When I was growing up, some of my favorite stories were the tall tales of the old West. Whenever I think about Pecos Bill wrestling a tornado, or Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox forming the Grand Canyon, it just brings a smile to my face. But I know those are tall tales and not true stories. In contrast, whenever I see “Under Construction” on a church website, I never know if it is a tall tale or a true story.
Over the years, Church Plant Media has had the opportunity to build websites for hundreds of churches, spanning 5 continents and 20 time zones. So we know church websites and we understand human behavior. Some pastors have good intentions when they are planning out their content, but not a whole lot of time. Every once in a while we will see a pastor post “Under Construction” on a page, with the hope that one day they will get back to it. Although his intentions might be good, something isn’t always better than nothing.
We would actually suggest that it is far better to say nothing at all, then to say something that is not entirely true. Even if their is a good intention to build the content some day, we believe it is better to have only 2 pages of complete content, then to say “Under Construction” on 10 pages. Posting those two words may seem harmless, but they represent a promise. Not fulfilling a promise, no matter how small, opens the door for disrespect. James, the half-brother of Jesus made this clear…
But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. (James 5:12)
To say this differently, a pastor would never step into the pulpit Sunday after Sunday and only say “this sermon is still under construction” and then sit down. If he did, he would not have his job for long. In the same way, it is never a good idea to write the promise “Under Construction” anywhere on the church website. View your site as an online pulpit and then write your content accordingly.
A good habit to get into is always to under-promise and over-deliver. You don’t need to tell the world what your plans are until you are sure they will be fulfilled in a short amount of time. Whether you are building your website online or planning for a future building project in your neighborhood, only say “Under Construction” if you plan to follow through.
We think the only promise you should actively share on your church website is the promise of the gospel. At Church Plant Media we love the gospel. It is one of the reasons why we have a Gospel Agreement that all of our partner churches are required to sign. It’s the best way we know how to ensure that everyone on our system loves the gospel as much as we do.