Why Your Parish Website Needs a Mission Statement

A Catholic parish is a bustling hive of activity and also a seemingly endless source of information. But a Catholic parish website shouldn't just be loaded with tons of information. That information needs to be organized, filtered, and presented in a way that is intuitive to your users.

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What’s even more important is making decisions as to what information and resources to make available online and what should be kept for face-to-face visits to the rectory. I would say that in order to make these types of decisions you first need to have a parish website mission statement. It doesn’t necessarily have to be published on the website, but it should be at the forefront of the minds of the people maintaining your website. This mission statement will be invaluable in the time and brainpower it will save you in deciding what goes on the site and what doesn’t.

How to Find a Mission Statement

1. What are Your Visitors Looking For?

I would recommend a sit down with your receptionists. They know what people are looking for at the parish, whether they are calling the rectory or coming in and asking questions in the rectory. My own personal experience in speaking with parish receptionists is that most of them are answering the same handful of questions and carrying out the same handful of tasks every day.

These are the top four topics:

It might be different at your parish, so make sure and speak with your receptionists. Take them out for coffee or give them some flowers, they are under-appreciated for the amount of work they do.

2. What is Your Primary Message?

This should be fairly straightforward. Our mission as the Church is to share the faith in Jesus Christ. Evangelization is our mission. Now, your parish might have specific means of accomplishing this mission, but the message remains the same.

“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20

3. How Can You Serve Their Needs & Share Your Message?

Now you know what people are looking for when they come to your parish or visit your parish website. You also know what your primary goal is. So how can you combine these two? That’s the challenge. That’s where you need to sit down and figure out a mission statement. Here is an example:

“The mission of our parish website is to provide people with the answers to the questions that they are asking with charity and truth.”

Now What?

Once your mission statement has been written you will want to use it as reference every time you are thinking about updating your website. Should we upload these 237 photos from the fiesta to our website? Does that serve your mission? Probably not. However, you could scale it back to the top 20 photos and send a thank you to all those who volunteered and provide the amount of money raised. These are the kinds of things the mission statement will help you to decide.

Now I say to you, go therefore and make a mission statement saving time and resources and providing high-quality content to your online visitors.

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