Originally published in the Explorer (July 2013 edition).

By the time you read this article and open the Explorer, all of the blurbs and notices inside will be on the website (www.rrcb.org). This article will also be posted on the website on the Pastor’s Blog.

Last year we debuted a new website that was more functional behind the scenes, but more interactive on the users’ screens. When you visit the site, you are immediately greeted with a slider of images. These images lead you to information about worship services, Wednesday programs, events, announcements, and anything that may be relevant to the church at the time. Even though these items make the “front slider,” the website doesn’t stop there.

Along with information about worship services, the sermons are recorded every week and posted online as well as a PDF of the bulletin. While we always encourage you to come to church, we can make you feel like you’re there from the comfort of your home!

Our website is a good outreach tool. In our society you are a minority if you do not have a website promoting your business or organization. People find out more information online before stepping foot in a place. With that growing mentality, we have to make sure that our website is inviting and informative for people who do not know River Road Church well.

But the website is not exclusively for non-members! I hope to make the information extremely accessible for members so they can find information about the church on their own time in the midst of their busy schedules. We have implemented a lot of online signup forms. We use forms for people to sign up for picnics, register for events, and select devotion texts. For instance, if you get the e-Spire and read it after 5:00, and there is an event that you want to attend, instead of having to wait and remember to call the church in the morning, you have the capability to do it immediately. (Almost every article in the e-Spire will lead you to the website for further information.)

Our website also offers a couple web-only features. The Pastor’s Blog, Glimpses of Faith, and Devotions are all added bonuses. The Pastor’s Blog is updated every Thursday by someone on staff and invited congregation members. The posts can be inspiring, about an event, something going on in the community, or something left up to the ministers’ imaginations. Glimpses of Faith is a creative, writing community where people can share faith stories, symbolic photos, and poetry. Recently Glimpses of Faith published a limited number of booklets of their stories – copies can be found around the church. The devotions are seasonal, daily posts during Advent and Lent that are written by members and staff. Hard copies are printed at the beginning of the seasons, but are not replenished.

I understand there are members of our church who do not have a computer, nor do they have access to one, but I offer to those who are able to come to church during office hour to use a resource available at the church, check out the church’s website, and read some of our online exclusives.