“We’re a traditional church, and including technology would change our identity.” “We have a number of older church members that may not understand how to interact with newer church technology.” “We don’t have the volunteer hours to dedicate to making effective use of technology.” There are any number of excuses church leaders use when defending their reluctance to integrate newer advances into the tech realm. Regardless of each church leader’s feelings on including a technology plan, the issue needs to be considered by every church because tech integration is becoming an issue in society at large.
Regardless of the various budding technologies, 46% of leaders discourage the use of technology in the church. When approaching the question of church technology at face-value, many leaders are forgetting one key point: Technology is meant to augment ministry efforts, not replace them. If your church is still struggling with the decision to include a website or other tech upgrade and share it with your church family, keep a few of the following points in mind.
Interaction With The Bible
Encouraging church members to read and engage with the Bible is one of the main goals of church leaders across the board. If reading scripture is the end goal, does it make sense to discourage your church family from one of the more prevalent forms of accessing it? According to a 2014 survey from The Barna Group, the number of users who access the Bible on the Internet, an e-book, or a podcast have increased steadily since 2012. In addition to the users directly reading scripture with the help of a tech device, one in three church-goers stated that they searched for Bible verses or content on a smartphone. As reading slowly moves digital, churches need to prepare for members to begin accessing the Bible in this way.
Now, more than ever before, your church members want to be able to give on their own terms. That may mean when giving is most financially convenient for them, or it could be a question of simply giving when the mood strikes. Whenever or wherever your church members choose to give, you can provide them with the opportunity to do so by instituting an e-giving platform. Though there will be some members who prefer the physical act of giving during worship over online giving, presenting the church family with both options will be sure to capture the preferences of both parties and help your church to grow.
More and more, personal relationships are becoming difficult to create and maintain without the use of some sort of technological intervention. For those church members who have chosen to embrace the potential for increased communication with members, the results have been truly astounding. Recently, there have been reports of churches creating their own innovative ideas of what technology can mean to ministry and, in doing so, they have seen incredible results. For example, churches are holding services over Skype to connect with church members serving overseas, using Facebook to help develop an active prayer ministry, and allowing members of the youth group to mentor senior church members on how to use the church’s new social profiles. How will your church engage with technology to build its community?
Though the fear of integrating technology into church services is real for many organizations, with a creative and strategic approach, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Consider how technology already exists in your church. Will your organization be proactive or reactive to these changes?