For pastors, leading their congregations through the uncertainties of the pandemic has been an uphill climb. It’s no wonder that 29% of pastors have seriously considered quitting full-time ministry within the last year! No seminary course could have prepared them for handling such a situation.
Most agree that this season has introduced a massive shift in the landscape of church life. As pastors look to the future, you may be asking, “If I knew 18 months ago what I know now, how would I have approached ministry differently?”
We believe that churches can learn to thrive through any situation by innovating, adapting, preparing for the unexpected, and trusting in God’s sovereignty in the middle of it all.
Check out these actionable tips and strategies for responding quickly to changing circumstances while keeping your church connected and healthy.
Major events have a way of reshaping our priorities and perspectives, and we’ve all been impacted by a worldwide shift in recent years. What are the new realities facing churches now?
Since its founding, the U.S. has largely been populated by Christians. Regularly attending church is an activity that’s been ingrained in our culture for generations! But now, for the first time in history, less than half of Americans are members of a church.
Even fewer Christians are attending church, with one-in-three practicing Christians having stopped attending church during the pandemic. Among them, young adults are the least likely to go to church.
Watching live events has steadily grown in popularity over the last decade, with live streaming growing by 99% in 2020!
Church leaders have realized that live streams can increase their reach and allow them to stay connected with their congregation even amidst unpredictable events. In fact, 74% of churched Americans have watched online church services during the pandemic. People have also appreciated the freedom to connect with other churches, with 34% of Christians watching live streams from churches other than their home church.
Churches have leveraged new technologies to preach the gospel and make disciples throughout history. The Roman Roads allowed early church leaders like the Apostle Paul to travel and preach the good news to people around the world. The Gutenberg Press allowed for mass distribution of the Bible. Evangelists like Billy Graham used radio and television to share the gospel with millions of people around the world.
At some point, every church has to decide how they’ll use the technology of their age. Today, digital technology is a central component of our society, with the average American spending over 8 hours every day consuming digital content—including over 5 hours on their smartphones and 3 hours watching TV!.
For churches to effectively use technology to share the gospel and disciple their congregation online, they need to form their own “theology of technology.” Here are 3 important questions you should ask to help you use digital tools wisely.
After going through this process, you’ll have a better understanding how technology can help people stay engaged with your church and become better disciples. As one pastor put it:
The longer I’ve wrestled with this problem in my own family, the more convinced I’ve become that the ultimate answer is not “no technology” or “more technology” but “more theology.” If we want a deep, lasting, and spiritual solution, we need to learn and teach deep, lasting, and spiritual truths. Sound digital theology is the answer to digital technology; the oldest truths are the best rebuttal to the newest challenges. —Rev. Dr. David Murray
Most Christians say that they prefer a hybrid (online and in-person) approach to church, and they’re looking for more digital discipleship resources. As pastor, your effective use of technology will largely be shaped by how you view, interact, and leverage digital tools for your church.
Rapidly changing situations require instant and effective communications. By working with your team to create a robust communication plan, you can help your congregation stay connected and navigate through circumstances of any kind.
How are we going to communicate?
Staffing needs for the church today have changed. Most churches are opting for a hybrid church model that includes both in-person and online experiences. In times of uncertainty, many people will look to technology to stay updated with what’s happening at your church.
Here are some key staff roles that your church should consider to maximize your online presence. Depending on your church’s size and budget, these can be paid roles or staffed by volunteers.
Your church’s website serves as the digital front door of your church. That’s why it’s key to make your website as welcoming, informative, and useful to visitors as possible. Be sure your contact information on your website can easily be found and is up to date.
For communicating critical information in times of uncertainty, create a special section or a separate webpage that can be updated regularly with relevant information and resources. Using a powerful church-focused website builder, like SnapPages™, makes it easy to create church websites with customizable templates that integrate with your online giving, live streaming, event calendars, and more!
In emergency situations, it’s crucial to provide your community with easy access to your church’s resources, messages, and support. Here are some of the top tools for keeping your community connected and engaged:
Subsplash Messaging allows your church community to have meaningful conversations and build real relationships. Whether it’s sharing a prayer request, planning a meal, sharing a document, or coordinating volunteers, you can create a message and share it with private or public channels. It also integrates with your mobile app and web browser, keeping your content and conversations in one place!
Subsplash Media delivers your audio and video content, such as sermons, Bible studies, devotionals, and podcasts on your website, mobile app, and TV app. Your audience can view high-quality videos with no ads, restrictions, or censorship, you can be sure that your content stays in front of your congregation.
Even if people are unable to attend your church services in person, they can still feel like they’re connected through your live streamed services. Subsplash Live makes it simple to live stream to any device on your website, mobile app, TV app, YouTube Live, and Facebook Live. You can also easily trim your live streams before publishing them as on-demand content in your media library!
When faced with adversity, most Christians become more generous with their time and money. However, churches need to ensure that their congregations can continue to express their generosity through online giving solutions.
Today, 94% of churches with over 100 people in attendance have adopted online giving. In fact, online giving has become the primary way that churches receive tithes and offerings, surpassing cash, checks, and other forms of donations!
Even if your church already has a giving solution, it’s important to note that not all giving platforms are the same. Some charge hidden fees, monthly fees, or high processing rates. Subsplash Giving, however, allows your community to give online, within your church’s app, or with text-to-give, while also offering the industry’s best processing rates with no monthly or hidden fees.
Digital is dominant and people are spending much of their day online. So how do we capture their attention, cut through the noise, and create a focused place for engaging with gospel-centered content?
To help deepen your connection with your community and keep your content at the forefront, Subsplash created The Ultimate Engagement Platform™. It seamlessly integrates with your mobile app, TV app, website, group messaging, live streaming, and online giving—all in one place. Your church can create a safe, distraction free environment where your community can communicate, be discipled, and grow in their spiritual journeys.
Over 15,000 churches and organizations use Subsplash’s tools to engage with millions of people around the world every week. To find out more about how your church can use technology to thrive in uncertain times, let’s chat!