The Pushpay 2024 State of Church Tech Report Paints a Clear Picture of the Latest Digital Trends
Pushpay recently released its third annual State of Church Technology report. This benchmark study reaches thousands of church leaders across the country each year, inviting them to participate in a survey where they can share their priorities, concerns, and expectations regarding tech in the faith sector.
This report was originally sparked by the notion that most church leaders didn’t choose their vocation because of a deep-seated love of digital solutions. Tracking all of the latest tech trends and features takes time away from doing the work they truly love: fostering faith and belonging in their communities.
And yet, the Church is undeniably amplified by technology. Ministries recognize this—95% of respondents in the ‘24 survey state that technology is important in achieving their mission, and 98% stress the importance of engaging their congregation outside of Sunday by using tech. Dozens of other data points throughout the report highlight this dynamic.
Some digital trends remained steady from last year. Others pivoted away—sometimes dramatically—from what we’d seen in previous years. But at the end of the day, there were three topline themes.
Leaders are abandoning the idea of in-person-only ministry
Blending online and in-person services remains incredibly popular, so much so that the urge to return to an in-person-only form of ministry in the future dropped considerably against last year. This is likely because more church leaders than ever have accepted tech’s ability to enhance their mission.
That dynamic is evident in the utilization of other tried-and-true church technology solutions. Livestreaming worship services continues to engage communities nationwide, online giving still provides monumental value, and leaders are increasingly leaning on a variety of mobile app features. Additionally, since last year, 30% more churches have acknowledged a dedicated ChMS as “strategically important” for the future of their ministry.
Insecurity plagues the next generation of decision makers
That enthusiasm for tech comes with a flipside. The report identified a number of cutting-edge tools rising in popularity, such as cryptocurrency donations and multilingual functionality, among others.
What was also uncovered, however, was a hesitancy on many leaders’ part to make digital decisions on behalf of their church. That uneasiness is fueled by a lack of knowledge of the tech space, plus the incessant release of new tools and features.
There were also notable shifts in the concerns that fueled these decision makers’ tech adoption choices. While cost remains the most prohibitive blocker, a tech platform’s reputation and being the “best software to solve the problem” received increased emphasis. What’s more, 97% of churches now state that digital security is important when considering a tech purchase.
Churches are eager to experiment with cutting-edge tech
It’s always difficult to trust the fanfare surrounding the latest technologies making headlines—yet another understandable underpinning of leaders’ hesitancy to commit to a potentially overhyped digital solution too quickly.
Metaverse is a prime example. Last year, the reported numbers on current usage and future adoption of VR in churches were strong; this year they fell off a cliff. There’s a handful of possible explanations for this sudden shift: the drop in press coverage, the expense and training necessary for a user to actually adopt VR, and so on.
That said, one of the most fascinating insights in the ‘24 data is how parallel last year’s metaverse figures compare to this year’s artificial intelligence numbers. The ratios match too closely to ignore; it will be interesting to track the Church’s enthusiasm for AI moving forward and watch whether the hottest tech trend of the past year maintains its popularity.
Want to see raw numbers, data breakdowns, major trends, and dozens of other powerful insights? Dive into the full version of Pushpay’s free 2024 State of Church Technology Report!