. I don’t go to worship to get a weekly buzz, to feel awesome about God, or even to be told 10 ways to be a better Christian. I can get all of that from a CD or radio program. I can even get the preached Word, properly dividing law and gospel on a podcast. I go to worship to receive God’s gifts which I can obtain nowhere else: holy absolution; the very body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in, with, and under the bread and wine; and proclaim God’s work and Word in community with other believers, e.g. praise.