The painful truth is that year after year, many parishes close or merge due to a lack of attendance, clergy, or resources. But in today’s digital world, you have the power to change that by taking advantage of every piece of church technology to reach, retain, and guide parishioners to grow deeper in their faith and build community. Embracing technology could open up more opportunities for effective communication, financial benefits, and growth.
What is Church Tech?
There’s a lot of hype around digital trends like church tech, but what does it all really mean for Catholic parishes?
Trends in church technology, from livestreaming services and all-in-one church management software to digital giving and mobile apps, can be used to streamline day-to-day operations, boost evangelization efforts, and strengthen faith communities. It’s not the only solution for common challenges that parishes face every day, but it’s a necessity for every parish. Strategically investing in the right technology fit and leveraging these innovative platforms can help your parish pivot as your circumstances change.
Let’s take a look at the nine risks we wouldn’t want any parish leader to experience.
The 9 risks every parish leader takes by avoiding church tech are:
1. Reduced connection with the younger generation
2. Inefficiency in administrative communications
3. Reduced global outreach
4. Reduced donations via online platforms
5. Increased operational costs
6. Inability to tap into financial analytics
7. Reduced new membership
8. Inability to offer digital resources
9. Failure to adapt to changing times
1. Reduced Connection with the Younger Generation
In today’s digital age, the younger generation has adopted a lifestyle that revolves around their phones. Texts, social media, livestreaming, the occasional phone call: you name it, they’re using their phones to stay connected. So, how can you as a parish leader reach out to them and ensure your message doesn’t get lost?
Breaking through the digital barrier is one effective solution that church technology can provide parish leaders. For example, being able to update your families registered for faith formation via text, push notifications, or email means you can connect with them in their preferred channel of communication and let them seek out more information from you on their time. Pushpay’s streamlined solution for Faith Formation ministry takes it a step further with mobile capabilities that enable digital registrations, tuition payments, communication, volunteer management, and sacrament tracking features so that everyone—from parish staff and catechists to parents and children—feels supported in their ministry and faith formation journey.
Ignoring the latest tools and features available in a parish technology platform means missing out on connecting with the younger members of your community and cultivating the Church’s young Catholics to serve and lead their parish in liturgy, outreach, discipleship, evangelization, and more. By integrating the latest church technology into your parish, you’ll be able to create a dynamic community, know more about the people you serve, and determine the best approach to minister to the next generation of Catholics.
2. Inefficiency in Administrative Communications
It’s vital to have your parish staff on the same page. Effective communication is key to running a successful parish team. But when communication becomes muddled, redundancy occurs; time, finances, and resources are wasted and things can slip through the cracks quickly and easily.
Having the right church management tool in place allows your parish to unite and handle the daily tasks quickly to focus on your ministry and outreach.
3. Reduced Global Outreach
The beauty of the internet is that one person with a message and one device can reach billions of people all over the world. An announcement can only reach the ears of those in attendance (and maybe if they tell anyone who wasn’t there). Similarly, a bulletin is limited in distribution to those in attendance. With tools in place like custom mobile church apps and livestreaming, however, you can extend your reach and get God’s word out to those who need it, even if they aren’t a member of your parish (or even your local community).
4. Reduced Donations via Online Platforms
Remember how we mentioned that younger generations perform most tasks on their phones? They’re not the only ones. Today, more people rely on their smartphones to handle most tasks, and that especially includes their finances.
With the right church tech, you can:
- Announce new campaigns and pledge opportunities online
- Send out push notifications to remind your parishioners of offerings
- Help your churchgoers set up recurring giving
- Enable givers to access their giving statements or track their giving at any time through their phones
Cash is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and checks are kept almost as a reminder of a time long forgotten, or to pay certain bills that absolutely require physical payments. Today, people are used to doing everything on their phones, and digital giving platforms have become widely accepted ways to give. They’re what people are used to for transferring funds. With everyday stresses, your parish members may not remember to go to the ATM or the bank to take out physical dollars for collections and offerings, drastically lowering your overall budget. ParishStaq by Pushpay gives you all of the tools to make offerings easier for your parishioners and makes it easy to track and analyze all of your finances in one central location.
5. Increased Operational Costs
The beauty of a fully integrated, all-in-one solution that combines your church management software, digital giving, and mobile apps is that it reduces the time it takes to perform repetitive administrative tasks and increases productivity.
St. Michael Catholic Church struggled with this issue. They believed in working and living as a stewardship parish. They wanted to find a way to save on their time and resources, while also being able to increase engagement and stewardship. Chris Peterson, St. Michael’s Steward for Administration, described their experience.
“We had ten tools, it was crazy. It created so much more work. One of the things we loved about ParishStaq by Pushpay is that it didn’t just give us tools as administrators, but it also gave tools to lay people who were leading groups…”
After adopting Pushpay, St. Michael Church now enjoys connected tools that support staff collaboration, productivity, generosity, and most importantly, they’re able to fully live out their mission as a stewardship parish.
6. Inability to Tap into Financial Analytics
As a parish leader, you know that balancing your budget is imperative to keeping your parish running smoothly. But, you need to do more than balance. You need insights.
For example, donor development insights allow parish administrators to take action on donor behaviors, stages, and trends. Pushpay’s donor development solution gives staff a list of suggestions on what actions to take to nurture donors to their next steps of generosity. Administrators can even track top giving sources, days and times people like to give, top funds for giving, and more.
7. Reduced New Membership
Word of mouth between parishioners only travels so far, and today many people can’t be bothered to explore new parishes to find the right spiritual home.
Adapting to and adopting a digital marketing strategy is the only way to achieve growth and to connect with people either looking for a new parish or who need community and the Gospel. Also, since the pandemic, many people choose not to go out as much as they used to; having the power to connect to them in their homes at their comfort level is invaluable.
Lastly, consider those who may not feel they have the time or energy to go to Mass or are too sick to go. Livestreaming solves this issue and actually reaches more people than just your parish. During and shortly after the pandemic, some parishes saw 2,000 to 3,000 churchgoers in attendance. People are looking for guidance; help them find and understand Jesus’s teachings.
8. Inability to Offer Digital Resources
Let’s say it’s late one night, and one of your parishioners is in a bad emotional or mental state. They might find solace by watching a video of a homily you gave some time ago because it resonated with them, or they want to read Scripture in your church app. With the right digital resources in place, your parishioners can find the letters, recordings, or videos they want or need at the time. Without it, they’re left lost and confused.
9. Failure to Adapt to Changing Times
You wouldn’t speak to a child about spirituality and the Gospel the same way you’d speak to an adult. You change your language, use different tools and mediums, and craft your message so that they can understand, react, and grow.
In the same vein, you need to cater your message to the media and tools people are accustomed to today rather than what they were even only 20 years ago. If you ignore changing times and communication tools, you run the very high risk of alienating people who either want to know or don’t realize they need to hear more about the Word of God.
As stated earlier, parishes are closing or merging every year, leaving many parishioners bouncing around from parish to parish (or abandoning church altogether) as they try to find a community that feels like home. Rather than letting them walk aimlessly, leverage new church tech to reach them and provide a new home where they can grow.
ParishStaq empowers you to reach your community members, new and old, as well as those around the globe to:
- Grow your flock
- Track and manage your finances easily
- Livestream Masses and events
- Make offerings easier
- And much more.
Want to learn more about how Pushpay can help your church? Schedule a demo with our team to see how we can work for you.
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