5 Ways to Advance Church Growth Through Technology
As a leader, pastor or elder in your church, the growth of your church is probably a topic that keeps you up at night. Monitoring church growth is only as effective as a church’s ability to track where you have been and where you are going next. Tracking your growth not only serves the purposes of growth metrics, it also tells the story of your church. This story is often a connecting point for members and regular attendees. We have found that churches grow through giving members a variety of ways to engage and by making engagement easy.
It’s no secret that tracking growth by attendance and generosity numbers is a time-honored tradition. Do you remember the church attendance board that was updated every week when you were a kid? Maybe your church still has one, but there is more to the growth story than what’s on that board every week. An accurate count of how many people are attending church each weekend is important, don’t get me wrong (reporting these numbers regularly shows transparency), and the accuracy and importance of tracking numbers like those will never fade, but there is more to consider when it comes to growth. It is even more significant to know who is sitting in your seats every single week. Knowing the who behind an attendance number allows church leaders to be aware of the people who make up their church community.
Tracking who is in your church community, their level of involvement, contact information, family members and giving history isn’t easy. There has to be a better way to track growth metrics that give a more accurate indication of people’s involvement. Thankfully, it’s 2017, and the world is at our fingertips with smartphones. As the world has grown to adopt technological solutions for everyday problems, your church should be no exception to this trend.
In fact, your church members and attendees are adopting their faith and the way they live it out in the technological age. Let’s take a look:
- 38% of people increased their Bible readership last year by downloading a Bible app or by listening to religious podcasts and streaming services.
- In the past thirty days, about 21.5 million adults will have visited the website of their own place of worship.
- 42% of churches facilitate online giving.
As these statistics show, technology is integrated into how people engage with the church. Working with many churches over the years, we have been able to identify a few ways technology solutions have successfully helped churches build engagement, and as a result, experience significant growth. Here are five ways technology can help accelerate church growth:
The Guest Experience
It only takes seven minutes for a guest to formulate a first impression of your church. Why not engage them with not only your physical building but also through technology. Have your church app, your website, social media channels and next points of engagement advertised around your campus (at the guest center, educate your volunteers, included in the announcements, etc.). With the points of virtual connection prominent, people are likely to engage these channels as well and take note that you value a connection with your audience beyond face to face interaction.
Train and Coordinate Volunteers
Volunteers who understand the importance of their role and are equipped to fulfill their responsibilities are essential for effective ministry to your church. Technology not only helps you train volunteers with videos or interactive elements, it also helps you manage and communicate with volunteers more effectively. Utilizing specific chat features or group pages that are all within the same platform creates a convenience for volunteers to find information easily.
Track Members, Regular Attenders & First Time Guests
With an integrated and actively updated database, each person who sets foot in your church can have a profile by volunteering minimal personal information. Information can be captured through online giving and saved to a profile, as well as through an online interactive form that can be accessed through an app or through a link sent via a text message. Whatever you do, gathering information about who is in your church is vital. Technology ensures you don’t lose track of people by eliminating data silos and unifying the information you gathered into one place.
Improve Follow-Up With Guests & Communication
You can record a first-time guest’s personal communication preferences on an online form and follow up in a way that’s most appealing to them (email, phone call, text message). Online forms can also help your regular attendees and members easily submit prayer requests, concerns or praises anonymously to church staff during the week without feeling like they are “bothering” them with a phone call or lengthy text message.
Technology Supports The Goal of Growth
Technology improves engagement and retention by making it easier for everyone to find and get involved with a group or connect with your church. Once someone has established relationships with others in your community, technology helps guide them toward taking responsibility for their own spiritual development and for a portion of one of the ministries within the church.
Your church is growing beyond numbers on a Sunday morning attendance board. All it takes is adjusting the medium and mindset of what growth actually looks like. Growth is vital to the expansion of the Gospel. If we have growing, healthy and thriving churches, then the message of Christ has no limit. With technology here to stay, it’s invaluable to know how your church has grown in the past and where it’s currently growing. Embracing what apps, websites and mobile technology have to offer can only grow our churches and the message of Jesus.