The mobile device industry has touched nearly everyone in ministry in one way or another. Mobile use is now nearly ubiquitous, as well as incredibly diverse and accessible.
So what does mobile look like for folks who work in ministry but do not have pastoral roles? Ministries such as children’s and youth ministry, church communication and marketing, and welcome teams and facilities management face some of the most changes in terms of mobile. With accessible mobile devices and services, what does the future for interactions look like for these ministries?
1) Children’s and Youth Ministry
It’s pretty hard to go many public places and not see kids of all ages on mobile devices. And truly the generational change is happening faster than most perceive. So, what are some of the trends worth paying attention to for children and teen ministries:
- Mobile-enabled check-in services for multi-children families, with mobile notifications
- Mobile and social networking for bulletin announcements first, paper and general announcements later
- Filtered, limited networking in children spaces
2) Church Communication and Marketing
In that same report linked above, we note not just the impact of mobile, but how pervasive it has been across all demographics. In the faith space, mobile marketing and media activities has historically been about repackaging what’s going to other domains (radio, TV, PC, desktop web). The growth of mobile marks the need for a change in that strategy. While mobile only marketing materials may be excessive, the need for mobile friendly content is a must.
Here are some opportunities to see more of going forward:
- Collecting and utilizing social media handles or SMS for contacts rather than phone number and email
- Utilizing memory cards (in addition or or instead of CD/DVDs) to share media engagements
3) Welcome Teams and Facilities Management
We think of ushers and welcome teams as a high-touch endeavor. Traditionally, there feels to be a good bit of tension between what happens on connected devices, and what happens with touch. Facilities management isn’t just about cleaning, but security, audio/video, and landscaping. So, we should see some continued light-treading here. Nevertheless, there are some opportunities:
- Giving and notifications when offsite (using Square, PayPal Here, or other services)
- Using a retail model of deployed VIPs, enabled with mobile devices, to record, answer, and direct persons towards on-site opportunities
- Adding power stations to common meeting areas, enabling that time to charge devices as also an oasis for fellowship
- More efforts to connected devices to control rooms, environments, and resources in specific rooms (such as presentation materials, locks, etc.)
Mobile and connected devices are certainly in the corner of being very disruptive to just about every industry. And its clear from just our examples above that the trends and opportunities present might ask us all to reconsider our relationship to one another and the technologies present. Facilities management, local/regional missions, sports, education, and other ministries all have some response to gather as mobile devices, services and their owners investigate what does and doesn’t work.
For the church, the key will always be to keep the technology from encroaching on the abilities of those persons serving. While we can learn from those who might be more attached to those devices, we also have lessons from past media integration efforts that teach us that some items are a distraction before they are an enablement. So far, mobile is proving to be one part distraction, and another part enabler. In ministries, even more than the pastorate, the place for more has to be concentrated on keeping the ministry outcomes forward.