The 2023 Church Technology Trend Is Refinement
By Shanda Boyett
When COVID forced organizations to shut their doors, church leaders needed new strategies for sustaining connection with their congregations. Digital tools quickly became successful alternatives that empowered detached communities to maintain relationships.
Today, even as social restrictions have relaxed, churches have embraced the value of tech solutions for the future of their ministries. This dynamic has teed up an exciting future for faith-based organizations and tech providers alike. But, in order for the partnership to work, providers like Pushpay need to understand the evolving relationship between church leaders and technology. What are leaders’ concerns, needs, and expectations moving forward?
We couldn’t find a study that answered those questions — so we decided to generate the research ourselves. In 2021, Pushpay sponsored the first annual State of Church Technology Report.
That comprehensive survey painted a detailed picture on how, why, and what technology was driving ministries. The insights were valuable and actionable, for churches and providers alike. The overwhelmingly positive response to our initial report emphasized the value in collecting that data on a regular basis, so this year we created the 2023 State of Church Technology Report. While many stats stayed consistent with the previous year’s, some fluctuations suggest new trends are emerging within the church technology space — warranting a closer look.
The pandemic-driven scramble for technology has died down; in its place, a more intentional search for tech is blossoming. Church leaders are opting for a more selective, intentional approach to digital tools, and only investing in solutions they’re sure will directly serve their
Our study listed twenty of the top church tech tools on the market and asked participants to report which they were currently using. While nineteen tools either stayed the same or dropped in levels of usage, one tool saw an uptick in adoption: Church and Donor Management
Churches are not in need of more tools — 86% of participants report they don’t want extra tech — but that rise in demand for ChMS signals they’re interested in purpose-built tools designed to serve the goals and needs of their ministry.
89% of churches report that they livestream services. Within that group, 91% livestream directly to social media, but close to half utilize a livestreaming embed code on their website, and about a third use a video hosting platform and/or a mobile app player.
While many churches state that they will continue to livestream moving forward, only a startling 47% say they will continue to stream to social media. Why the shift?
Social platforms are a great tool for daily life, but they can get in the way when it comes to ministry. Between life updates from friends, random promoted videos, and an array of different ads that pop up every two seconds, it is increasingly difficult for congregants to stay focused on an online service.
That’s why we’re about to see a shift toward custom video players, website embed codes, and video platforms designed to solely serve churches.
Challenges to Tech Adoption
This year’s report indicates that leaders are uncertain about how their ministries will evolve over the next few years. Committing to new technology will always be a challenge for churches, but it becomes almost impossible to intelligently, intentionally adopt digital
solutions without knowing if your ministry will be in-person only, online only, hybrid or otherwise.
Which might explain another emerging trend: churches want dedicated digital support teams from their providers. With access to help desks, self-help centers, and teams committed to their success, churches can feel confident they’ll thrive with their new tech, no matter which direction their ministry heads.
Download Pushpay’s 2023 State of Church Technology Report to uncover more digital trends and discover other tools to help shape your tech toolkit.
Shanda Boyett is the Director of Corporate Marketing for Pushpay. For more information about how we’re working with churches to build community and inspire generosity, visit pushpay.com.