Have you ever used a local service online rating app on iOS or Android like Yelp, Google Local or Foursquare and did an action based on these reviews? Some people might be going to a new restaurant because of all of the great reviews. Others may avoid a hotel because of the low online rating. If you are really ambitious and trusting, you might even go to a specific doctor or get a lawyer based on reviews from strangers.
The problems that has risen is when you pay a company to write good reviews or negatively review competition unfairly.
In California, this is now illegal.
You can go read the whole story on the New York Times about this issue and why it has merit.
The question is,
What does this have to do with the church?
Can The Church Give Online Ratings?
One of the best options not being utilized by churches is the idea of getting on Google Local and other geolocation social media networks. Think about it, you move to a new community and want to go to church. You do not know anyone in the area outside of your job and need to find your options so you Google search it or go on Facebook or Foursquare to find what is available. If you have a low rating, you might be hurt with finding new visitors.
How easy would it be to ask your congregation from the pulpit to go give your church a five star rating?
Is it manipulative?
While I do not think a pastor asking for five stars is illegal, it can definitely be seen as unethical because you are seen as a spiritual leader.
So how do we promote the church well and not do it unethically or illegally?
How The Church Should Use Online Ratings
We have some ideas on how the church can use these geolocation services well:
- Post signs in hallways or the bulletin from the church in general asking people to give a rating.
- Explain the process in a blog article why it is important for the church.
- Ask all volunteers during training to go right in the meeting to rate the church.
- Never ask for a 5-star rating, but their honest feedback.
- Be okay with anonymity, look for frequent, quality posts regardless of the rating or ownership of the comments.
- Do not bash other ministries. Jesus would rebuke, but did not shame.
- If you do not like your own rating, improve your services, but know that even Jesus was not very well liked and that might be the end result. Be faithful, first and foremost.
Is this something your church is already doing?
How do you go for more reviews?