By Shanda Boyett
3 ways churches can use technology to connect with students
Reaching anyone in this day and age is simpler than ever. But actually connecting with them? That can be incredibly hard.
In a world filled with screens and smartphones, we’re constantly distracted or looking for the next best thing — particularly students. So how can churches make connections with their students in this digital world?
Technology has completely changed how we share and receive information, communicate, go to church, and relate to one another. We have traded phone calls for text messages, in-person church services for livestreams, and conversations over a cup of coffee to commenting on social media posts.
Here’s how your church can further engage the next generation through this shift in communication and relationships.
#1: Meet youth where they are
Students are no exception to the shift in technology. Ninety-five percent (95%) of Generation Z owns a smartphone, and they’re using their phones to stay connected. Almost three fourths of Generation Z spends their free time online, logging almost 3 hours of social media use per day (an hour longer than most Millennials).
It’s safe to say that the current dwelling place of our students and youth is online. Why not meet them where they already are? Jump into social media. Experiment with creating videos or podcasts. Create a church app to speak the language of your highly mobile, tech-savvy students. Your ministry can be easily accessible in the palm of their hands.
Your church app can really be a digital presence magnifier. The more engaged your congregation is through your app, the more they’ll contribute to growing your online presence, sharing and promoting your content on social media.
#2: Use data for detailed insights
We live in a world full of data. But just because data is generated, doesn’t mean it’s being seen or used. Don’t miss this opportunity! With data collected from your unique congregation, you can efficiently gain insights about your people and make confident decisions.
Your church app can hold a multitude of media, from sermon videos to youth group podcasts. All of the content your students need is in one easy spot. And now, so are insights from that media.
In March, Pushpay unveiled a powerful update to our App Analytics Dashboard that expanded on the key metrics your leadership team needs, including our unique tool for tracking which pieces of your content are seeing the most engagement.
Whether you’re seeing when push notifications are read, or what content is getting the most interaction, the app insights are powerful! Now you can learn exactly what your youth care about, so you can better engage them and support their growing relationship with God.
#3: Influence the influencers
For 35 hours a week, eight months of the year, the students and youth we’re trying to reach are sitting in classrooms. Schools, and the teachers in our schools, can influence what students believe, who they become, the choices they make, and the friends they choose.
Chris Kouba, lead pastor at United City Church, said “the coaches and the administrators and these teachers are going to have more time with these kids than their parents will in terms of the awake hours, if you really think about it.” Because of that belief, United City Church prioritizes getting into local schools to connect with the coaches and programs and to host their banquets and other events.
Managing events with multiple groups can be a challenge. Pushpay’s ChMS makes it easy to organize your next event. Within the ChMS, you can easily create events, invite groups, take attendance, get guest information, or use it as a simple placeholder on your ministry’s calendar.
With the stress of organizing the event gone, your leaders can focus on building connections and lasting relationships in your community.
The church’s investment in teachers and administrators has paid off. Kouba reflects “now some of our teachers and coaches and administrators in our community are the ones doing the ministry, which is kind of our goal all along.”
By leveraging digital tools — especially as families return to normal rhythms going back to school — you can engage youth today and make an impact on the next generation. To maximize this back-to-school season and build a strong connection with students and families this fall, check out Pushpay’s free eBook, Back to School Means Back to Church.
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.
Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and organization represented.