Digital Footprint Initiative

The Digital Footprint Initiative (DFI) was developed by the Michigan District to improve a ministry’s visibility on the web.  It is rooted in the research that shows that about 85% of first-time guests choose a church to visit based on a visit to the website. Many congregations in the District have websites that are not engaging to visitors because they are outdated or were not developed with a communications strategy and modern design aesthetic.  An assessment of congregations revealed a number of contributing factors including:

  • A lack of skilled volunteers;
  • A lack of willing and trained volunteers;
  • A lack of ownership for the task among the staff and leadership;
  • Poorly written or non-existent content;
  • Insufficient funds for improvements;
  • Conflicting design philosophies, and
  • Conflicting goals for the web presence.

The DFI was developed to address many of the challenges identified above.  The web presence portion of the DFI includes:

  1. A free audit of your existing website
  2. Technical assistance in the backend maintenance of the congregation’s domain (Web Address).
  3. A choice of three template versions which are provided freely to the congregation. A template controls the overall look and functionality of the site.  A professionally developed web-template ensures that the site meets today’s design aesthetic and is functional.  The templates are responsive, adjusting for mobile viewing and desktop viewing.

    The sample sites can be viewed at:
  1. Free access to a server to host the website.
  2. Post-it and forget it option. For congregations with insufficient manpower, one of the templates requires only annual updates.  A second template requires limited updating, about four times a year.
  3. A design team to assist your congregation in gathering the photos and content needed to customize the template to the congregation’s culture.
  4. If desired, we can provide training for individuals in the congregation to form a communications team, providing content and support for the ongoing work of developing a web and social media presence.

If you are interested in learning more, contact Todd Jones or, to sign up, complete the online application found here >.

Once a congregation has been accepted into the program:

  1. The contact person will receive a worksheet to customize the content of the sample site to reflect the congregation’s culture.
  2. A photographer will schedule a photoshoot appointment. The photoshoot will take about three hours.  You will get more information about the photoshoot schedule in the next steps packet.
  3. A test site will be crafted with the congregation’s content and the design template.
  4. If desired, a local contact will be trained in the use of WordPress and the templating tools.