Pastor as Web Designer

I confess that I have a problem.

You see, I will be in some meeting of some group that I am working with. In the midst of our planning will arise some mention of the organization’s web site. Folks will start talking about the unreal amount of money they are spending for their site (usually in the same conversation where they are struggling over how to pay staff salaries) and the next thing I know I find myself opening my mouth to start talking about how easy it is to put together relatively cheap websites that aren’t groundbreaking but get the job done in a clean and professional manner. As you might imagine, the next thing I know I’ve suddenly agreed to put together a site for the group, and find myself locked behind a computer trying to figure out how to do what I want and tweaking CSS on the fly to get something up on the web. As of today, there are three different organizational sites that I’m managing, not including my own blog, the MethoBlog, and any other number of side projects and microblogs. Luckily for me, moving to a new church this past July took another off my plate since I have a very competent web master.

I know I need to keep my mouth shut, but frankly I can’t bear to see organizations that are strapped for cash throwing dollars on a web designed who is more likely than not going to build the site in WordPress or Drupal and modify stock templates. I don’t begrudge a good designer all they bring to the table, but for most of the non-profit and church groups I work with, having a sexy design is less important than having something up that’s clean and allows for easy updating of information.

Yes, I spend too much time on this stuff — time that could be spent on sermon preparation and curriculum development, but being a man with some technical capabilities, I find myself being the designer of record as a means of offering my gifts to the Body of Christ.

Funny, I don’t remember the concern with knowing HTML in the Book of Discipline’s description of the duties of a pastor….

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