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The Hidden Cost of Using the Wrong Tech for Your Small Church


Tech for smaller churches will help develop and deepen relationships and encourage discipleship. Below we’ll show you easy ways to choose the right tech for your small church.

But first, let’s be honest: some hidden costs aren’t really all that hidden. 

For instance, the cost of buying cheap equipment. (It soon breaks, forcing the purchaser to shell out more than if they’d opted for quality in the first place.) Or the cost of worry: diminished joy, productivity, and health. 

When it comes to church tech, though, the hidden cost lives up to the name. 

Hidden Costs of the Wrong Church Tech

Find the best criteria for choosing the right tech for your small church.

The wrong tech can cost unnecessary time and money, that’s obvious. 

But it all adds up to a much, much bigger price tag that many churches never realize is there.

One of Jesus’ final commands was to ​​“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19–20a ESV). 

The right tech can help churches accomplish that Great Commission. On the other hand, the wrong tech gets in the way of making disciples.

Empower workers: How A Digital Discipleship Plan Will Empower More People For Faithful Ministry

How To Choose the Right Church Tech For Smaller Churches

The free guide Adapt or Dwindle: Futureproof Your Small Church explains how the wrong tech discourages discipleship and helps churches choose the right tech. It gives five criteria to help you evaluate options and select the software that best serves you.

Here are the first two, excerpted from the guide.

Criterion 1: Make sure it’s relational

Small churches rely on relationships. Of course, that statement won’t surprise anyone who has spent much time in small churches. Any new pastor who comes into a small church and doesn’t invest time to understand its relationship will probably struggle. 

Karl Vaters wrote, “The bigger the church, the more important it is to spend time honing our communication skills; the smaller the church, the more time we need to spend fostering relationships.”

As a leader in a small church, you can’t afford to let church technology stand in the way of relationships. Technology can’t—and shouldn’t—replace relationships. Instead, it needs to empower the people of your church to deepen relationships with one another.

As a leader in a small church, you can’t afford to let church technology stand in the way of relationships. Instead, it needs to empower the people of your church to deepen relationships with one another. Click To Tweet

Social Media Benefits

Before you’re tempted to think that’s a fool’s errand, think about how some of today’s most significant tech solutions work. For example, take social media. At times, social media can exacerbate a sense of isolation and loneliness. But on the other hand, hundreds of millions worldwide have also used platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to forge new relationships and strengthen existing ones. 

More than likely, the people in your church are significantly more aware of what’s going on in the lives of fellow parishioners than they were a decade ago. Every day they can scroll through photos of birthday parties, videos of first steps, and announcements of upcoming weddings and funerals. Often, these social media posts lead to deeper, more informed conversations when your parishioners meet in person. 

Your small church’s tech has the same potential to strengthen relationships. 

Questions To Consider

Before investing in new technology, ask yourself these three questions about its ability to strengthen relationships in your church:

  1. Will your new technology allow your church’s users to engage one another when they can’t get together in person?
  2. Will your technology free you and your team from burdensome tasks that hinder face-to-face ministry?
  3. Will this piece of technology equip you and your team to view and respond to needs more effectively?

Criterion 2: Make sure it’s simple

In a small church with a small staff, your time is precious. Time is always tight, but when you have a limited number of leaders who may have a smaller slice of their week to devote to your ministry, every minute counts. 

You don’t have time for complicated tech. Realistically, you don’t have time to spend endless hours trying to learn the latest technological trick. 

Simplicity saves you time, and you shouldn’t need to be a tech wizard to make tech work for you. For example, Apple taught us this lesson nearly 20 years ago with the launch of the first iPod. You didn’t need to mess with a hundred buttons to get your favorite music. On the contrary, by simply looking at it you knew how to use its iconic wheel at the center of the device to change the volume and select a song. Other devices did what the iPod did, but the iPod (and later the iPhone) became integrated into early twenty-first-century life because it was easy to use, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing. 

Also, simplicity means the learning curve is short. You shouldn’t need a phonebook-sized instruction manual to use technology.

As a smaller church, it's worth the cost to invest in easy-to-learn technology. Choose tech that's intuitive and aesthetically pleasing as well as robust. Click To Tweet

Get all the need-to-know facts about tech for small churches in Faithlife’s new guide, Adapt or Dwindle: Futureproof Your Small Church

Study Reviews For Small Church Tech

Today, nearly every product you’re looking to purchase has amassed a large collection of online user content that will give you a glimpse into how it works. Spend some time looking at those reviews and see how simply the product operates—and how much help you get in areas where it’s complicated. Some due diligence at the beginning will help you save money (and time) in the long run.

Questions To Consider

To ensure you’re investing in a simple tech solution, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. How simple is the product marketing information you’ve looked through? (Simple technology can be described simply. Complicated tech cannot.)
  2. Have you looked at online reviews of the product to ensure that present customers can use the technology simply?
  3. Will this technology vendor provide appropriate support to help you if you have problems in implementation?

3 More Criteria

To discover the three other criteria for choosing tech that helps your church accomplish its mission, download the full guide.

Your next article —
No-brainer church tech:  5 Ways Your Church Can Use Text Messaging To Connect and Disciple

In your experience, what’s been the BEST outcome of the RIGHT church tech?

Mary Jahnke
Mary Jahnke
Mary Jahnke has a background in marketing, especially for Christian education, and serves as a content marketing specialist for Faithlife. She also has experience in church communications and is always looking for helpful knowledge to share.


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