We are living into a new era of church leadership, ministry, and development. As a community builder for church leaders, I rely on carefully curated tech tools to help manage daily communications and connect deeply with new faces and long-term members.
Yes, these tech tools help me connect more deeply with the highly relational community I serve. I’ll explain how I use each one as I introduce my favorites.
9 Important Tech Tools For Churches That Build Community and Improve Efficiency
1. Shift: Work Organization
Shift is new for me, but juggling multiple Gmail accounts, tabs, Google Drive documents, and work is a pain. This workstation makes some of the pain go away. Somehow, it keeps everything clean enough to keep work moving in the right direction. I have to confess that I have a strong distaste for 3rd party email clients that often bog down, get buggy, or secretly load up your hard drive. (Don’t believe me? Check to see if your favorite mail client isn’t hogging all the RAM or hard drive space. It happens all the time!)
2. Evernote: Digital Brain
I am biased. I have been hanging out with the green elephant since college. Much like my affinity for Apple products, some of the appeal of Evernote is just history. I have so much information committed here that it’s hard to imagine leaving. Evernote is a vital piece of my workflow because it’s where all of the ideas, blogs, courses, communications, and rough drafts start.
If you are swirling in a whirlwind of words, ideas, content, and flow, you need to trust this go-to tool that collects them all. Evernote is the best place for me to store little notes, ideas, and then tag them all to get ready for whatever their final homes will be.
3. Google Calendar: So Basic.
As far as tech tools go, there are cooler calendar options, but the combination of Shift and the iOS Google calendar app makes it simple and functional enough to not merit another slick 3rd party app.
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UNIQUE TECH TOOLS FOR CHURCHES
Now it’s time to discuss my favorite, unique tech tools for churches. The rest of the stack is really my personalized toolkit for the work I am so passionate about doing for the Kingdom. I have learned in the last few years that automating the process doesn’t necessarily mean I am automating or alienating relationships. In some ways, a healthy dose of automation keeps me centered and organized enough to care for a lot of people as well as I can.Don't be afraid to automate. As a pastor, automating your work doesn't mean you're automating relationships. On the contrary, used correctly, tech tools will keep you organized and focused enough to care for people well. Click To Tweet
4. Calendly: Appointments With New And Unique Concerns
A lot of things in my life start with Calendly. In fact, I think everyone should have an appointment booking software in their life at this point. No more back and forth with, “When can you meet?,” but just simply: “Here: pick a time that works for you.”
In my line of work, connecting potential new members or catching up with existing members means finding a time that works for both of us. Having those meetings organized by time, type, and calendar integration means a lot to me. Moreover, the pro-level addition of sending automated reminder texts is a dream for a scattered and busy brain. This tech tool has become a non-negotiable for me.
5. Zapier: App-Connecting Magic
If you aren’t using it already then stop right now and get signed up because this is where my technology starts to stack. Zapier is the service that connects all of my community-building apps to make the stew I need to run a community of 500+ ministers online. Check out this helpful tech tool.
6. Mighty Networks: Members-Only Area
Mighty Networks is our ace-in-the-hole when it comes to tech tools for community building. It’s a front door to help connect the dots between content and communication. Likewise, it creates create space for smaller groups to connect within our community.
I have to admit and confess that Gina B. (CEO of Mighty Networks) is a hero of mine, and her work throughout the years to bring helpful and healthy communities to everyday folks is near and dear to my work. The latest iteration from her team is Mighty Networks, and I think any church or organization looking for a customizable and affordable member management/community builder solution should check out what they are doing.
We use it in our day-to-day work at Youth Ministry Booster, connecting over 500 youth pastors from across 3 countries in various cohorts and across a broader context. Mighty Networks is one of the tech tools that I think more ministers should utilize when it comes to creating an infrastructure for hybrid ministry solutions. It is a scalable solution for churches of 200 or 2000, and we have worked with several ministries to utilize it as a digital members platform as they seek to do meaningful ministry between the weekends.
7. ConvertKit: Email Messaging/Marketing
There are a lot of great options when it comes to email services, but I’m a big fan of ConvertKit. I have followed along with them for the last few years, and when it comes to writing, editing, and sending tidy emails to our community, they are just tops. They integrate well with our stack and help keep email messaging clean and focused.
We send out a lot of graphics-heavy stuff through other channels, so it’s freeing to utilize a clean, simple, and reliable tool like ConvertKit to organize and send our emails. Also, they were some of the first to offer an incredibly easy tagging system for organizing email lists, and I can’t say enough nice things about their level of support and interaction, even with top people like COO Barrett Brooks.
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8. SimpleTexting: Actionable Communication
Text messaging is the new email, and if you don’t have a plan to collect, send, and interact with your community in their most-checked inbox, then you’re behind. Much like ConvertKit and email, there are a dozen companies you could go with, but SimpleTexting keeps it simple and plays nice with Zapier.
This tech tool is guaranteed quick access, action, and feedback within a community. If I want a quick survey response from a certain group of leaders or need to chase down a response, it just works. It also has been the best way to nurture interest and build relationships with new folks to become more core in our community. A great texting service will make it easy for a few managers to send, reply, and connect with people beyond group gatherings and truly serve your people.Consider text messaging a person's most-checked inbox. As a church leader, get on board with this mode of communication. Once considered too personal, texting is now as commonplace as chatting at the school pick-up line. Click To Tweet
9. Bonjoro: Personalized Video Messaging
Bonjoro is our video short-messaging service and it is the personal touch that helps solidify the whole community-building tech stack. Emails are informative, texts are actionable, but personalized videos are just endearing. Bonjoro integrates easily with Convertkit, Zapier, Mighty Networks, and Calendly to make sure everyone who is a VIP for us gets the personal touch.
I usually spend Friday mornings catching up on a week’s worth of messages to warmly and informally just say thank you. This piece of the stack is our most commented upon as we thank contacts for connecting and welcome new members. It’s ridiculously simple to use with either their browser plug-in or phone app. Also, their video leads funnel playbook is the pinnacle of a lead magnet. They not only want you to use their product, they educate you on it as well. I can’t recommend a service like Bonjoro enough for folks trying to leave an impression on how much they really do care about their people, congregation, members, and new contacts.
SHARE TECH TOOL IDEAS WITH OTHER LEADERS
These tech tools for churches are have been instrumental in my work building a hybrid community. When used creatively and wisely, they’ll also benefit your church or faith-based ministry. There is a lot of room for growth in how church leaders connect the dots from Sunday to Sunday, and a lot of great tools that other folks have created that church leaders should begin to use. Feel free to find me on social channels so we can continue the conversation.
For more tech tips, be sure to check out 6 Top Scheduling Software Tools and Apps to Solve Planning Confusion.