As 2020 approaches, it’s time to take a look at upcoming church trends. While some of these aren’t exactly new, they’re still holding strong and even growing in popularity.
Some of the major church trends for 2020 might surprise you. Or, you may already have embraced some of these and be ahead of the curve.
A few main things to keep in mind are your church may need to rethink the way you drive growth and how people want to communicate with you.
Less Flash, More Personal Worship
Has your church embraced all the flash and pizazz that’s supposed to wow millennials and younger members? How much of a pushback was there from your members? Odds are, it was probably a divisive choice, but one that you were certain would help your church grow.
However, while it may impress some people, over half of millennials prefer a more classic church style. This means more focus on worship and less of a focus on light shows, loud bands and hip tactics. In fact, the more cool you try to be, the quicker your younger audience disappears. Plus, you may even lose some of your older members along the way.
We even covered how to engage younger members. As a quick summary, talk to them and help them get involved in causes that matter to them. That’s really what they want most.
Having a blend of classic and modern works well in most cases. The most important thing is to ask your members what they want and need. In most cases, they’d prefer less flash and a more personal worship style.
Make services more conversational. Focus more budget on ensuring everyone can hear what you say versus making it look pretty. Or, take a cue from supposedly uncool churches. They do what works best for their members and community. When you focus on that, you’re able to grow your church and retain your members.
People Experience Your Church Online First
Did you know that most of your new visitors probably experienced your church online first? If you don’t have a church website, this could be why your church isn’t growing as fast as you want.
You might be thinking that an online church doesn’t matter and that only the physical church is important. While a highly cited New York Times post talks about how an Internet church isn’t really a church, others vehemently disagree. Of course, Unseminary points out that it’s all in how you manage your church’s online community.
So yes, taking your church online is controversial. However, one of the top church trends for 2020 is letting your church’s online presence serve as the front door of your church. This is where people find you, get to know you and then come to your physical location.
People Want Connections, Not Experiences
Many churches work hard to provide memorable experiences. Yet, most people are looking more for community and real connections with fellow Christians. Constantly bringing in special guests and bands or constantly going on trips isn’t what people are looking for going into 2020.
They want more local ministry, conversations and community events. It’s about growing together as a family. Even followers online are more interested in real conversations and finding others so they don’t feel so alone in their faith.
Your Online Presence Must Evolve
More than ever, your church’s online presence must evolve in 2020. Having a few pages on your site with your church’s mission statement, hours and contact details isn’t enough.
You have to have a way to reach out to those who find you online. Speak to them through blog posts and interact with comments. Embrace a social media presence and be active with your followers.
While you won’t need to be an online expert, you need to take the same care and personality you have in your church to those who need you online. Remember, it’s not just random people. You have members who may be sick or injured and can’t attend. There may be strangers who are desperately seeking a reason to believe and need that community.
As your online presence evolves from basic contact information to an engaging Christian community, you’ll have new visitors, new members and a more involved community both online and off.
Have Staff Focused On Online Tasks
This one is especially true for smaller churches. With a better online presence being part of church trends for 2020, you need staff dedicated to the task. Asking the church secretary to manage social media and your volunteer leader to update the website probably isn’t going to work out so well.
Why? They already have other responsibilities. This means your church’s online presence is just a side note. Would you consider welcoming new visitors as just as side note? No, you have people dedicated to this task.
You don’t have to hire people specifically, but make sure they have ample time within their schedules to handle your website and social media profiles. If there are Internet-savvy people in your church family, ask if they’d volunteer to help out, especially with moderating comments/posts.
Improve Your Culture Or Lose Out
Your church leadership and team have to get along. If there is a toxic culture among leaders, it will spread out to your members. While this obviously doesn’t apply to all churches, remember that drama will hurt your church.
The worst part is a bad culture within your church will come out online. Members talk about it. It rears its ugly head when leaders air out dirty laundry in social media posts. Even blog posts may have a negative tone to them.
None of this is very inviting. As 2020 approaches, a trend towards creating a more positive and worship friendly culture is emerging. Focusing on internal problems is the first step towards a better church.
Be Ready To Have Conversations
Preaching is great, but it’s time for churches to start having conversations. After services on Sundays, ask a question on social media on Mondays. Don’t just ask the question, but reply to comments and follower questions.
This is a chance to have personal discussions. For those who aren’t on social media, ask them to submit questions via text or a postcard they can drop off at the church. Then, address those questions during your next service.
The idea is to go beyond the sermon and initiate more conversations. These should be between members, online followers and church leaders. This shows you care about engaging and teaching throughout the week and not just on Sundays.
Communications Budgets Focus On The Digital
How much of your communications and marketing budget is focused on print? While you shouldn’t give up on print, one of the major church trends for 2020 is focusing more of the budget on digital communications.
This includes email, text, social media and online ads. Overall, it’s more cost-effective, as long as you’re delivering content subscribers want. Our guide to creating a must-read newsletter might help with that.
Remember, a mix of print and digital works well. However, over half of your budget should go to digital communications, especially if that’s what your members prefer. If you want to grow your church, you’ll reach more new visitors this way too.
Take Time For Personal Touches
Sending out a bunch of general communications is nice and it’s quick. However, it’s not exactly personal. Take the time for personal touches. For instance, if a volunteer has gone above and beyond, don’t just mention them in the next newsletter. Send them a physical thank you card signed by their team and church leaders.
Of course, recognizing great work in newsletters is personal too. When you’re communicating online, thank people for their great questions or comments.
Whenever you can add a personal touch, you’re keeping with the coming 2020 trend of better personal communication.
Stay In Contact With Your Entire Community
It’s not uncommon for church communications to focus mainly on members. Or, churches try to reach the entire world. But, what about your local community? Go beyond just reaching out to your local area during major holidays.
Instead, host events all year for your entire community. Post content on social media that’s relevant to them too. This gets them interacting, even if they don’t consider themselves churchgoers. At least you’re reaching them and that’s a great start.
Introduce Personality/Skill Surveys
This trend is slowly growing and will get a lot more attention in the coming year. If you want to know more about your members, embrace one of the major church trends for 2020 – personality/skill surveys.
While this may sound more technical and less personal, it actually benefits everyone. Often times, members and new visitors aren’t sure where they fit in. They don’t know what ministry programs to focus on or volunteer opportunities to try. Of course, you don’t know nearly as much about them as you’d like to either.
Make it completely optional, but ask everyone to take an online personality and skills survey. You can use any major personality test site, such as those listed on Workstyle and The Muse. For skills, just ask people to list their skills and interests.
Then, you can better understand your members and figure out what’s important to them. You might uncover great volunteering ideas just by getting to know your members’ skills.
An Increased Focus On Paid Social Media
The last thing you probably want to think about is paying for something else. However, using paid social media ads is a good idea and you don’t have to budget much. You could spend just $5 a week and see results.
Since sites like Facebook are drastically limiting pages’ organic reach, ads are sometimes the only way to reach the people you need to. Going into 2020, paying for ads can save you both time and money. Plus, you reach people faster, growing your church faster.
Engage More Through Social Media Video
Live streaming and turning your messages into appealing videos have both become incredibly popular throughout the last few years. Expect this to be one of the biggest church trends for 2020. Social media video is your friend. Embrace it.
You get to talk directly to your followers. With live streaming, you get questions and comments in real-time. This is perfect for the personalized communications trend as well.
Make it a weekly thing. Shoot short videos with announcements. Create fun slideshows with music for Bible studies or suggested reading. You can even have sermon teaser trailers.
Embrace More Interactive Church Services
Make your church services much more interactive. As you can see, communication is one of the overreaching church trends for 2020. This means it’s time to get your members much more involved in services.
Ask questions and let members submit comments and their own questions throughout. Have a church leader fielding these and adding them in to your regular services. Members feel more engaged and you’re better able to cater services to their needs. At the same time, it’s a far more personalized worship session.
Offer Online Training For Volunteers
Sometimes, it’s hard for people to volunteer because they’re just not sure what to do. Jumping into a team environment and feeling like the only one who doesn’t have experience is intimidating. Get more people to volunteer by offering online training. Create a training video and use it for years.
This allows volunteers to learn at their own pace and on their own time. This saves church leaders and other volunteers valuable time. Plus, you get more trained volunteers, allowing your church to do more.
Improve Audio And Video Systems In Church
Sometimes, churches focus too much on their online or digital presence and forget about the inside of the church. While you don’t need to go all out on big productions, you want people to be able to see and hear without a problem.
For larger churches, video systems may be necessary. Of course, to make it easier to focus on major points or to remind people of where to turn in their Bibles, have a large monitor to the side of the pastor listing all this. If you have any hearing-impaired members, a monitor is essential to help them enjoy the sermon.
Of course, make sure you’ve equipped your church with surround sound so everyone gets a chance to hear without the pastor yelling. This creates a much more personal experience – the type people want even more as you head into 2020.
Ready to embrace some of these trends? Start with your online presence and contact us to learn more about creating a church website.
I really like how you mentioned that people are more likely to discover your church online first these days which is why it’s important to make sure you have a good website and online presence. That will make it much easier for younger generations to not only find but gain interest in your church. It’s important that churches keep up to date with kids and make an image of themselves as the trendy church if they want to be seen after all. My kids and I just moved to this new town and I hope to get them to attend church more, I’m really looking for a church that will be able to hold their interest and I find myself agreeing with all of your points. It was a great article and more churches should follow your advice.
Thanks, Tammie! I hope you guys find a great church!