By Molly Matthews
In the past, churches haven’t always been regarded as being the most ‘technologically advanced’ — but times are changing.
The onset of the pandemic forced many organizations — from schools to government, and nearly every industry in between — to learn how to move forward in an increasingly virtual world.
For the Church in particular, the last two years certainly expedited adoption rates for new technology and data shows that digital church is here to stay.
Pushpay’s State of Church report for 2021 found that 91% of churches are currently live streaming services, and 93% of churches believe technology plays an important role in helping achieve their mission.
While there are still some areas of opportunity as the Church continues to advance digitally — particularly when it comes to training and understanding of cybersecurity best practices — churches are showing more enthusiasm about using technology as a connector compared to many other institutions or industries, including schools.
For example, a recent BestColleges’ report shows that only 5% of colleges and universities plan to continue the remote options they launched during the pandemic, and only one-third plan to offer both remote and in-person learning options. This is despite an overwhelming amount of students — roughly 92% — willing to recommend online or remote learning, and 74% of all students reporting that online learning was better than or equal to on-campus learning.
Of the 91% of churches who livestream services today, 94% plan to continue to livestream — finding that virtual services help attract a larger audience and is a way to make online services more accessible.
Beyond technology to increase participation for worship services, churches are leaning into other forms of technology to reach and engage people. In fact, when asked what the most important technology will be for the future, churches ranked having a mobile church application as one of the top strategically important tools in the next two to three years.
They’re also expanding with membership management software, technology to manage volunteers and ministry programs, and other digital solutions.
While some of these changes aren’t happening rapidly, churches are certainly advancing in terms of technology adoption. As leaders welcome new ways to reach and engage with their congregation, they might not be the laggards they once were.
Molly Matthews is the CEO at Pushpay, the leading payments and engagement solutions provider for the faith-based, nonprofit and education sectors.
She leverages her deep customer knowledge to ensure continued value for customers and drive new initiatives that will accelerate company growth.