The Growing Need for, and Emergence of, Tech-Savvy Churches

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If you haven’t been to church for a while, you may have memories of dressing in your finest clothes, sitting quietly on a pew, and paying attention while the preacher spoke dryly about a topic that wasn’t relevant enough. In order to keep up with the changing needs and expectations of their congregants, many churches know they must be as tech-savvy as possible. After all, the people accessing the churches often love technology, and see it as a natural extension of themselves.

Churches Save Money Through Facebook Broadcasts

Throughout the ages, churches around the world have struggled to figure out ways to reach the greatest number of people at the lowest cost. At first, in the tech age, that meant using an online streaming video service that allowed individuals to tune into services no matter where they were in the world.

This method had notable advantages, especially because it began removing physical and distance-based limitations that made people hesitant to go to church. If a person were feeling sick due to a contagious ailment, he or she would likely decide not to attend church that week. However, churches that broadcast sermons online are appropriate for everyone with the proper technology, regardless of physical health. It also made it easier for people to attend church if factors related to family life, such as childcare, made that otherwise difficult.

However, live service broadcasts were initially pricey because specialty companies facilitated them. Today, its different. Choosing to broadcast services on Facebook allows churches to cut costs. After purchasing some basic equipment, pastors go on Facebook Live and speak their messages for free. The only expense involved relates to the video streaming equipment.

Theologian Peter Rollins is a Northern Irish-born pastor who recently moved to Los Angeles. Hes one example of a religious professional who regularly turns to Facebook Live to spread his message. Rollins regularly participates in speaking engagements on numerous continents, which means it’s hard to pin down where he’ll be and when. However, distance and geography are no longer such pressing challenges thanks to the user-friendly capabilities of Facebook Live. Rollins simply broadcasts as needed or desired, when time permits.

Churches Broaden Their Reach Through Social Media

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In past generations, people congregated in their nearest town squares to meet with their neighbors. Tech-knowledgeable people argue strongly about how social media is our modern version of the town square.

That’s why many forward-thinking churches realize to remain absent from social media likely means missing out on potentially reaching many more people. Church bulletins were once the main method of communication when spreading the word about everything from picnics to fundraisers. Although some congregations still use them, most likely don’t rely solely on paper-based ways of broadcasting the news now.

Instead, they probably supplement their outreach by going on social media sites like Twitter. By mentioning similar things in a church bulletin and across social media, churches ensure they’re getting more coverage regardless of how people prefer to hear about what’s going on in their chosen religious communities.

Social media feeds also work well for distributing other types of information. Check out The Way International on Twitter for an example. The Way International is a non-denominational, worldwide organization dedicated to teaching, researching, and fellowshipping around God’s word.

It was established in the early 1940s, long before Twitter was part of society’s radar. However, a quick look at the organizations Twitter feed shows how readily the group has adapted to changing needs. You can learn more about how to get recorded versions of sermons in multiple languages, check out an online version of the group’s magazine, and receive reminders of meaningful scriptures. Clearly, this is one organization that’s in tune with how many members of modern society prefer to receive news.

Churches Take Part in a Popular App

Several months ago, the Pokemon Go app took the world by storm. It requires players to interact with their environments to progress through levels in the game. Wisely, many churches recognized its mass appeal early on and did what they could to engage with Pokemon Go fans.

Many genuine locations around communities serve as Pokemon gyms, where players go to improve their performances in the game. Some churches designated their buildings as such places, which usually either caused players to drive by slowly in cars, or linger around the premises.

In theory, luring people to church environments in that way could make them more willing to come to the house of worship for other reasons. However, it could also be argued the Pokemon Go foot traffic makes things more congested for people who want to be there purely for faith-based reasons.

Now that you’ve learned several ways churches are responding to societal trends and becoming more tech savvy, its easy to have a different view of what it means to receive input from a church. Its no longer necessary to only do that while sitting placidly in a pew.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, always revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance producer for USA Today, and a contributor at Technorati. She lives in Utah with her 2 kids and husband. Melissa Thompson can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter @melthompson88. Please follow and friend her on either site.