Where is that Unitarian church? Directions, please.

I was going to reply to Unitarian minister and blogger Stephen Lingwood, who recently wrote “Church Planting and Church Renewal: The Way Forward” on his Reignite blog, with a very pushy and American alternative plan. (And shall still do so.)

But in lining up my arguments, I researched where some British Unitarian churches were physically located and discovered that the addresses and directions given on the national and congregation websites very often failed the newcomer test. In other words, the address was adequate if you already knew the church was there, but wasn’t if you were coming over from another neighborhood or village, or were new to the area. (And people who move, at least in the United States, are more likely to look for a new church than those who have been there all along.)

So I’m prescribing the following three solutions (and one action) that I would like for every church welcome publication like pamphlets or websites.

  • Clear directions for the worship location, including cross streets and landmarks. Bonus points for offering a phone number to call before the service.
  • Satnav coordinates — that’s GPS for us Americans — plainly shown. And where to park.
  • Likewise, the location and code for the nearest public transportation stop — or a plain disclaimer that there’s no (Sunday) service nearby. In which case, bonus points for taxicab advice, even if that’s only a goodfaith offering and not a genuine transportation plan.
  • And to act: take ownership of your congregation’s “business” listing on Google. This is only germane to congregations with buildings, but it will help your visitors when they look for you. Be sure to watch this video: it’s less than 2 minutes long. (And mull on the “sister restaurant” reference therein.)

When you’ve done all those, I’ll move to inexpensive online promotion, and The Big Pushy American Plan.

This is a good example of some of the points above; indeed, a congregation (that shall go nameless) meets in this hall.

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 44, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

One thought on “Where is that Unitarian church? Directions, please.

  1. I know the phenomenon you mean. And yes, I think it’s easy to underestimate how difficult it can be to actually find places when you’re not an 8th generation Unitarian (or even when you are).

    As far as SatNav goes, the postcode is generally sufficient – that’s what SatNavs use. (Assuming that the church is not bizarrely tucked away somewhere.)

    Transport stop codes aren’t in general use (they are written on bus stops for example, but people tend not to actually know what they are). But people can actually use the website you link to (www.transportdirect.info) to create custom journey plans.

    I need to look at the google business thing. Didn’t know about that. Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>