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While they don't have to be exhaustive, there are a few items to consider including in each church staff member's bio. (Pexels)

When we talk with first-time guests about church websites, many of them share their surprise that the website fails to include bios or any information other than a name for the church staff.

I have to admit, I'm surprised when I see this happen as well.

Staff bios help guests—and church members—relate better to those who are charged with the spiritual care of a congregation. While they don't have to be exhaustive, there are a few items to consider including in each church staff member's bio.

1. A current, professional photo of the staff member. The number of church staff pages that just list names and nothing else puzzles me. Photos help people identify with the church. Having a current, professional photo for each staff member communicates that a church cares about details and doing things well.

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2. Information about what their job entails. With the growing number of unorthodox job titles in churches, there is often confusion over what area of ministry a staff member relates to. For example, a "creative arts director" could work with the worship ministry, the media ministry, the communications team or all three. Provide clarity for each staff member so that someone can easily identify to whom they can direct questions or ideas.

3. How long they've been at the church. It's not an essential item, but it is helpful. Knowing how long a staff person has been at a church provides context to visitors and members. There is a catch with this approach though. If you say "Joe has been on staff for 12 years," then you have to update it every year. Try a format like: "Joe joined the staff as student minister in 2005" instead.

4. Social media profiles. I understand that many people still do not have social media profiles or want them shared. But consider providing at least some social media connection, if at all possible. Each staff member could pick the one social media platform they prefer and use it. Or you could list all available platforms. The specifics don't matter as long as there's at least some way to connect with the staff other than email.

5. An email address. Other than a picture, this might be the most important part of a staff bio. Contacting a church staff member should be as easy as possible. And email is the best way to allow for that contact to take place without providing too much personal information.

6. Personal information. If any of these could be considered optional, it would be this one. However, like a picture, personal information (likes, dislikes, alma maters, spouse and kids' names) helps people better relate to the staff. So if it's possible, then include it.

What else does your church include in its staff bios? What would you add to this list?

Jonathan Howe serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources as well as the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

This article originally appeared at thomrainer.com.

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