The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod needed an online web presence that reflected the organization’s renewed focus on their mission.

With over 2.3 million members in more than 6,000 congregations, serving 89 countries, The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (LCMS) shares its Christian message through mission outreach, education, and other church-wide initiatives such as natural disaster relief, caring for the sick, and educating the future leaders of the Lutheran Faith.

LCMS partnered with Blackbaud Interactive to develop a website strategy that would meet the needs of their current church body, evangelists, supporters, and those seeking to make a deeper connection to their faith and the LCMS. Together we strove to create a personalized experience for website visitors.

User research informs the Information Architecture

We first conducted an on-site design discovery session which included stakeholder interviews, a website goal S.W.O.T analysis, and an audience task analysis. Further audience research was gathered through:

  • surveying and interviewing constituents
  • usability testing
  • analyzing site statistics
  • creating target audience personas

Our analysis revealed that the new site needed to provide several different kinds of content to meet the varied interests of the LCMS audience. It was decided that the primary conversion paths — events, connect and support — be front and center with next steps featured prominently to guide users through the site.

Through understanding the target audience’s demographics and current behaviors on the website, Blackbaud was able to re-architect the LCMS website. The new navigation shifted the focus from an organizational-based navigational structure to an audience-centric structure.

4 LCMS Card Sort
5 LCMS Personas

An open card sort was conducted with volunteers from LCMS’s target audiences and Personas were created for each target audience group.

A personal experience yields deeper engagement

An important aspect of the new site functionality allows for a personalized login landing page. Depending on the visitor’s role — church worker, staff member or volunteer — targeted content is served that is relevant to their interests.

The new visual design compels further exploration

A large slider featuring dramatic imagery and compelling copy quickly draws the user deeper into the site from the home page. The flexibility of this content area is key to supporting evolving needs as LCMS continues to grow. Blackbaud Interactive also enhanced the user experience and visual design for desktop and mobile devices, maximizing the exposure to the LCMS mission in a way that delights supporters.

The goal of increased engagement is achieved

Web traffic reveals that the LCMS’s website continues to offer a welcoming and engaging user experience. A year-over-year comparison revealed that unique page views are up 11%, average time on page is up 31%, and exit rate is down 3%.

31% increase in average time on page

Organization Type

Faith Based Group


Information Architecture
Interactive Marketing Strategy
Mobile Design
User Research
Usability Testing
Visual Design/Redesign