Changes in church ministry are zipping along at lightning speed, pretty much right at the speed of a cable Internet connection. Today’s churches are plugged in, online, and very tech-savvy. We’ve done a bit of research into the top trends in church technology. Here’s what we found out. What is your church technology like today? What are the trends in church technology?
- Social media is the way for the church to stay connected. Since so many people use social media for their social fix, it’s no surprise that churches are using it to communicate. Churches are doing more than just staking out a Facebook claim. They’re actually using it aggressively! Many churches, even those with a modicum of tech-savvy, are using Facebook to announce events, share Bible verses, broadcast service times, and just stay connected with their members. Facebook is the new church newsletter. (Get connected with Sharefaith on Facebook!)
- Pastors Tweet and Facebook. Nothing will replace the one-on-one interaction of a pastor with his people. But social media is again edging its way into the equation. Pastors are realizing the value of connecting on Facebook and Twitter. (Get connected with Sharefaith on Twitter.)
- Sermons hit the Internet instantly. First it was cassette tapes. Then it was CDs. Then MP3s. Now, sermons stream live online. If it isn’t live-streaming, the recorded sermon is at least available on the church website instantly after the end of the service. Church technology has brought us to a point where “waiting for the sermon to get uploaded” is almost a thing of the past.
- A church website comes first. Do not underestimate the importance of a church website. Do you think that people are thumbing through a phonebook finding a church to attend? Not anymore. If a churchgoer wants to find your church, a quick Google search is what will bring them in. Church websites are a must-have. Today, a church planting effort does not begin with a storefront presence; it starts with a website. Today, a church website is just as important as a place for the people to meet.
- Projection systems are standard. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a church without a data projection system—or several of them, for that matter. Worship backgrounds and worship videos with worship lyrics even replacing traditional hymnbooks. After all, it’s cheaper, easier, and more effective for worship. More and more pastors are realizing the power of enhancing their auditory communication with visual aids like PowerPoint sermon templates or illustrative mini-sermon videos. Part of Sharefaith’s mission is to provide churches with cutting-edge technology tools for excellence in church communication. Find out more about becoming a member.
- No cutting corners on amplification systems. In church ministry, the term “worship” has become synonymous with “music.” Although the confusion of terms is a bit unfortunate, it is an indicator of the pervasiveness of music in church ministry. Needless to say, church music is a huge area for advancement in church technology. Churches invest in the biggest, best, and newest sound amplification systems. Pastors are wired with the finest in microphones. Musicians get the best amps, mics, and high-fidelity earplugs. And speakers? Only the best will do. Companies like AllProSound cater heavily to churches, realizing that churches require the finest church music technology.
- The rise of the “church tech guy.” Church volunteers are always important, but now the “church tech guy” is the most prized of church volunteers. This used to be the guy who changed toner cartridges and set up the church phone system. Now, he’s the one who connects the projector system, wires the stage for sound, sets up the pastor’s microphone, runs the church soundboard, sets up the sermon PowerPoint, records the sermon, uploads the recording, hits the transitions for the worship slides and oh-so-much-more. More often, the church employs a church tech guy. The new norm for church staffing means hiring a “media director.” Since the church is so heavily involved in technology, it demands having someone fulltime to manage all the church technology.
- Churches are going mobile. We live in a mobile world, and churches are right there with the mobile change. Many churches use services like eOfferingPlate to provide mobile giving opportunities. Sermons are downloadable as podcasts for mobile listening. Some churches even have their own iPhone apps!
- Church attendance is in the cloud. And we’re not talking about heaven. I’m not sure what you think about this, but many people “attend church” online. Some churches claim huge attendance stats, but you’ll never see that many people at the church’s physical location on Sunday morning? Why? Because they’re attending the church’s web service. With streaming technology, multiple video cameras, and HD-quality viewing, it’s becoming more common to “go to church” from your laptop.
- Churches are leading in technology. The old perception of the church was that of a stodgy institution lost in the horse-and-buggy backwardness of yesteryear. That was then. This is now, and the church is taking the leadership in technology. The church is making major forays into the technological landscape. Church technology has become a tool for evangelism, discipleship, and community. Many churches even offer workshops on social media, provide computer repair services, give Photoshop classes, and hold free lessons on Microsoft Office or basic computer programming tutorials.
Every church is different. Is your church on the cutting edge of church technology trends? There is nothing in Scripture demanding that a church be cutting-edge in its pursuit of technology. In fact, technology can often be a distraction to the church’s central purpose. But technology can be a tool to help the church in her mission.