Technology is ever changing, and sometimes it feels daunting to try to keep up. Many of us don’t live on the bleeding edge of tech, and that’s OK. But some tech has become truly indispensable, and that’s the case for the church as well. Let’s look at three levels of church technology that your place of worship desperately needs.
Level One: Barebones Basics
Churches need websites, period. Here’s an analogy: when you hear about a new restaurant, do you just show up and hope for the best that they’re open? No, you probably Google it first. You check their website to see their hours, and you look up the address or driving directions.
Restaurants with no digital presence whatsoever feel like a gamble. Same with your church: in this digital age, you need an attractive, up-to-date online presence.
2. Modern A/V System
All but the very smallest churches need amplification of some kind, and the sad truth is quite a few churches don’t do this very well. You know what I’m talking about: an ancient, underpowered sound system with plenty of squeals of feedback, paired with a fuzzy, low-resolution projector propped up on hymnals.
Surely your church isn’t as bad as all that, but if your sound system was lovingly crafted in the 1980s, you might be surprised by the advances made possible by digital technology.
Level Two: Keeping Up With the Times
3. Social Media Presence
I’m not saying you need to go crazy and build custom church-themed snapchat filters here. But if your church’s only presence on social media is the zombie auto-generated page Facebook creates for organizations who haven’t made their own, your church will seem out of touch or maybe even irrelevant to a generation or two of digital natives.
It’s up to you what you use your social media outlets for and how many you want to be on, but the important point here is that you have a presence of some kind.
Level Three: Winning with Technology
4. Digital Member Directory
Church directories are a really great idea and can help foster community and connection within your congregation. There’s just one problem: by the time a (traditional, print) directory is made, it’s already out of date. One person I know took a meal to a family who’d just had a baby. The only problem? Instead of looking in the church’s digital directory, she consulted an old print directory and drove 15 minutes in the wrong direction to an apartment the family hadn’t lived in for 3 years. Using the digital directory could’ve avoided both an hour of driving and delivering a stale meal.
There are a few different ways to implement a digital directory and a host of companies that will help you do it. Whether it lives as a restricted section of your website or as a full-featured mobile app, make sure it has the ability for users to update addresses and phone numbers. Be aware that some may need to keep their information private, so make sure there is a way to opt out.
5. Mobile Giving
The most effortless and effective way to win with church technology is to implement a mobile giving solution. According to Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans now own smartphones, and smartphone owners over 50 increased dramatically since last year. Your members use mobile devices for everything from banking to shopping to paying bills. Why not let them use their phones for church giving, too?
People of all generations enjoy electronic giving, and overall giving levels tend to rise when a mobile giving option is available. To really take your church to the next level technologically, adding a mobile giving solution is a no-brainer.