The phrase “from maintenance to mission” is often used in the church space to describe how parishes can move from complacency (“this is the way we’ve always done it”) to a flourishing, forward-thinking, mission-focused parish.
Several studies in the last decade, including a recent survey from Pew Research Center, have all pointed to a decline in the number of adults in the U.S. who identify as Catholic. The mission of the Church has always been to make disciples, but many parish leaders find themselves struggling to move past their fears of change to begin the real work within their ministries.
In his 2013 Evangelii Gaudium exhortation, Pope Francis encouraged the Church to “be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style, and methods of evangelization in their respective communities.” Changing the method of evangelization through technology has helped Bishop Robert Barron reach millions in his ministry. He often speaks to groups on how to reach and engage fallen-away Catholics.
We know that technology can’t solve all of our problems, but having digital solutions and a strategy can impact growth when done well. In this post, we tackle common fears that might be crippling digital progress in your parish and offer solutions to help you move forward.
Fears versus Facts
Fear: “Older parishioners won’t be able to use or understand new tech.”
Fact: In a recent Pew Research survey, 85% of adult Americans own smartphones, including 83% of adults between 50 to 64 years old and 61% of adults who are 65 or older.
You already know that young adults use social media frequently, but did you know that there’s been a steady increase of older adults using social media in the last five years? In 2021, 73% of adults between 50 to 64 years old used at least one social media site compared to 64% in 2016. Also, 45% of adults who are 65 or older used social media by 2021 compared to 34% in 2016. Older parishioners are already using tech!
ParishStaq includes a mobile app that’s easy for parishioners to navigate and also easier on the eyes with the new dark mode feature. They can view bulletins, livestream Mass, listen to podcasts, receive updates via push notifications, or even give to your parish. Our giving solution is available in English and Spanish, and has the highest security certification available for online payments.
Fear: “My parish is understaffed. They’ll feel overwhelmed with learning new tech.”
Fact: An efficient church management software system (ChMS) should help your staff become more productive, be effective in ministry, save time, and feel less burdensome. Your staff shouldn’t feel that your ChMS is just another system to enter data into. It should feel like an aide that supports them in growing discipleship and increasing stewardship. This is what ParishStaq strives to provide customers.
It’s a centralized system that harmonizes your ChMS, online giving, and mobile app to provide efficient workflows for your staff and a stronger hybrid experience for your parishioners. Staff and ministry leaders can access the LEAD App (a mobile ChMS) to view parishioner profiles, record notes, manage ministries and schedules, create events, and communicate with volunteers directly from their phones. Our integrated giving and donor management allows staff to search 117 fields and identify precise attributes, characteristics, and filters to help you grow stewardship.
We’ve built a strong implementation and customer success team experienced in serving Catholic parishes and understand your specific needs. Your staff will feel confident after implementation, and if you have a question later in your journey, our knowledgeable customer support staff and digital library of resources will always be available to you.
Fear: “My parish can’t afford new tech.”
Fact: Our product has helped customers increase offertory. Here’s what Tracy Miesch, parish application administrator at St. Anthony of Padua parish had to say:
“Before we started using Pushpay, it was easier to order a pizza on your phone than it was to give to our church. While our registered members grew, we saw a steady decline in average weekly giving per family over the last five years. We have now overcome that and feel confident that we are setting up the Millennials to share their stewardship of treasure in the way they know how… on their phones. The first month of giving on Pushpay saw an immediate increase in participation and dollar amount.”
Investing in new tech is a risk worth taking. Start a dialogue with your staff to discuss the benefits of adopting new tech—it might be worthwhile looking into other areas of your budget where your parish could save in order to obtain a system that increases offertory.
Same Mission, New Method: Boldly Lead Change
The mission of the Catholic Church will always remain the same. But changing the methods for evangelization, discipleship, and stewardship are critical in growing the Church.
So who will lead change in your parish? Who will be the tech advocate?
Visit parishstaq.com to schedule a demo. Our experts are familiar with parish and diocesan needs and can help you find the solutions that will help you boldly lead your parish from maintenance to mission.