- Including a Statement of Faith on your ministry website is vital – online visitors expect to see this information.
- In the experience of the Run to Me Foundation, there is a lack of transparency on many ministry websites regarding what they believe, making it more difficult for believers to follow the Lord’s clear instruction to avoid false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-3, 2 John 9-11, 1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Peter 3:16-17).
- We have also noticed that the Statement of Faith is sometimes buried within ministry websites, which can frustrate online visitors.
- We have come up with key recommendations for your website’s Statement of Faith.
- We also share our recommendations on what to look out for when browsing other ministry websites.
We think Steve Krug has it right when he says the first rule of web usability is “Don’t make me think”.1 Using this reasoning – we’ve developed recommendations for how we think the Statement of Faith should appear on ministry websites:
- Make sure you link directly from your homepage to your Statement of Faith. One click and your online visitors should see your doctrinal values and be able to assess your trustworthiness.
- Use link titles that are obvious e.g. “beliefs”, “our beliefs”, “Statement of Faith” rather than more opaque titles.
- Do not bury your Statement of Faith lower down a webpage. Create a page specifically for this critical information.
- Make sure you give a clear presentation of the gospel that leaves no room for misunderstanding. It might be the first (and possibly only time) your website visitor gets to see the one true gospel.
- Include scripture to affirm your commitment to a Bible-based theology.
The internet is a bit of a minefield when it comes to navigating through ministry websites that identify themselves as Christian. In order to honor the Lord, and keep ourselves from Biblical falsehood, we have developed a checklist of Biblical truths and “red flags” that we use to help us get a first level understanding if another ministry is preaching the one true gospel. Our checklist centers on three main questions that we apply to the ministry’s website:
- Is this ministry Bible-based? (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Timothy 4:1-4, John 14:23-24, John 6:60-69, 2 Peter 1:19-21)
- Is this ministry gospel-centered? (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:46-47, Romans 1:1-6)
- Is this ministry treasuring and exalting Christ? (Colossians 1:28, Philippians 3: 7-10, Philippians 3:12-20, Matthew 6:19-23, 2 Corinthians 4:5, Philippians 1:15-18)
This gives us a general idea of where the ministry is situated on the spiritual map, so to speak. We do acknowledge that in some instances, that how a ministry represents itself online will differ from what it believes and how it operates in real life. We passionately believe the Body of Christ should do all that it can to make itself readily identifiable online.
Contact us to request a copy of our full checklist to help you navigate through other ministry websites safely, or share with us your thoughts and experiences on this serious topic.
1. Horrocks R. 10 usability lessons from Steve Krug’s Don’t make me think. 2009. Full text