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How Websites Communicate Congregational Values

Websites "speak" beyond the words they use

I spent the better part of two years looking at congregational websites as I wrote my doctoral dissertation in the field of communication studies. One of the things I noticed was the strategic use of links by congregations to communicate their values.

Almost every church wants to express a warm welcome to potential visitors. Some use: "Welcome!" or "Christ Church extends a warm welcome" or "Join us for worship."

Other church websites provide links specifically for newcomers: "New to Christ Church? Click here." Or "Information for Visitors." Sometimes the link for newcomers is placed on a menu, but often the link is set apart with large type or a graphic. Sometimes the page for visitors is structured in a question-and-answer format with questions about location of the church, what to wear, what to expect during a typical worship service, and so on. Sometimes the link takes the viewer to a letter (or video) from the minister expressing welcome and giving basic information about the church. ...

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