Church Spotlight: Bethany First

Bob Miller, communications pastor at the Bethany First Church of the Nazarene in Bethany, Okla., is constantly being asked how he and his team manage a beautiful church website that reaches his church's more than 2,500 congregants and prospective church members. The answer he gives is LightCMS.

The LightCMS content management system was selected to replace a difficult to manage, custom-built website. Its intuitive ease of use is a major benefit for the non-technical Bethany First Church staff and volunteers who maintain and update the site. And because LightCMS is so easy to use, the church can delegate responsibilities across a broad range of users, helping ensure that content is updated in a timely fashion.

“The ease of use of LightCMS makes my job much easier because I don’t have to worry about behind-the-scenes technical stuff or know HTML coding,” Miller said. “LightCMS makes me look smarter than I really am.”

For most religious organizations, a website is the go-to online resource for parishioners and prospective members and includes a broad range of information on services, ministries, events, volunteer opportunities and more. According to Miller, “the website is the main source of information for anything going on at Bethany First Church. In addition, most people, before they come to us for the first time, visit our website, so it’s very important they receive a great first impression and get a feel for who we are before they walk through our door.”

It appears that the Bethany First Church website is succeeding at delivering a great first impression as they have seen an increase in site traffic, time on site, and page views per session as more people are increasing their Internet usage and continuously coming back. Bethany First wanted to also cater to its more mobile-friendly parishioners who prefer to access information on the go, so they built the site leveraging responsive design capabilities allowing it to adapt to any screen.

Balancing Simplicity and Content

LightCMS’s design flexibility also helps the church present large volumes of information with good balance and navigation. With several hundred pages of content and archived sermons dating back more than six years, a clean, elegant design and on-site search functionality help site users find the information they’re looking for.

By making its website an informational focal point, Bethany First Church has curtailed what had been up to 3,000 mailings a week, saving substantially on printing and postage costs. The church also runs a separate website on LightCMS, www.swazipartners.org, which supports a charitable foundation to help combat AIDS in Swaziland.

“It was difficult to keep our previous website current and I felt we needed more control,” Miller said. “We got that and more with LightCMS.”

To learn more about how Bethany First Church is leveraging LightCMS to engage with and grow its congregation, read the full case study here. You can also take a look at other examples of church and ministry sites powered by LightCMS.

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