In the meantime, we will resume publishing with semi-regularity, beginning later today with the first installment of an analysis project proposed by Intrepid Lutherans in September 2013, in our post Church Growth Project. A brief description excerpted from that post is as follows:
- That the CG movement has made inroads in the WELS there can be no denying. Sadly, the emphasis on buildings and programs and methodologies has become so prevalent, that it is increasingly difficult to recognize the Scriptural purpose of the church in many congregations in the WELS. This can be observed by simply looking at the home page of some WELS church websites. The prominence of CG methodology on these websites can be a good indicator of CG practices within the local church itself.
The home page of any church website gives a unique view into the purpose and mission of a church. The website home page does, and must, speak for itself. It is a unique opportunity to provide a message for visitors to the website who might never consider walking into the physical church building or calling on the telephone to inquire about services. What message will the website visitor find on a church’s home page?
With that question before us, a project is being undertaken, and is described in this proposal, to characterize websites of WELS churches to assess the message found on the website home page. The analysis is limited to only the home page of WELS church websites, and the intention is to have the analysis be simple and straightforward and factual.
The home page of a WELS church website will be assessed by looking for clear evidence of the Gospel, the Means of Grace, and confessional Lutheran standards. Specifically, the analysis will look for clear evidence of 1) the Gospel message, 2) God’s Word, 3) the Sacraments, 4) the name “Lutheran”, 5) the Lutheran Confessions and 6) the liturgical service.