“Churches LOVE change!” … said no one ever.
And therein lies the problem.
Let’s say that you, an eager church communicator, are excited to introduce a new website, church management software, social media strategy, giving platform, or some other tech solution to your congregation. You’ve done the research. You know it will help your church’s ministry. There’s just one problem. Change at most churches moves as slow as molasses.
How can you introduce new technologies when change doesn’t happen as fast as you would like?
Here are five tips:
1. Begin by introducing change in your areas of influence.
Maybe you can’t implement church-wide change, and that’s ok. Start with ministries that you lead. For example, are you a Sunday school teacher? Create a Google Classroom, record and post your classes on YouTube, or create a Facebook Group for your class. Other church leaders may see that you have started a good thing, and desire to implement some of your ideas on a larger scale.
2. Use free solutions to get started.
Don’t have a tech budget? No problem! Use Church Motion Graphics for slides, Unsplash for social media posts, or Canva for Nonprofits to create print materials. Once your work gains traction, it will be easier to convince leadership to invest money for even better tools and resources.
3. Introduce intentionally imperfect solutions, with the goal of eventually replacing them with better ones.
This tip might seem shocking, but hear me out. When I first proposed that our church should invest in the yearly cost of church management software, I really had my eye on one particular company. They were regarded by many other churches as one of the best. But I knew that our church would never agree to the cost. So we went with a lesser option. One year later, the church saw how valuable this type of software was, and was willing to invest the additional money to get a better solution. Was it a pain to transfer all of our data over to another company? You bet! But would the church have ever agreed to the top-tier solution from the beginning? Probably not. So the extra work was worth it. Better to make the change in stages than not at all.
4. Personal anecdotes can be more powerful than stats.
For a long time, I wanted to introduce online giving to our church. I brought up the issue in different ways but never got very far. Then one day, a prominent church leader came back from an out-of-state trip, where he had been visiting his son and daughter-in-law. This individual saw that his son’s church was using online giving, and suddenly, he was convinced that we should do the same. The bottom line: for churches that are skeptical of change, personal testimony from someone they trust can have more impact than a thousand reliable statistics.
5. Be patient!
I’ve been at the same church for 13 years now. In addition to managing our church communications, I also lead our worship team. It took 9 of those years before our church was ready to allow the worship team to play in our morning service (before then, we only played in the evening service). It was 11 years before we had a dedicated budget for technology and communications. That might seem dramatic to some, but here’s the thing – it would have been disastrous if I tried to push for those changes too soon. After all, we are called to strive with one another, not push for our own way.
If you are becoming frustrated with the pace of change in your church, be patient. Stick it out. Don’t insist on your own way, but gradually make your case and bring people along with you. Unity and oneness are more important than any technological innovation. But as you wait, keep innovating. Keep learning and researching. Build rapport and skill. And as you are given the opportunities, use your God-given passion and ability to improve the digital communications of your church for the glory of His kingdom.