The Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 111
How can the church use technology to become more relational?
If Rich Mullins’ Awesome God is still in your regular worship music rotation, then you also may not be getting the most out of your technology. It can be tough to keep up with, for sure. Churches follow the same patterns that we see individual people take in regard to technology adoption. There are the Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and finally the Laggards making up the groups. We see more churches in the late majority and laggard groups than the others.
In 2020, even technological laggards joined the rest of the world in the technology necessary to communicate with people that they could not be with physically. Fortunately, most have continued to employ those technologies even after loosened restrictions permitted more physical gatherings. In that respect, Covid has been beneficial.
Now that we have the strong majority of churches using technology, we need to talk about using it well. There are still innovations that we are not regularly seeing in the congregations we deal with, so the list below will hopefully help add a few tools to your relational communication toolbelt.
At the end of the day, the goal of the Church remains one of relationship building. First, person-to-person, and then person-to-Christ. Would we not use every opportunity to do so?
The problem is not that we use technology, the problem is that we use technology poorly. Here are some ideas on how to start using technology to become more relational.
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Get the Most Out of Your Church Management Software
Hopefully, you have employed some kind of church management software. If you have, you still may not be using it to its maximum effectiveness. Many software systems have modules that can be added in for different functions. You may have a basic membership module, or maybe even a worship planning module, but nothing for communications, volunteer scheduling, or electronic giving. Of course there are additional costs to consider. However, in most cases, when a church makes that investment and uses those tools as designed and as a part of good discipleship strategies, the cost is returned in growth and increased giving.
Put Chat Software on Your Website
This is a fun one. If you’re reading this on the Malphurs Group website, look to the lower-right corner of the screen. That icon down there is to communicate with our team. This has been a really good tool for us, and it’s something that a lot of people have come to expect. Many times, we get to answer questions for people that they might have just not asked if it wasn’t so easy. Even having a quick conversation about something easy is a potential new relationship with someone.
Use Volunteer Scheduling Software to Communicate With Your Team
As mentioned above, most church management systems have a volunteer scheduling component. People will appreciate a message from that system that allows them to automatically respond with availability for serving instead of a personal email asking about dates which leads to endless back-and-forth communication. You’ll be showing you care about them more by respecting their time.
Use a Texting Service to Initiate Guest Follow Up
Who doesn’t have a phone in their pocket at this point? Texting isn’t a fad, and it’s not seen as impersonal anymore. It’s quick and easy. Communicating with guests when you already have their attention – they’re there! – is the best opportunity you’ll have. Again, we’re talking about starting a relationship. There’s no time like the present.
Use Social Media to be Sociable
It’s in the name. Make friends. Be helpful. It’s possible to over-post, but most churches don’t err on that side. Put things out that are designed to engage people in conversation or participation. Of course, put out good information too. Your Facebook or Instagram accounts should be places that people know they can get timely information from you.
Know When to Pivot From On-Line to In-Person
It’s important to have enough social awareness or even emotional intelligence to know that some things need to move into a more personal space. If someone pours their heart out in the comments of a Facebook post about the dates for a bible study, that’s not the place to engage them in more conversation about their life challenges.
Don’t lose sight of the goal – building relationships with people that need a relationship with Jesus. Some of the technologies mentioned above may be out of your comfort zone, but that may be a good thing anyway. Use technology to become more relational, and make every effort to reach people.
BONUS: Get a free Team Discussion Guide in the video description on YouTube.
A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive and travels internationally to teach and train pastors to lead healthy disciple-making churches. A.J. lives in the Ft. Worth, Texas area, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.