Church technology audit: See if your software censors your church

June 22, 2022

Churches today rely heavily on the latest technology. After all, technology enables your church to easily reach people with gospel-centered messages, streamline your communication, and automate your operations. That’s why most churches have adopted digital tools! For example:

While these tools are useful, they’re made by Big Tech companies that mute, censor, and deplatform Christian ministries and leaders on a regular basis. Your church may have experienced these types of interruptions directly, or have heard about other churches who have been affected by religious censorship.

That’s why we created the following “Church Technology Audit” to help you evaluate how Big Tech may be limiting your church in ways you may have not heard of or even thought about. Let’s take a look!

Church social media

If your church is like the majority of other churches, you’re probably using social media tools like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, there are many ways that your social media content can be muted, censored, or otherwise limited in its effectiveness, such as:

  • Community standards violations: There are literally billions of people on social media who have a wide range of beliefs. If just one of those users finds your church’s content offensive or disagreeable, they can file a claim that it violates the community standards. These complaints can lead to temporarily blocked access to add new content until the complaint is reviewed, or permanently deleted accounts if those complaints go unresolved.
  • Distractions: Big Tech has invested billions of dollars into complex algorithms to keep people on their platforms every day for as long as possible. This means that someone looking to engage with your church’s content on social media is often distracted by ads, notifications, videos, and other content that has been curated to capture their attention.
  • Cyberbullies: Church social media accounts are often the targets of hurtful, hateful, or simply anti-Christian comments. These attacks can have a chilling effect on what content a church feels free to share publicly or how often they post. On top of this, managing negative comments can be a frustrating and exhausting task for your team.

Church videos & live streaming

Some church members may remember when their church had a “tape ministry” that provided sermon recordings on cassettes, CDs, or DVDs. Today, worship services can easily be live streamed or recorded with nearly any smartphone or digital camera straight to websites like YouTube or Vimeo.

Simple? Yes. Perfect? No. Similar to social media, uploading church videos to content delivery networks like YouTube or TikTok also carry the risk of censorship along with other moderation that can limit your church’s reach and impact. For example:

  • Censorship: Video hosting services like YouTube and Vimeo have defined Terms of Service that allow them to moderate what content is deemed inappropriate. Blocking or removing videos can be triggered by an algorithm or another person on the site. So, if your church’s video streams are considered harmful, misleading, or inappropriate for some other reason, they can be blocked, removed, or even permanently deleted.
  • Copyright infringement: Churches often find their videos that include live worship services blocked due to copyright claims. These can be triggered by singing a song, playing a backing track for a soloist, or showing a movie clip as a sermon illustration.
  • Advertising: Sites like YouTube monetize your church’s content through placing ads on your videos. These can be small ads that appear on the bottom or side of the page, or they can be advertisements that interrupt your videos. Unfortunately, your church has no control over what kind of ads appear to those who are engaging with your content.

Email providers

Many church leaders are unaware that popular email services like Mailchimp or Gmail can censor their email content. In their respective Terms of Use agreements, they reserve the right to moderate or filter any of your church’s email content they find offensive or objectionable. If that happens, your emails can be flagged as spam and go unseen by your church members. And, if there are multiple violations, your church’s account may be blocked or even suspended.

Website hosting services

Your church’s website is your front door to the world. It’s where people go to learn more about your church before ever visiting in person. Your website is also the place to showcase your church’s unique mission, values, and culture.

However, most website hosting platforms are owned and run by Big Tech companies, and some of those have been in the news for shutting down websites that hold different worldviews. So, if your church’s values and content don’t align with theirs, you may be at risk for having your website shut down.

Note: You can check if Google is blocking your church website by visiting Google’s Safe Browsing site and entering your website address.

Online giving services

You may have seen Big Tech donation platforms, such as PayPal and GoFundMe, make headlines for blocking nonprofits and Christian groups from receiving donations because of their different viewpoints.

If your church uses one of these Big Tech payment platforms for receiving your tithes and offerings, consider switching to a platform that respects your church’s religious freedom.

It’s always a good practice to review your church’s tools and how they impact your church. No church expects to be censored. What would your church do if your website was deleted, your videos were blocked, or your social media accounts were suddenly banned? This might sound alarmist, but churches, ministries, and Christian leaders face regular censorship and deplatforming by Big Tech companies.

Ministry without restrictions

Your church needs a platform that respects religious liberty. You shouldn’t need to self-censor your content to match Big Tech values in order to use their platforms.

Subsplash supports religious liberty by providing churches with a platform that allows them to freely express themselves, share the gospel, and build disciples with all the tools they need, including:  

Whether you’re looking to replace all or some of your Big Tech tools, Subsplash is the ministry partner that will help you better reach, engage, and grow your congregation.

Schedule your demo today and learn how Subsplash puts partnerships over profit.


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