Churches continue to evolve how they are using digital tools and technology in ministry in 2023. Technologies like virtual reality, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence might be pipedreams for most churches, but there has been progress in terms of technology adoption overall. With the advancement and proliferation of digital tools and offerings, churches are integrating digital tools to reach their members and serve their communities more effectively.
Pushpay, a church giving payments solution provider, released its 2023 State of Church Technology report, an annual benchmark study that presents current digital trends across the Church. The research, which was commissioned by Pushpay, was fielded in September and October 2022. Insights reveal priorities, concerns, and expectations of church leaders related to various digital ministry strategies. Digital solutions undoubtedly play a significant role in the Church today, with 94 percent indicating technology is important to helping them achieve their mission.
One interesting finding is that more than half of churches (53%) consider themselves progressive when it comes to technology adoption and usage today. “Most of the time we hear about how the church is resistant to change and to the modernization oftechnology. Though there is a lot of truth to this, it is only one part of the story,” said Erwin Raphael McManus, Founder at Mosaic Church in California.
“Throughout history, the church has been at the epicenter of technological change and advancement. This report shows us just how important technology can be to the Church and its mission.” The study captures insights from nearly 2,200 technology decision-makers and influencers from churches across the United States—all varying in size, geographic locations, and denominations.
7 Trends For Church Technology In Ministry For 2023
Here are select findings from the PushPay Report:
● Hybrid church is here to stay: 89% of churches indicate they are currently hybrid, offering both in-person and online services. 81% plan to continue doing so in the future. Only 10% reported they currently offer in-person only services.
● Church-specific tools are on the rise: 86% of leaders report they do not want more technology tools. As churches aim to reduce waste, leaders are signaling they want consolidated, integrated, and purpose-built tools. Nearly half (45%) of churches indicate they currently use 5-9 different digital tools, which is steady from last year.
● Church management software (ChMS) and donor management software are more in demand than ever, with adoption increasing significantly this year to 89%.
● Custom streaming tools are the way of the future: 91% of churches currently use social media for live streaming, yet only 47% plan on using social media for live streaming in the future. This indicates an increased reliance on customer video players, embeds, and specialized technology in the future.
● 48% of respondents also indicated that tools in multiple languages would be strategically important for them in the next two to three years, as well as marketing through geotargeting (47%).
● Increased awareness of digital security: More church leaders than ever are starting to become more conscious and vocal about digital security—10% more churches from last year are communicating information about IT and data privacy to their congregation.
● Eager to explore emerging tech: Only 8% of churches currently offer church in the Metaverse, but 25% said they plan to offer options in the Metaverse a year from now.
“The enthusiasm for digital remains as technology helps the Church increase flexibility, adaptability, and reach in ministry,” said Molly Matthews, Pushpay CEO. “We are seeing an exciting shift in the faith sector as church leaders are becoming more tech-savvy and eager to explore new approaches to engagement in a digital era.”
Barriers to church technology implementation
As the Church navigates a post-pandemic world and ongoing economic pressures, budget constraints remain the biggest challenge to prioritizing new technology purchases, with the majority of churches (58%) allocating 10 percent or less of their annual budget to technology spend. Other top barriers include staffing, implementation, ease of use, and support.
In the coming weeks, Pushpay will also be releasing a targeted report for large churches (weekly attendance of 1,100+), mid-sized churches (weekly attendance of 200-1,099), and a report that captures digital trends in the Catholic Church specifically. The full report is available at www.pushpay.com.