Think about this: Your smartphone has 100,000 times more processing power than the computer used to land the first man on the moon. The technology we use everyday allows us to be more productive and get more done in less time than ever before. It’s difficult to imagine our lives without digital tools, and many of us have never experienced a world without them.
For over 2,000 years, churches have adopted the latest technologies of their time to fulfill The Great Commission in new and more effective ways. New technology never replaces the face-to-face work of ministry, but it can enhance productivity, stabilize church health, and increase the reach of the gospel message.
So what are the types of digital tools that churches are depending on now more than ever? Let’s take a look at which tools can help your church survive difficult times, become resilient to catastrophes, and provide needed resources to support growth.
Several digital tools played a vital role in helping churches keep their doors open during the recent social, economic, and health crises. Church leaders and their congregations now view these as indispensable instruments for the survival of modern churches.
Websites: During times of crisis, people look for churches to bring them comfort and encouragement. For example, people began performing church-related searches like “watch church online” or “churches near me” at record levels at the onset of COVID-19. Churches realized that having a website was essential to successfully receive new online visitors.
There are many popular website builders to choose from—such as Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress—but they typically lack essential features that every church needs.
Fortunately, church tech providers, like Subsplash, offer church website builders that include church templates, online giving, live streaming integration, a drag-and-drop editor, and much more to help your church quickly set up and host your new website.
Live streaming: Before the recent pandemic, a minority of churches were regularly live streaming their worship services. Yet within just a couple of months after COVID-19 shut down in-person worship for most Americans, 82% of churches were live streaming their services online! By broadcasting their services online, anyone who was unable to attend in person could feel connected and receive messages of hope and encouragement.
Even as in-person gatherings have restarted, church leaders realize live streaming is here to stay. Popular platforms like YouTube Live and Facebook Live offer streaming services, however, they are also notorious for blocking or censoring church content. Subsplash Live offers your church the best features like simulated live streams, simple editing tools, along with Live Stream Chat, to reach more people every week with the gospel without fear of censorship.
Online giving: Churches depend on incoming tithes and offerings to keep their operations and ministries afloat. Historically, most of their donations came by simply passing the plate to receive checks and cash each week. However, when people were forced to stay home and couldn’t attend in person, churches turned to online giving software to allow people to donate online.
Today the majority of tithes, offerings, and gifts are given through online giving software, if for no other reason than that people love the convenience of being able to give online. Some churches try to use popular payment platforms like PayPal, Venmo, or Cash App, but they often cause challenges and frustration.
The best giving providers, like Subsplash Giving, offer powerful features such as recurring giving, donor-covered fees, automatically negotiated rates, and guest giving.
After a season of instability, churches need effective digital tools that create an environment free from disturbances, where their faith can be reinforced and strengthened, such as:
Mobile church apps: During difficult times, people find themselves easily distracted by feelings of anxiety, social media, as well as news and entertainment. Churches have done their best to reach their community to share inspiration and hope, but their messages are often lost in the midst of so much noise.
Custom church apps provide a distraction-free environment where people can engage with their church’s content without annoying ads or interruptions. Powerful mobile app features like video and audio players, push notifications, in-app giving, event calendars, and Bible reading plans help your congregation to engage with gospel-centered content all week long.
Media: People engage with more media today than any other time in history. Unfortunately, much of that media content is out of line with biblical teaching and runs against biblical values. That’s why it’s important to share content that spiritually nurtures and strengthens your congregation.
Most church apps and websites depend on media delivery services like YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook. This presents a challenge as your church’s voice is likely to be drowned out by all of the other content on those platforms—or, worse yet, Big Tech companies may censor your church’s media altogether.
Subsplash Media is unique in that it respects religious liberty by allowing your church to upload, control, and share your church content through your website and mobile app (as well as popular social media channels) in a distraction-free environment without censorship.
Events: Planning, promoting, and executing in-person and online events takes a lot of effort and coordination. Event planning software helps ensure that your events go off without a hitch by tracking event registrations, attendance, and helping with follow up after the event. Some event planning services also allow you to accept payments for paid events, such as concerts, camps, or Vacation Bible School (VBS). It’s also valuable to have integrations with service planning software to help fill your volunteer roster needs like musicians or public speakers.
Group messaging: Many church leaders find it difficult keeping track of messaging apps that their teams use, like WhatsApp, Messenger, and WeChat (among countless others). But when users create “unauthorized” or duplicate accounts in these apps, it becomes impossible for church admins to manage, moderate, or delete those channels. Public messaging apps are often the target of online bullies and trolls, which can bring confusion and hurt.
That’s why many churches elect to use a private group messaging platform that is built for churches from the ground up. With automatic language and image filtering, as well as the ability to to block or remove users when needed, Subsplash Messaging gives your church a safe and secure place to have real conversations within your church’s app and website, and the same chat experience is available during your live streams. You can create public or private groups to chat and share files or prayer requests.
You need powerful digital tools to help your church reach the next level and scale with your congregation as it grows. The following software helps you better understand your people, manage your teams, and build your small groups.
Church management software (ChMS): In order to grow your people, it’s essential to know your people. The larger your congregation gets, the more complicated and time consuming it becomes to keep track of who’s attending, serving, and giving.
Powerful ChMS tools such as child check-in, volunteer management, service planning, mass emails, along with people and group management help keep your community organized all year long. Subsplash’s CHMS tools are fully integrated with other digital engagement tools like websites, apps, and media, allowing you to better know, grow, and engage your congregation.
Volunteer management: Volunteering is a crucial step in living out the reality of being part of the body of Christ. Yet the percentage of people serving as church volunteers has dropped from 46% to 35% over the last decade. So how can you develop volunteers who are happier, stay longer, and invite more people to serve with them?
Part of the solution is providing your team with the right volunteer management tools, such as service planning software that schedules your meetings and events, and helps roster talented people to serve when and where they’re needed. This makes their jobs easier, streamlines planning, and ensures that your departments have the right people in place.
Small groups: Churches spend lots of time planning, preparing, and managing their small groups. After all, small groups are where relationships grow and roots are established. But despite our best efforts, many people still have trouble finding and connecting with the right small groups.
Fortunately, Subsplash offers Group Finder to help people discover and sign up for your small groups. People can filter the available groups, find out meeting details like hours and locations, and register online. You can also create private groups that are invitation-only, or use the request-to-join feature that allows leaders to prescreen new applicants before they can join.
As you’ve seen, these digital tools increase time savings, create more effective processes, and deepen the discipleship process, helping your church along the journey as you grow.
Most church software companies can help your church with one or two of these areas. Only Subsplash offers a unified platform that’s powerful enough to engage your community, build more and better disciples, and help your church be more effective.
To discover how these tools can help your church make more of an impact, fill out the form below to schedule a free demo today!