Most of us remember the saying, “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people…” Now you can add, “…with their smartphones and iPad’s.

It’s no secret mobile technology is everywhere you turn, but is the church utilizing technology to fulfill the mission and ministry to which God has called it?

Between church programs, dinners, small groups, missions, etc., many churches claim to have no time left to invest in digital platforms. If time and lack of staffing aren’t the reasons for not utilizing technology, funds often are. Many churches don’t see websites, mobile apps, social media or other digital platforms as priorities to their missions.

While time, money, and experience are realistic hurtles some churches face, those who choose not to represent their church digitally fail to connect, serve and engage the community fully.

Traditionally, connecting comes through worship, prayer time and fellowship. Churches thoughtfully design the activities that engage their communities, but without digital outreach, it’s possible these efforts will fall flat. While the programs, teaching, small groups and mission of your church always will be its heartbeat, a combination of traditional and technological platforms reaches people best. Most churches would agree that connecting to your church and community should involve a website, but few utilize other technological tools. As a result, church communities fail to connect with younger generations and the growing number of adult church members turning to mobile devices.

Growing your church is easier said than done. In the past, churches have sent teams of people to canvas neighborhoods or have relied on their members to pass out flyers regarding Easter pageants, Christmas cantatas and Super Bowl parties. That’s still fine, but with the Internet, mobile apps, prospect services and Facebook, many new people to your community may be looking for you. Deciding not to engage with community members on these platforms keeps you from putting your best foot forward.

For those at all stages of church technology use, here are a few things to consider:
1. Make sure you have a clean, simple church website that is kept up to date. If nothing else, church websites are a simple, effective way to communicate your church’s mission, location and activities. Now more than ever, first-time guests will check your website before attending. For members, websites can be an excellent way to connect for church events and activities.

2. Move beyond the traditional website. We now have tools such as YapTap, which integrate different forms of communication, including Twitter, Facebook, text messaging and emails, as well as allows you to send messages to your members the way they want to be communicated with via one platform.

3. Consider a mobile app. Mobile apps are easy to access on mobile phones or tablets and offer tools such as prayer request walls, event calendars, the ability to upload photos, read the pastor’s blog, watch or listen to sermons, stream services and allow for social media integration. That puts everything the church does in one ecosystem, allowing for one touchpoint for members.

4. Brainstorm how you can use technology missionally. When you’re in Haiti on a mission trip, stream the Sunday morning services from your church on your smartphone and have a translator relay the sermon to the Haitians in attendance. Download the YouVersion Bible app, and let others in foreign countries read the Bible in their native tongue while you witness to them. Download the WORDsearch app and study commentaries, parallel Scripture verses and the meaning of different words to be a better witness.

For churches wary of the financial and time cost of a digital presence, content management systems that integrate egiving are a good option. Twenty:28 offers churches the opportunity to receive their websites and mobile apps for free as their online giving increases. The integration of content management systems, mobile apps and egiving under one roof also saves churches time they can invest in furthering their ministry efforts.

Ultimately, the use of technology answers God’s call of stewardship. The tools are endless. Make the most of the technology. Leverage it as you lead your church and go to the ends of the earth.

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