Top Three Catholic Church Tech Trends In 2024

Connection is vital in ministry. As people disconnected from parish life after the world events of the last few years, leaders quickly adopted new digital tools to restore their communities. It spurred initiatives such as the “Back to Mass” campaigns and became a recurring theme in parish and diocese Synod on Synodality discussions. Last October, the Synod of Bishops report formally recognized the need for formation and support for those working as “digital missionaries.” Empowering parish leaders to effectively fulfill their mission has always been our north star at Pushpay, and the heart of our annual Catholic State of Church Technology report.

The report is an annual benchmark study that surfaces digital trends in the Church and uncovers the technology priorities, concerns, and expectations of U.S. parishes. It gives leaders insights into how other parishes are using technology to fulfill their mission.

2024 will be a defining year for the Church as Synod discussions continue in its final year. Most of the figures in our report remained unchanged—however, inspiration from Synod discussions may be what’s driving the data that surprised us. Take a look at the three top trends from this year’s report.

Hybrid Worship Isn’t Diminishing In-Person Mass Attendance

Despite debates and concerns about the impact of livestreaming Mass on attendance, hybrid worship services have become a relied-upon strategy for parishes. According to the 2024 Catholic State of Church Technology report, 75% currently offer and plan to continue these services in the future, and for leaders who prioritize technology to fulfill their mission, livestreaming Mass has emerged as their foremost tool. Midsize and large parishes continue to embrace and sustain hybrid worship, demonstrating its ability to meet the needs of a broader community.

Protecting The Flock

Religious organizations have become a frequent target of cyber attacks in recent years. One parish lost $1.75 million and another incident involved unauthorized access to a diocese charity database that impacted 13,000 individuals. Security and data protection concerns haven’t deterred leaders from becoming more digital. Instead, they’re becoming more proactive and prioritizing security when evaluating new technology.

Delaying Adoption

Although the pandemic fueled the adoption of tools to quickly connect with parishioners, updating their technology isn’t a top priority. When comparing data points over the last three years of our report, parishes are reverting back to old habits of viewing technology as quick fixes. 43% evaluate technology only when the need arises, indicating that they continue to work with antiquated systems that sacrifice performance, quality, and security.

What’s Preventing Adoption?

A consistent theme throughout the report reveals that leaders want more technology to fulfill their mission, but other data points suggest otherwise. The report dives deeper into the patterns that might explain why parishes continue to hit a wall. What’s keeping them from taking the next step?

As the Synod focuses on formation and support for “digital missionaries,” the 2024 Catholic State of Church Technology report provides insights into what emerging technologies parish leaders across the country are exploring and how they’re approaching digital tools to facilitate connection beyond Sunday Mass.

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