Top 10 Worst Church Websites Ever

by · April 28, 2010

Before we do this let me just say that I’m not out to hurt feelings, mock, scoff or say that the ministries of these churches are in any way lacking.  But, there is a sense of awe and wonder when you come across someone’s digital front door and ask, “Why?”  Let’s get right to it:

  1. Trinity Episcopal Church
  2. Oasis Family Church – These guys have updated their website and is no longer considered one of the worst.
  3. Family Worship Center
  4. Mountain View Presbyterian
  5. Covington Presbyterian
  6. Christ Presbyterian
  7. His Word of Truth Ministries, Inc.
  8. Big Creek Community Church
  9. First Baptist Church
  10. ALM Cyberchurch (it was only a matter of time really)
  11. Dokimos

And just for good measure, use this handy tool to Geocitiesize your own church website and make it look like it was designed by a 13-year old in 1994.

What can churches do about it? Small budgets don’t = bad websites anymore especially with cheap templates and a free copy of WordPress.  For many the church website is the first interaction with your church or your church community.  How are you representing yourself?  Is your content fresh, simple, updated, concise and inviting? Are you considering usability and design flow? Are you providing tools, media & information that is organized, easy-to-find and logical?

I’m sure there are plenty of other bad bad bad church sites out there – why not share what you’ve seen below?

  • nickasolas

    So, when do we get to vote on these? Can we offer the winner a free website resdesign? :)

  • http://ClaytonBellOnline.com Clayton Bell

    Ok, you're not even pointing out the WORST thing! One of the churches, Big Creek Church, lost their pastor and had a memorial service for him. Here's how it was described on the site: “The memorial for Pastor John was very nice despite the hot weather. There were around 400 guests.”

    REALLY?!?!

  • Tony

    Running the risk that I will appear uninformed or ignorant; what's so bad about them?

  • Dave

    This church might have the most beautiful cathedrals in the city. Unfortunately the same can't be said about their website: http://www.sacredheartpeoria.com/

  • GinaMarie

    I was thinking the very same thing! And after you read about the memorial, there's a nice line about currently accepting applications for a new pastor. Come on now, there's gotta be a more tactful way!

  • http://www.boyton.com.au Murray

    What was the criteria for determining the bad website… have you also compiled a list of good church websites? I do understand that the tag is also humour…

  • http://www.shrinkthechurch.com SHRINK the church

    Hey Murray,

    This post was tagged humor because it is a satirical look at church web design, not a comprehensive one. It is meant to generate discussion and get a few laughs.

    We are working on a list of great church websites. Do you have any you would like to contribute?

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Eric

    http://www.oasisfamilychurchaz.com/

    It looks like oasis has re-designed because i can see nothing wrong with it?

  • http://twitter.com/brianckaufman Brian Kaufman

    You're right. Thanks for the update, I made a change to the post.

  • Adam Young

    How can you forget this church website? I almost had a seizure the first time I went to their website:

    http://www.evangelcathedral.net/

  • http://twitter.com/brianckaufman Brian Kaufman

    Wow, yes, I'm familiar with this site and the company that designed it. I don't really understand all the animation, guitar solos and crazy blends of style, but, I also don't think it's one of the worst sites designed. I do think it's just plain wrong though! Thanks for the comment & link.

  • http://www.timdan.com Tim Allen

    I dunno, Brian… I think that might be one of the worst sites designed! :-P

  • http://www.timdan.com Tim Allen

    I would be interested to know if the traffic to their site from this article prompted the redesign.

  • Adam Young

    Well, I guess it depends on where you're coming from. Maybe there should be two categories: crappy websites that look like they were made in the mid '90's, and crappy websites that are geared to keep ADD or ADHD people happ…hey, let's go ride our bikes!

    BTW, nice interview with churchmarketingsucks.com – I thought your takeaways from the Grand Opening of Mission Community Church were very helpful!

  • Ethan K

    http://www.harperchurch.org
    ive been trying to redesign their site for years because i am a professional graphic designer but for some reason they think their site is great as it is!

  • Crystal

    A really great resource for this is WIX.com. It is a website creator for flash. You can use a template or start fresh with your own ideas. There are some limits to it's usage, but overall it is a great tool and anything beats a website full of rainbow effects and crappy clipart files. :)

    P.S. It is free if you dont mind wix only ads, but you can pay around 100 bucks and have them removed. Not bad.

  • http://www.mohan37.com/ mohan37

    dude… http://www.mounthopedewitt.org . Flash trainwreck.

  • Micah

    I disagree. While the others on the list are bad and amateurish (or just never progressed past early html) Evangel Cathedral’s is just seizure inducing awful. Everything from the unnecessary intro to the crazy background music (who forces music on a website anymore?) to the insane barrage of flashing/moving/spinning graphics and text… Even if you get past that the lag time on the links is way too high. The entire thing is flash and won’t have a hope of working on many mobile devices.

    Yes, it doesn’t look like it was made for geocities and that’s part of why it has to be the worst website. People making this should have known better.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jewelsandme Matt Rothacher

    Looks like #3 Family Worship Center upgraded… but hey after you made the worst church website list I would hope you would. Just glad our churches didnt make it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5LBVT7VYGN6GW4PYB64472435M dswisher

    Let’s start with #1: Trinity Episcopal Church (Woodbridge, NJ)
    Where do I begin? For starters, the header graphic is dizzyingly blurry and the background repeating graphic is just annoying and distracting.

    The calendar content framed section
    is a nice attempt, but it doesn’t function well – and uses terms that
    most website visitors won’t be familiar with: Holy Eucharist, Gamblers
    Anon, etc.

    Prominent on the page is an image of the Episcopal Church’s logo that is so low-resolution
    that it looks like it was run on a dot matrix computer, and it has a
    white bounding box that just glares “we don’t know what we’re doing.”
    Worse, it has quite a few nice looking ads for ministries completely
    unrelated to the church (presumeably how they fund their “free” website)
    and these all look significantly better than the church’s own
    offerings.

    Is the average website visitor going to know (or care
    about) whether they’re a part of the “world-wide Anglican Communion” or
    what diocese or parish they’re a
    part of? This does matter, but why put this front and center on the
    homepage as the only meaningful content? Better to have a link that
    says, “About our Church” and on that page give a text description of its
    affiliations and connections.

    The News and Events page, like the other information links, just stacks one piece of information on another, making it extremely lengthy and wordy and difficult to
    navigate (scroll, scroll, scroll), and most of the links and
    news/events mentioned use full text names but nothing of practical
    value – for example, what is a “Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper” and what
    is the “Trinity Parish Herald” (is that the newsletter? if so, why not
    just say, “download our newsletter”)

    The “Tour of Windows”
    is an interesting feature revealing the character of the building and
    its congregation, but once there, the image links are broken.

    The
    message I get from this website is “We have 300 years of tradition in
    an historic (translate: ‘old’) building, care very much about our
    Anglican and diocesan connections (but have no clue what I need and no
    interest in serving it). We know we’re supposed to have a website, but
    we have no clue why or how to do it.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5LBVT7VYGN6GW4PYB64472435M dswisher

    Let’s start with #1: Trinity Episcopal Church (Woodbridge, NJ)
    Where do I begin? For starters, the header graphic is dizzyingly blurry and the background repeating graphic is just annoying and distracting.

    The calendar content framed section
    is a nice attempt, but it doesn’t function well – and uses terms that
    most website visitors won’t be familiar with: Holy Eucharist, Gamblers
    Anon, etc.

    Prominent on the page is an image of the Episcopal Church’s logo that is so low-resolution
    that it looks like it was run on a dot matrix computer, and it has a
    white bounding box that just glares “we don’t know what we’re doing.”
    Worse, it has quite a few nice looking ads for ministries completely
    unrelated to the church (presumeably how they fund their “free” website)
    and these all look significantly better than the church’s own
    offerings.

    Is the average website visitor going to know (or care
    about) whether they’re a part of the “world-wide Anglican Communion” or
    what diocese or parish they’re a
    part of? This does matter, but why put this front and center on the
    homepage as the only meaningful content? Better to have a link that
    says, “About our Church” and on that page give a text description of its
    affiliations and connections.

    The News and Events page, like the other information links, just stacks one piece of information on another, making it extremely lengthy and wordy and difficult to
    navigate (scroll, scroll, scroll), and most of the links and
    news/events mentioned use full text names but nothing of practical
    value – for example, what is a “Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper” and what
    is the “Trinity Parish Herald” (is that the newsletter? if so, why not
    just say, “download our newsletter”)

    The “Tour of Windows”
    is an interesting feature revealing the character of the building and
    its congregation, but once there, the image links are broken.

    The
    message I get from this website is “We have 300 years of tradition in
    an historic (translate: ‘old’) building, care very much about our
    Anglican and diocesan connections (but have no clue what I need and no
    interest in serving it). We know we’re supposed to have a website, but
    we have no clue why or how to do it.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5LBVT7VYGN6GW4PYB64472435M dswisher

    Let’s start with #1: Trinity Episcopal Church (Woodbridge, NJ)
    Where do I begin? For starters, the header graphic is dizzyingly blurry and the background repeating graphic is just annoying and distracting.

    The calendar content framed section
    is a nice attempt, but it doesn’t function well – and uses terms that
    most website visitors won’t be familiar with: Holy Eucharist, Gamblers
    Anon, etc.

    Prominent on the page is an image of the Episcopal Church’s logo that is so low-resolution
    that it looks like it was run on a dot matrix computer, and it has a
    white bounding box that just glares “we don’t know what we’re doing.”
    Worse, it has quite a few nice looking ads for ministries completely
    unrelated to the church (presumeably how they fund their “free” website)
    and these all look significantly better than the church’s own
    offerings.

    Is the average website visitor going to know (or care
    about) whether they’re a part of the “world-wide Anglican Communion” or
    what diocese or parish they’re a
    part of? This does matter, but why put this front and center on the
    homepage as the only meaningful content? Better to have a link that
    says, “About our Church” and on that page give a text description of its
    affiliations and connections.

    The News and Events page, like the other information links, just stacks one piece of information on another, making it extremely lengthy and wordy and difficult to
    navigate (scroll, scroll, scroll), and most of the links and
    news/events mentioned use full text names but nothing of practical
    value – for example, what is a “Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper” and what
    is the “Trinity Parish Herald” (is that the newsletter? if so, why not
    just say, “download our newsletter”)

    The “Tour of Windows”
    is an interesting feature revealing the character of the building and
    its congregation, but once there, the image links are broken.

    The
    message I get from this website is “We have 300 years of tradition in
    an historic (translate: ‘old’) building, care very much about our
    Anglican and diocesan connections (but have no clue what I need and no
    interest in serving it). We know we’re supposed to have a website, but
    we have no clue why or how to do it.”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/BMDBTFTUQTVNIHAAIPRHTXPEKE Laura

    Check the job the poor Administrative Assistant has to do…http://lifeatvictory.com/employment/

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruben.vizcarrondo Carlos Ruben Vizcarrondo

    wow that is sad! I would like to invite you to check the website for my church http://www.iddpmipalmbay.org (I know it is in spanish). Can you comment on our design and overall appearance? I know it might be a little bit hard to comment on content due to language barrier, but, go ahead, I want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly!

  • http://twitter.com/39Blogger Ryan Scott

    Hey!  I was a 13 year old in 94 building websites!  I’m offended! lol

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