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What the Church Should Learn from Google

The title speaks for itself—so here you go.

Make your user interface simple!

There are few user interfaces that are simpler to use than the Google search box. Who would have imagined that the massive scope of the entire Internet could be navigated through that simple box?  In contrast, we (The Church) often seem to create extremely complex interfaces to the same basic, but yet important, content. Now, to be fair, many times that is not intentional but, that’s actually the problem—lack of intention!

Just to clarify, I’m not simply talking about our websites. We make it complex for people to find answers about God or be a part of a church in general. We put so many barriers in front of people and try to simultaneously convey way too much information and give people very little control over what information they receive and how/where they receive it.

I would never use Google if it required me to leave my house and travel to an unfamiliar building on Sunday only once a week, listen to 30 minutes of unrecognizable music, followed by a person talking for 30-40 minutes, and still possibly have to try to find a person who looked “official” just to find “results” for my search. That would be absurd! But, that is a substantially abbreviated version of what so many churches put people through who are searching.

I’m not talking about the content you communicate (though that should be easy to understand/navigate too), but rather the way people access and interact with that content. Is it easy for them to find what they’re looking for? And what about things they don’t even know they should be looking for—is there a simple flow of involvement that leads them there?

Some of you have already simplified the “interface.”  What are some examples of things that need to be simplified in the Church interface?  What are some simplifcations that have worked for you?

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Bobby Gruenewald serves as Innovation Leader for LifeChurch.tv and oversees the LifeChurch.tv Open, Network and United operations, as well as the Communications/Public Relations and Digerati teams. Prior to joining the LifeChurch.tv in 2001, he started and sold two technology companies, consulted with start-ups on venture capital funds, and, in an interesting twist of events, traveled and performed with a Christian rap group.