Technology is constantly changing, but the one thing that remains the same is it’s a great opportunity to better engage your church’s members and online followers. All you have to do is embrace some of these newer church tech trends.
While you don’t have to stay on the cutting edge all the time, changing your tech strategy even a little could result in better growth and attendance.
From social media to live streaming, try the new trends to see how they can help your church spread God’s word and create new ministry leaders throughout the world.
1. It’s Time To Go Mobile
While it’s not exactly one of the newest church tech trends, mobile is a trend that’s going to continue growing year after year. If your church doesn’t have a mobile-friendly presence, you will fall behind.
As of February 2019, 48% of web page traffic worldwide came from mobile devices. As of April 2019, there were four billion unique mobile users across the globe. In America alone, 97.1% of people have a mobile Internet subscription.
This means your church needs to be mobile-friendly. A great start is a mobile-friendly or responsive website. Since many people are performing searches on mobile devices, they need to be able to find your church’s site. Google places responsive sites ahead of non-responsive sites in search results.
You can also focus on social media, which shows your posts on social media apps. Another option is to have your own church app.
2. Specialized Church Apps
Church apps can be a major engagement tool for churches. Think of it as a way to keep in constant contact. Users can stay up to date on events, meetings, volunteer opportunities, and much more. They could also submit prayer requests, check out daily readings, find inspiration from suggested scripture, and even tithe directly through the app.
Now, it’s important to note that not every church needs a custom church app. While apps are a big tech trend, it’s only worth it if your church can benefit. If your church’s website already has everything your users need, stick with that, but make sure it’s mobile-friendly.
If your church’s app offers quite a bit of unique content, then it’s worth investing in and maintaining an app. It’s a good idea to always have a website, even if you do have an app.
3. Embrace Live Streaming
Live streaming has become one of the more increasingly popular church tech trends over the last several years. What used to be reserved for larger churches is now an effective strategy for smaller churches too. Part of the reason is it’s more affordable than ever to do it.
After an initial equipment investment, you can either pay for a streaming platform, use your own website, or use social media. We created a guide to help you embrace live streaming so you can jump on this trend sooner rather than later.
Always remember to do a trial run before you actually go live. The last thing you want to do is promote your first live stream and then not be able to deliver.
4. Using OTT Streaming Services
One of the newer church tech trends is OTT streaming services. Your church has more options than ever before when it comes to streaming. You don’t have to limit yourself just to live streaming or even a few select streaming hosting platforms.
OTT refers to over-the-top, meaning that viewers go “over” satellite, cable and antenna TV to view TV over the Internet. Popular streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are just a few examples.
While you’re probably not going to be broadcasting your church services on Netflix, there are numerous other options. It’s important to note that 64% of Americans have a least one OTT subscription.
One option that churches need to keep in mind is Roku. Roku offers tools for churches to live stream and provide on-demand church services. This has become an increasingly effective way to reach a more targeted audience, especially millennials. Since many people use a Roku device to watch other OTT services, you’ll be able to reach many of the cord-cutters without them needing any other special equipment or apps.
5. Focus More On YouTube
People love watching videos. That’s why YouTube continues to be one of the most popular social networks. While it may not seem like the same type of social network as Facebook, it still brings a community of viewers and video creators together to socialize.
It’s well worth your church’s time to start making videos for the platform. There are over two billion monthly active users on YouTube. Over a billion videos are viewed every day on mobile devices. There’s a large audience here and many of them would love to see more churches creating engaging and relevant content.
You can use the same equipment you use for streaming. This means you get double the value for your money. Consider creating fun skits, Q&A sessions, podcasts and musical numbers. Check out other churches, such as Elevation Church and Lighthouse Church, to see how they’re embracing this tech trend.
6. End The Social Over Promotion
While you always hear the phrase “social media marketing,” it should be something more along the lines of social media connections or engagement. No one wants to be bombarded with promotional posts all the time. In fact, that’s part of the reason why social media giants like Facebook limit businesses’ reach.
Church tech trends often involve marketing more, but this one involves marketing less. It’s time to put an end to the social over promotion.
As a general rule, only 20% of your posts should be promotional. This includes advertising events, service reminders and asking for donations.
The other 80% of your social media posts should be more useful to your followers. Christian memes, suggested reading, blog posts from Christian thought leaders, content from your followers and inspiring YouTube videos are all great things you can share. You can also share your own blog posts as long as they’re not overly promotional.
It’s these types of posts that get the most shares and engagement. So, it makes sense to focus on your social strategy on the 80/20 rule.
7. Try Cloud-Based Outsourcing
With so much technology available, why keep trying to do everything yourself? Cloud-based outsourcing allows your church to outsource certain tasks via platforms that connect customers and freelancers/agencies. The platform allows the freelancers to track their work, stay in contact with customers and get paid.
Often times, the platform has protections in place to ensure customers get what they pay for and the freelancers get paid for their work.
You could easily outsource time-consuming tasks to others, such as writing blog posts, accounting, email newsletter creation, answering common questions and so much more.
8. Marketing Through Geo-Targeting
Geo-targeting might sound too personal, but many people actually love it just for that reason. For example, a new visitor comes into your church who also has your church app. They receive a greeting and a map of where to go once they’re inside. They also receive a picture of a greeter so they know who to go to if they need help.
Geo-targeting allows you to reach a very specific demographic. Not only can you do this via your church app, but with social media and search engine ads.
For instance, you may create a Facebook ad that only targets people who live or are currently in a 20-mile radius of your church. Someone who is visiting family and checked in to the area would get the ad while someone two states over wouldn’t.
It’s a great way to market events that are happening within a few days. After all, why spend money to market to the masses when you just want to reach the locals?
9. The Rise Of All-In-One Tools
You might think that the latest church tech trends would cost your church more money, but this one saves you money and time. All-in-one tools are a dream come true for churches who are tired of wasting money on numerous products and subscriptions. Not to mention, it’s time-consuming jumping from one product to another, especially if you need to share data between them.
Instead, look for all-in-one solutions. For example, you might combine your bookkeeping, calendar and email tools into one. It’s even cheaper to opt for cloud-based solutions as they don’t require you to install or maintain anything extra.
With all the money you save, you can spend more on marketing to help your church grow faster.
10. Email Isn’t Dead Yet
Surely, email is dead by now, right? Not even close. In fact, it’s becoming more popular again. There is even a website called Email Is Not Dead that showcases the latest statistics proving that email is very much alive and well. Over 900,000 legitimate emails are sent out every second.
Even though email marketing never went away, many marketing experts suddenly started referring to email as the newest way to reach customers in 2019. It’s expected that people will send over 126 trillion emails during 2022.
This means that it’s time your church jumped on board this “new” marketing trend too. Send out email newsletters and even reminders. Ask website visitors to sign up and even create Facebook ads to increase email signups.
11. Better Service With Chatbots
This might sound like a futuristic church tech trend, but it’s just one of the newest ways to help your church website’s visitors. You can’t possibly be around to answer questions 24/7. However, your site’s visitors might expect it.
Instead, use a chatbot to help out. These can be programmed to answer a wide variety of common and not so common questions. They can even take prayer requests and send them directly to a set person. They can direct people to get the help they need in an emergency, such as providing depression and suicide hotlines.
They’re simple to install on your site and offer immediate service.
12. Get Ahead Of Social Algorithms
For some, social media algorithms are a major conspiracy designed to hurt nonprofits and businesses. However, that’s not exactly the case. Yes, social media does change algorithms to help them be more profitable, meaning organic reach isn’t what it used to be in order to encourage brands to buy ads.
On the other hand, social algorithms also help people see more of what they enjoy most. Churches have a unique advantage when it comes to getting ahead of social algorithms. People do want to engage with you.
All you have to do is actively remind them to do so. End your services with a reminder to engage with your church on social media throughout the week. Post content that makes people want to comment, like and share.
As long as people keep engaging with your content and you’re posting within the network’s guidelines, you’ll be fine and won’t have to panic over the next big algorithm change.
13. Social Media Isn’t Just For Sundays
One of the church tech trends that needs to change is social media Sundays. It’s time to create a new trend of posting regularly the other six days of the week. Many churches post non-stop throughout Sunday, but only a few times throughout the rest of the week.
Remember the beating the algorithm trend? This is part of how you embrace it.
14. Get Technical With Welcomes
It’s time to start getting a little more technical when it comes to welcoming new visitors. New visitors often feel a little nervous and out of place. Make it easier for them by giving them everything they need on their smartphones.
Have a special welcome area for new visitors. Give them a card with a QR code to scan. Once they scan it, they’re taken directly to your new visitor section on your church’s website. This gives them all the information necessary to learn more and better connect with members and church leaders.
You could also lead them to a YouTube video that provides a tour of the church, ministry services, volunteer opportunities and introductions from leaders and some members.
15. Put People First
No matter what church tech trends you embrace, remember one thing – put people first. The latest gadgets and marketing strategies won’t help your church at all if it’s not putting the people first. Remember that they’re seeking a faith-based community, both in-person and online. Focus more on that and you’ll always succeed at growing your church.
If you have embraced the church website trend, now’s the time to start. It’s the perfect way to embrace many other church tech trends. Contact us today to find out how we can help.