*Sigh* Quality Control (lacking) in the Church

It’s so sad. Churches struggle and complain, and wonder why members are apathetic. But then you look at their LACK OF QUALITY CONTROL …and it’s no wonder people are half-hearted in some churches.

  • Dirty buildings
  • Poor signage
  • Typos galore in the worship bulletin
  • Fumbling scripture readers
  • mediocre sermons
  • etc

And crappy websites –some of which attempt to look good, …and may even be “new & improved” –but have navigational ‘fails’ and serious design patheticism that you wonder if anyone cares.

What prompts this rant?
Last night I spent some time updating a list of LINKS to church websites we’ve been maintaining over at www.rotation.org. The links were to some church websites that HAD really great photos of Sunday School rooms.  Half of the links had gone ‘dead’.  Lots of “Page Not Found” messages.

But rather than just delete the link to (your?) their website, I sleuthed around their church sites trying to find out where the great photos had gone to. And in many cases, the answer was “no where.” Their exciting photos of their Sunday School had disappeared.   (And I remind you…. these were terrific photos we had been linking to!  Why would they ditch them?)  I was amazed, -in a bad way.  (Worse, as I looked around these church sites looking for the photos, about half of the sites were so BAD that I felt embarrassed for the congregation.)

Quite a few of the “dead links to great photos” were due to the church “updating” it’s website.  But ALMOST ALL of these  “new and improved” sites  WERE NOT.    I look at some church websites and think, “they’d be better to take this down than show their members and the world that they don’t have a clue about quality.”

One of my recent pet peeves about church websites was illustrated in one of the “dead link sites” I was exploring. It  had fancy navigational slide-out menus that make navigation a tedious experience. For example…

Navigational Nightmare (and an ugly site to boot)

I was trying to find their Sunday School photos to re-link to them. Good thing for them I wasn’t trying to quickly find out if this was the church I wanted to bring my children to!  (Those are my arrows and “ARRGG” by the way.)

I DID see while sleuthing out these deadlinks some fancy attempts at gussy-ing up the church website. But in the process they had created some new problems, such as:

  • Horrible navigational schemes.
  • Tiny text drop-down/rollover menus. (Do they reallythink we all have 20 year old eyesite?)
  • Boring text describing the Sunday School program with no photos, or a severely reduced number of photos.
  • And LOTS of ugly. Lots.   Why are so many church websites “color challenged”? It would be funny if it weren’t so sad and easy to fix.

Quality Control can begin with what we see.

So please go to your church’s website and look at your photos, graphics and navigation. If it’s not good, take it down or change it, or complain to whoever is in charge.

And while we’re at it, apply the same logic to everything else people “see” at your church.

Walk around your building like a visitor would. Does the place look clean?  inviting?

What do weeds and cigarette butts in the front garden say to people? Say to God?

Are your scripture readers fumbling?   Is your sound system embarrassing?   Is your music tired and poor? (fyi…Not talking about “going Vegas” here,  just saying that many churches would be well served if they set their bar just a bit higher on the Worship standards.)

Does your worship bulletin signal “quality” or “lack of care” ?

Does your nursery look like a place YOU would want to spend an hour –on the floor?

Is your church entrance weedy?  Is the church sign peeling? Does it look like the church gardner died?  Do your buidling smell?

I could go on, but you get the idea…  Appearance matters, –and not just for the sake of appearances, but for what it says to others (and to God) about us, -our message, and our level of care and commitment.  These “small” things MATTER.

My authority on this matter is Matthew 25:23 —

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  Because you have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

And it’s not just about God putting us in charge. It’s about members giving to those in charge, –giving their treasure, their loyalty, their time, and being willing to share themselves with you and each other.  “Pearls before swine” is another Jesus saying that applies here.

[On a personal note: I’m in the process of doing this ‘walk around’ at the church where I worship. I’ve been asking other members “why/who/when are we going to do x, y and z.”  I’m trying not to be a complainer, but I do believe standards are important, –mostly because they are OFTEN an indicator of spiritual health and commitment. So I’m looking for others who share my “point of view” on the things we can view. AND importantly, I’m willing to help organize and roll up my sleeves, ….and open my wallet, to improve what we agree needs paid attention to.

What I’m not willing to do is bang my head against a wall about the obvious stuff. It’s a little theory If the congregation wants me to be serious about my involvement, they have to be serious about the BASICS of being a healthy congregation, –and an important SIGN for that kind of healthy congregation is basic quality control. ]

Phew! I feel better.

Now let’s get to work.

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2 Responses to *Sigh* Quality Control (lacking) in the Church

  1. Paul Simkins says:

    I think you are dead-on, Neil! This is something I have harped about around our church (and previous churches) and some just don’t seem to get it. I think that no matter how loving, caring, and enriching your congregation may be, if you don’t give the outward appearance of a quality organization you will have trouble attracting and keeping people.

  2. Neil says:

    Thanks Paul. I know from my own life that it can be easy to overlook and just accept “the way things are.” And I’ve never met a church that didn’t need SOME improvement. But so many seem oblivious to how others perceive them. So keep harping! …and keep working with them.

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