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Curious about This Year's Top Church Technology Trends?

We've got a practical tech playbook for church leaders.

Curious about This Year's Top Church Technology Trends?

We've got a practical tech playbook for church leaders.

What if you could improve your church’s technology without sacrificing your humanity? That’s exactly what Pushpay helps pastors do. Keep reading to learn more about their latest research.

From the rise of artificial intelligence to the ever-changing landscape of social media, pastors and ministry leaders are constantly faced with questions about technology that they aren’t quite sure how to answer. The learning curve, financial costs, and ethical implications of digital ministry can overwhelm even the most tech-savvy minister. For those who worry that the only options are becoming a Luddite or being terminally online, there’s great news: incorporating some of these tools into your ministry can be a simple, cost-effective way to enhance your church’s impact. By embracing new technologies thoughtfully, pastors can empower their congregations and share the message of hope in fresh, innovative ways.

Step 1. Start Small and Familiar

Church leaders need not feel the pressure to transform their church’s relationship with technology overnight. In the same way that pastors wouldn’t begin a new believer’s journey by offering a detailed exposition of Greek grammar, they shouldn’t start their own venture into digital ministry by trying to understand “big data” or state-of-the-art virtual reality experiences.

Beginning with simple, free options is a great initial step. Rather than creating all-new content, consider turning your sermon into a week of daily devotions to be shared or do a live video on Facebook or Instagram where you share a behind-the-scenes look at church life. Pastors who feel like they never have enough time for social media might try taking an hour per week to schedule automated posts, simultaneously alleviating stress and building a sustainable habit of digital engagement.

Small forays into the tech world give pastors a chance to fail fast—and cheaply. These micro-experiments offer insights into what your congregation responds well to and what they may not need. For those pastors who are still far more nervous behind a keyboard than a pulpit, this is a low-stakes way of entering the game.

Ministry leaders might also consider:

  • Opening a free Canva account to design event invitations or social media posts
  • Streaming sermons via Facebook Live or Resi
  • Using Google Forms to request feedback on Sunday services or special events
  • Turning existing content into social media posts with ChatGPT or similar tools

Step 2. Experiment with Accessibility and Engagement

The digital revolution has made it easier for Christians to love others as Christ loved us in incredibly practical and inclusive ways. Through the use of AI, church leaders can create videos with closed captions or audio descriptions for those who may need them. To reach non-English speakers, they can leverage automated translations.

Pastors can also use technology to adapt intentional discipleship to a modern world, engaging churchgoers and seekers in a variety of ways. Consider sparking involvement by:

  • Offering live Q&A opportunities in which congregants text in questions during a service
  • Gamifying—especially for youth and children’s ministries—through Bible quizzes or online scavenger hunts
  • Hosting online events with virtual breakout rooms and streamlined digital giving options

Step 3. Embrace Community Building Through Tech

While face-to-face interaction is likely the first thing that comes to mind when pastors think about creating community, technology can help build relationships too. For example, groups that meet in person might find that a messaging platform helps them stay connected throughout the week. An online prayer forum can provide a space for small groups to communicate needs that arise.

The virtual realm also offers tremendous potential for incorporating volunteers into the life of the church. Engagement with fundraising efforts, educational opportunities, and administrative tasks can skyrocket in an online environment. So, too, can discipleship—consider the potential in connecting newcomers with seasoned members through video calls or digital meet-and-greets.

Ministry leaders can also use digital tools to build relationships by:

  • Incorporating video calls or online messaging platforms into mentorship programs
  • Engaging church volunteers in organizing online events or workshops, such as a virtual ESL class led by congregants and promoted on social media
  • Offering a forum for people to share prayer requests and respond to one another’s needs

Step 4. Trade Anxiety for Security

Data can be a powerful tool for pastors leading diverse congregations. But apprehension around this data is completely reasonable–spreadsheets may seem daunting, and data security is more crucial than ever before. It's important to remember that much of this information already exists online, so the job of the pastor is to protect this data while effectively using it to serve the church community.

When it comes to keeping personal information safe, ministry leaders might consider:

  • Investing in basic website security software that includes anti-malware and data encryption
  • Educating congregants about online safety with infographics or videos that are featured on pages where personal information is requested
  • Communicating with congregants about how information is collected, used, and protected

Step 5. Collaborate and Celebrate

All this can seem daunting to tech-anxious pastors. But chances are, several people in your congregation have an above-average grasp of the latest technology. Ministry leaders might ask church members with relevant digital skills to help them understand, manage, and troubleshoot software. Consider forming a team of volunteers and staff members who can bring their unique talents and expertise to the table.

If there’s a gap in congregational knowledge, consider:

  • YouTube and online forums or researching tech conferences for church leaders
  • Church technology leader Pushpay has a cadre of resources available for ministry leaders, including Pushpay University, which offers courses on digital church life ranging from technology implementation to thought leadership
  • Invite collaborators into your tech journey who will celebrate your wins along the way

Leverage Technology for the Love and Life of the Church

Church leaders have a variety of ways to leverage technology, from social media posts to in-depth analytics that offer insights into congregational needs. Avoiding an all-or-nothing approach allows pastors to use technology creatively, reflecting their love for God and others while meeting the specific needs of their local community.

The Pushpay 2024 State of Church Tech report explores the connection between technology and the pastorate. Based on responses from ministry leaders nationwide, the report sheds light on how technology is changing, how pastors are feeling about it, and the growth opportunities available to churches.

Download the report to discover how your church can embrace stress-free tech.

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