A comprehensive study that captures the concerns, priorities, and expectations of church leaders for their ministry's technological needs show that social media is not as important for them in the future.
The Christian Post reported that, though a majority of American churches embrace technology now as before the pandemic, The 2021 State of Church Technology Report show 53% out of the 94% of churches who use social media find it "strategically important" for the future.
The report, released by online church giving platform company PushPay, was conducted in September to October 2021 and involved 2,000 church leaders from across the country. In particular, respondents were either a "decision maker" or "influencer" coming from "every size" of ministry and church "from all across the faith spectrum."
The report has five key findings. First, "technology is essential to the church's mission." Second, "churches (often mistakenly) believe they're forward-thinking with tech." Third, "'time' trumps all other technology concerns." Fourth, "digital church is here to stay." Fifth, "security is important--to a point."
"The most compelling insight lies in the difference between what churches are currently using, as opposed to what they consider 'strategically important' for them in the next few years. For instance, while 94% of churches are currently using social media, just 53% think those platforms will be strategically important for them moving forward," The 2021 State of Church Technology Report said.
"Put another way, while social media is overwhelmingly the most popular digital tool today, churches are telling us that solutions like ChMS, mobile apps, scheduling systems, livestreaming, and more will all be more valuable to them in the near future. This doesn't mean Facebook and Instagram are going away; it means that they're already in the fold, and churches are interested in expanding their tech portfolio as they continue to grow," it added.
PushPay explained they are very much aware how churches, "especially through the pandemic," have "discovered the benefits of technology" and used it to continuously provide services to their respective congregations. The church management software company stressed that despite this knowledge and awareness of technology's importance not all churches have "a willingness to embrace technology."
"93% of churches believe technology plays an important role in achieving their church's mission. A discrepancy exists between what technology churches currently use, versus what they consider strategically important for the future," the company highlighted.
Limitations in resources such as manpower and finances, as well as, "gaps in knowledge" hinder church leaders to fully embrace the importance of technology in their ministry. PushPay hopes that through the study individuals helping to bridge these gaps would be aided accordingly.
"43% of churches only reevaluate their technology when the 'need arises'. Many church leaders describe themselves as 'progressive,' but their actions don't support the claim." PushPay stressed.
"72% of churches consider 'ease of use' to be extremely important when considering new technology (more than any other characteristic of the tech). No matter the size, budget, or number of digital tools a church has already adopted, the most common concern is implementation," they added.
In terms of security, 77% consider it along with data protection as "extremely important" although 19% were "very much prevented" or "somewhat prevented" from "making a technology purchase." Churches also 6% "resistant" to adopt to new technology. They are "more than any time in history" actually "enthusiastic to adopt technology for the long haul."
"The pandemic erased any doubts regarding the viability of a digital Church. Ministries all around the world successfully adapted to the challenges presented by COVID by leveraging technology to strengthen their communities and continue accomplishing their good work," PushPay encapsulated.