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New Study Reveals How the American Church Depends on Tech, Digital Media

Photo by Kevin Gonzalez via Unsplash

New Study Reveals How the American Church Depends on Tech, Digital Media

By Movieguide® Staff

According to a new study called The 2021 State of Church Technology Report, most American churches believe that social media is not a long-term strategy for their digital ministry. However, the survey data shows that 93% of participants agreed that digital presence, through livestream or recorded sermons, is essential for church ministry in America.

The 2021 study surveyed almost 2,000 church leaders involved in “ministries of every size, from all across the faith spectrum.”

“For example, the amount of tech solutions a church already employs dramatically affects their opinions and behaviors. If a church is currently using no technology — that includes basics like social media, email, etc. — they’re dramatically less likely to consider tech important for their future,” the research, conducted through PushPay, read.

“But the most compelling insight lies in the difference between what churches are currently using, as opposed to what they consider ‘strategically important’ for them in the next few years. For instance, while 94% of churches are currently using social media, just 53% think those platforms will be strategically important for them moving forward,” they explained.

“Put another way, while social media is overwhelmingly the most popular digital tool today, churches are telling us that solutions like ChMS, mobile apps, scheduling systems, livestreaming, and more will all be more valuable to them in the near future. This doesn’t mean Facebook and Instagram are going away; it means that they’re already in the fold, and churches are interested in expanding their tech portfolio as they continue to grow.”

The research also shows that the COVID-19 pandemic changed how most American churches operated.

In the fall of 2019, only 22% of pastors live-streamed their full service, according to LifeWay Research.

However, more churches pursued a digital strategy alongside their in-person ministry in the wake of pandemic-related lockdowns.

“More than any time in history, churches are enthusiastic to adopt technology for the long haul. The pandemic erased any doubts regarding the viability of a digital Church. Ministries all around the world successfully adapted to the challenges presented by COVID by leveraging technology to strengthen their communities and continue accomplishing their good work,” researchers said.

“While we’re all excited for life to get back to normal, it’s clear that churches have no intention of abandoning their tech solutions. One case study is the transition to livestreaming. Ninety-one percent of churches report that they currently livestream at least some of their services,” they added. “More telling than that, however, is that 94% of those churches state that they’ll continue to livestream over the next 12 months, presumably regardless of their ability to meet their congregation in person.”

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