I was talking with a friend the other day about the importance of technology growth for churches, especially church webinars, and my friend stopped me in my tracks. She recounted a moment in her church the other week when the pastor stopped his sermon to call out a teenager in the audience who didn’t seem to be paying attention. All the pastor could see from his pulpit was a young man, head down and on his phone. The teen apologized for what it looked like and told the pastor that he was simply reading the Bible verse the pastor referenced during the sermon. The teen was using the growth of technology to his advantage — an app of the Bible on his phone. Resourceful? Yes. Disrespectful? There’s quite a debate on the matter.
While it’s a given that there’s a time and place for technology – churches do need to make the most of technology being so accessible – and not only on Sundays. Being engaged with technology is crucial for a growing church and growing audience. Technology is such a prominent part of our lives nowadays. A recent study shows 93 percent of churches think technology is an essential part of their church’s mission.
So what’s the best way to get your congregation to participate and increase attendance on these platforms? When you have a new church management system or are relaunching an initiative, (re)introduce them to your programs by offering a few different avenues of learning, and growth will occur, including the critical webinars.
Make Access Easy
From initial sign-ups for your app to diving deeper with more details, learning new things is most advantageous when there’s someone to guide your flock. Announcements in your bulletin, from the pulpit, in your Sunday schools and small groups, on your website, on your social media, and in emails ensure that you are reaching all outlets of communication. Get your congregation comfortable with technology.
Your Own On-site Experts
Have a point-person or two or three to tackle in-person questions. You’ll want to have someone knowledgeable and accessible for walk-ins who have questions about the technology being used. You’ll also want to have someone accessible to the congregation when they’re primarily on campus – the Sunday mornings from before services and Sunday school to Wednesday family nights and small group meetings throughout the week. For an initiative to take off, your flock needs to know that asking for help is not an issue. Managing these relationships need to be an effective, ongoing effort.
Demos and Webinars
Connect. Move forward with your congregation by hosting a few in-person demonstrations and webinars at different times throughout the week. Showing your flock how easy your apps are to use is instrumental for getting them to catch on. Your members not only will learn in a group setting, but also they will pass along information and encourage each other.
Once your flock is comfortable on their own with the technology, continue to offer webinars to continue their educational growth. Continue to make announcements throughout all your outlets (before worship service, emails, online, social media, small groups, etc.). And ask for RSVPs, capture those contacts, and always follow up with reminders ahead of time.
A fun way to keep an audience engaged and coming back for your webinars is to entice! Have door prizes, educational game prizes – to keep the audience growing and coming back for more. Little gifts and acknowledgments will make a difference to let your attendees know you appreciate them.
Leveraging technology, when used fully, can provide incredible opportunities for connections, instruction and information. Stay authentic to your audience and technology will enhance your mission.
Know the Secrets of Adapting to an Ever-Changing Culture with the Timeless Good News of the Gospel. If you want to reach more people, this guide will give you an inside look at what practices and initiatives growing churches will do this year.
Kimberly spent several years in communications and graphic design roles, including at a Florence church that uses ACST solutions, before joining ACST in October. Before her communications roles, she managed the newsroom as the content editor. Kimberly is a cradle Catholic who’s active in church life, serving in volunteer roles and participating in Bible studies.