Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
There’s no denying that COVID-19 drastically changed the way people go to and interact with church. It also introduced a variety of church tech trends to churches worldwide.
Even when things become more normal again, some things have changed permanently. In order to keep your church growing and thriving in a post-COVID world, you’ll need to continue embracing certain tech trends.
The good news is you may already be doing many of these. All you have to do is continue and fine-tune to ensure they work well for your church family.
Table of contents
1. Recurring Online Giving
More than ever before, recurring online giving is important for supporting your church, community and ministry programs. With more people attending church virtually, online giving provides a safe and easy way to tithe without needing to handle cash.
Plus, recurring online giving makes it simple to set it and forget it. People are able to set up a giving schedule and amount that works right for them.
In a post-COVID world, you’ll find fewer people carrying cash. So, even if your church is filled with people, many will still prefer to give online.
The great news is there are a variety of great online giving providers to choose from that integrate well with churches. Choosing the right one involves multiple factors, such as fees and ease of use.
You can add giving forms to your church website, mobile app and even as a kiosk inside your church. This provides the ultimate flexibility for your members, both online and offline.
2. Live Streaming
Live streaming is probably one of the least surprising church tech trends on this list. It was a growing trend even before COVID, but it’s one many churches had to embrace for the first time when churches were forced to close temporarily.
This isn’t a trend that’s going to end. While some may argue that having a live streaming option might decrease attendance, the truth is most, if not all, of your members will likely continue attending in person. Some may opt to stay at home more often due to medical conditions, but for healthier members, they still love the face-to-face interactions that church offers.
With live streaming, you’re simply offering convenience while reaching a larger audience. For members who can’t attend due to illness or a change in their work schedule, they’ll stay with your church during their in-person absence because you’re giving them the opportunity to still worship with you.
For people searching for a new church, live streaming works as a preview of what it’s like to attend your church. Even if they live hundreds of miles away, your church still might become their virtual home.
If you don’t want to live stream, you can simply record your services and upload them afterward. Host videos on your church website or even on YouTube to reach a larger audience. And if budget is an issue, consider streaming for free on Facebook Live.
3. Virtual Meetings
While this definitely is exclusive to churches, virtual meetings have become a growing tech trend. They’re convenient, safe and easy to set up. For churches, virtual meetings work well for volunteers, staff and even one-on-one meetings with members.
In the past, picking a time that worked for everyone was like pulling teeth. Now, it’s easier. No one has to spend time driving after working all day. No one has to come to the church to unlock the doors. Going virtual saves time for everyone.
Even when it’s safer to get together in person, virtual meetings still offer too much convenience to stop. Plus, this gives you a way to stay in contact more throughout the week.
The best part is this is one of the least expensive church tech trends. Many video chat platforms offer free plans for smaller groups. And, if you need larger meetings, such as for live streaming, the premium plans are still budget-friendly.
4. Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design isn’t a new trend, but as many churches either started a website or refreshed an old one during COVID, it’s become a more obvious trend for churches. When you’re creating a church website, you don’t know what device a visitor might come from. That’s why your site needs to automatically adapt.
The rise in church websites to better connect with members during COVID means more churches need to ensure their sites are responsive and continue with the responsive design in the future too. There are several easy ways to check if your current site is responsive. If it’s not, an upgrade is definitely in order.
Many people may visit your church’s site from a mobile device, while others might prefer a desktop. Some use tablets instead. As you know, all those screen sizes are drastically different. A responsive site ensures your website looks great on all those screen sizes.
5. Active Website
Odds are, you were probably much more active when it came to updating your church website’s content during COVID. You knew you had more visitors coming to your site and wanted to give them useful and inspirational content throughout the pandemic.
Don’t stop now! An active website that refreshes old content and adds new content regularly looks great to Google and other search engines. Simply keeping your current, including blogging regularly, boosts your search rank and organic reach.
If you’re looking to improve your SEO, this is one of several ways to do so. Plus, it’s ideal for keeping visitors engaged on your church’s site.
6. Mobile App
While not all churches need a mobile app, one of the more popular church tech trends post-COVID are church mobile apps. Instead of just a website or social media to interact, members can install an app to quickly access videos, social media feeds, online tithing portals and much more.
In most cases, medium to large churches will likely see the most benefit, but a smaller church could still use an app. The key is to make sure an app compliments your church website and offers different features to make it more useful.
If you’re not sure if this trend is right for your church, talk with your members. If you have a younger church members, the odds are higher that a mobile app could help your church grow and stay more active.
This might sound like one of the odder church tech trends. After all, why would a church need a chatbot? Church websites are busier than ever and people want answers to their questions immediately, even if they are asking them in the middle of the night.
To help handle common questions, such as service times or ministry programs, a chatbot’s available 24/7 to provide quick answers. You can even create chatbots for people to learn more about God’s word. Some can even be used to create more interactive Bible lessons for kids.
Facebook Messenger bots are a great example and work well if you already have a church Facebook page. This can aid in managing a growing social media following, which many churches have thanks to COVID.
If you’re not sure how chatbots work, ManyChat lists some of the top chatbots so you can try them out yourself.
8. Virtual Events
In-person church events aren’t disappearing. However, virtual events aren’t going away either. They’re convenient, safe and offer another way to engage your members outside of the church itself.
For instance, you might hold virtual interviews with Christian leaders, short concerts, ministry group meetings and more. You don’t have to always hold everything at church.
When it comes to church tech trends, this one offers so many possibilities. It’s important to connect with your members and online followers outside of just weekly sermons. Holding virtual events throughout gives everyone a chance to attend live.
The more you interact with people throughout the week, the more likely they are to continue engaging with your church. Even if they’re online followers, they can still tithe to help support the church they love.
9. Increased Social Media
With a shift to online engagement during COVID, many churches thoroughly embraced social media. Those that already were using social media increased their efforts. After all, you can speak directly with followers, share images and videos, hold live streaming events and simply keep the conversations going.
For many people, they either started using social media or increased social media usage during the pandemic to stay more connected. This included staying in contact with fellow church members or even seeking out churches to engage with.
Now that you’ve built a stronger following on social media, keep followers engaged. Social media helps you stay connected to your members, reach a wider audience and even grow your church.
For people who may have discovered their faith during COVID, they’re more likely to visit your church in person if you have an active social media presence. This gives them a place to figure out if your church is right for them.
Despite the negatives surrounding social media, it’s still a great place for your church. Plus, it’s a free way to increase engagement and conversations around faith.
10. Engaging Videos
Video is another one of those church tech trends that’s been growing for years. But, thanks to COVID, more churches are creating engaging videos.
If you want to still connect with members and online followers in a post-COVID world, you need to keep making videos. From live streaming to fun Bible stories for kids, be as creative as you want as long as it ties back into your church’s values and mission.
People love watching videos. They’re quick and easy to consume. You don’t have to just stick with Facebook and Instagram. To fully take advantage of this trend, create your own YouTube channel.
You can even get your members involved in creating videos. Ask members to put together skits or volunteer to read scripts. There’s no end to the types of videos you can create. And this helps increase engagement and sharing. As a result, your church keeps growing.
11. Interactive Services
This is a trend that churches still struggle with. Traditionally, interactive services involve standing up to sing or pray. Outside of that, people sit quietly, listening to the sermon.
An emerging trend that began before COVID was interactive services using technology. Services might include interactions on the church’s mobile app or social media pages. Members might submit questions to be answered at the end of the service. Or, they might get to submit survey or poll answers in real-time.
As live streaming became the norm for a period, interactive services became even more important. Since you couldn’t interact in-person, churches had to get more creative. This could involve someone responding to comments throughout the service or asking people at home to do certain things, such as singing, dancing or even filming themselves to share on social media.
Technology should become part of your services. Incorporating interactive elements using mobile devices in your church can help keep members more engaged. When so many people have gotten used to viewing services online, merging tech and traditional services is a good idea to keep people coming back to church in-person.
12. Multiple Worship Options
Throughout COVID, many churches offered multiple worship options. These involved traditional services, live streaming, video-on-demand (VOD) and parking lot services. This allowed everyone to worship in a way that felt safest for them.
This is a trend churches should consider embracing to keep growing post-COVID. This is especially true when it comes to mixing traditional services and online services. The combination allows for the most reach without sacrificing in-person worship.
13. Cloud-Based Church Management
Many churches, especially smaller churches, manage their church using a simple system of paper documents and spreadsheets. It’s not easy and can make it more difficult to keep track of new visitors, engagement strategies, marketing and more.
To better keep track of everything, especially as worship got more complicated during COVID, many of these churches started using cloud-based church management systems (CMS). This allows their entire staff to access files, track data and fulfill administrative responsibilities from anywhere. Plus, there’s no software to install and manage, making it easier on already busy staff.
If you’re still doing it the old way, take a look a some of the different church management system options. You might just find it’s easier to handle regular tasks so you can spend more time on ministry, which naturally helps with church growth.
A central part of thriving as a church post-COVID involves having a church website. Let us help you create a highly engaging site that helps bring more visitors to your church.