5 Critical Tech Tools Many Churches Don’t Have
Every church has a unique budget to facilitate very specific priorities. And most churches can’t afford to waste money on things they don’t need. Unfortunately, some churches see recent advances in church technology as superfluous and excessive.
That may be true for some tech, but there are plenty of specialized digital tools that make everyday church operations easier, less expensive, and more meaningful.
Here are 5 essential tech tools many churches still don’t have.
1. Check-in software
If you have a children’s ministry, it’s paramount that you:
- Keep kids safe
- Make parents feel comfortable
Kids are vulnerable, even in church. You don’t know the history of every person who steps through your doors, and you can’t just rely on goodwill to make sure the right kids make it to the right parents.
What happens if a parent drops off their child in the nursery, but after the service, someone else says they’re supposed to pick the child up? Sometimes parents do need a friend or family member to pick up their kids. But if you don’t have proper protocols and security in place, that’s an opportunity for someone with ill-intent to take advantage of your most vulnerable members.
Check-in software typically uses stickers with codes (not a child’s name or other identifiable information) to ensure that the right person picks up the right child, while still giving parents the option to have someone else pick up their child if they want to.
These programs also alert your volunteers if there are allergies or medical conditions they need to be aware of so parents don’t need to explain their child’s history every time they drop them off and your volunteers have a simple way to verify what’s important.
This is about serving the families in your congregation. It’s worth spending whatever it takes to keep kids safe in your church, but there are free church check-in software programs as well. So there’s really no excuse for churches not to use one.
Not all check-in platforms are equal. When deciding which to use, be sure to use the free ebook The Church Technology Buyer’s Guide to as a resource. In it, you’ll discover what excellent church tech looks like and it even outlines a process for tech buying to reduce hasty buys or potential purchase errors.
2. A mobile app
Mobile apps aren’t a luxury anymore. Whether you use a church app builder or create a custom app yourself, this is a hub for your congregation to conveniently register for events, catch up on sermons, give, get more involved, and grow. As your congregation increasingly adopts mobile technology, your church app isn’t a concession to a fad, it’s an essential tool to maximize your congregation’s engagement.
Every weekend, most churches collect an offering. But unfortunately, this relies on forms of currency people are using less and less. If people forget their checkbooks or don’t have time to stop at an ATM on the way to church, they can’t give. And what happens if someone wasn’t planning on giving, but they feel called to after your message about giving? Or if someone is watching your service on the live stream, and they want to participate in tithing, too?
A mobile app makes giving simple—people can give for the first time in 30 seconds or less—and more importantly, it makes giving to your church work just like any other transaction. Your church members can give digitally at any time (during the service or not), and they can easily set up recurring giving to make sure they never miss a gift.
3. Church presentation software
Plenty of churches still use PowerPoint every weekend. When it first came out in 1987, PowerPoint was an innovative way to get sermon slides and worship sets on the screen, and it looked a lot better than an overhead projector.
But churches have way more options now, and while PowerPoint has certainly made some improvements in the last three decades, it wasn’t built with churches in mind.
Church presentation software is designed to meet the unique needs of churches. It often comes loaded with motion graphics, Christian videos, Bible-themed backgrounds, and innovative features built for church services, like pre- and post-service loops, Bibles you can open on the fly, and live-streaming solutions.
Whether you make a one-time purchase, get a monthly subscription, or use a free version, church presentation software should be in your arsenal.
4. A live streaming solution
Live streaming lets church members participate with your congregation, even when they can’t be there. Whether they’re traveling, sick, going to college, dealing with a last-minute diaper blowout, or experiencing car trouble, you can’t control why someone misses your service. But you can control what options they have when they do.
Live streaming serves other purposes, too. If another church doesn’t have a teaching pastor, they may want to live stream your service so that they can still get solid biblical teaching every weekend. Or maybe someone isn’t ready to visit your church, but they still want to see what it’s like.
When your church has a live streaming solution, it helps your congregation stay connected when circumstances prevent them from attending, and it creates new opportunities for your church to spread your influence and increase your reach.
And if you combine your live streaming solution with a mobile app, it makes the entire experience even better, because members are just a couple taps away from joining you.
5. Church management software
Every week, new people step through your doors, and your current members become more (or less) involved. Managing all the details can be a challenge—especially if you’re relying on paper directories.
You want every person to take the next steps that are right for them, and you want to keep up with where everyone is at, so you can help them grow and stay connected. But that’s a lot of information for a person (or even a team of people) to juggle.
That’s what makes church management software so valuable. It makes it a cinch to manage and organize the details of your day-to-day operations. Members can keep their own information updated, and you can use it to do things like manage your database, draft and send emails, organize events and fundraisers, or generate reports.
Increase your church’s impact
When it comes to technology, it’s easy for churches to get hung up on price tags or to simply avoid change. But there are plenty of affordable ways churches can implement these essential tech tools. And while some changes take work to roll out, at the end of the day, each of these tools helps you provide a better experience for your members.
If your church is missing any of these solutions, adding them could make your ministry more effective, and increase the impact you have on people’s lives.
When deciding which church tech to go with, we all know that not all platforms are created equal. Some will do their job well but create extra work for your staff or will be excessively expensive without a strong return on the investment. To discover everything you need to know about buying church tech, click here to download The Church Technology Buyer’s Guide for free today!