In the past, Churches operated in a way that did not require much in the way of tech to propagate the WORD. Outside of the mega-churches with deep pockets that could afford to own TV stations or book slots on terrestrial TV stations, a lot of churches went the “door to door” way as a means to evangelize. A knock on your door, a word about being saved, usually followed by sharing of reading materials and exacting a promise to attend a service at their place of worship. Even at the church buildings themselves, “tech” was usually limited to a few microphones and some screens to help with the reading of passages. Websites, Social media pages, mobile apps etc. while not necessarily frowned upon, were not encouraged either.
With the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in 2020, which made physical church programs a non-viable option for most of last year, churches were forced to evolve, adapt and inculcate tech into spreading the gospel. Streaming of services became a necessity, Internet banking to receive donations, offerings and tithes, YouTube channels, Websites, and Social media pages all became mainstream for religious institutions. At the forefront of this tech, push are the mega-churches but smaller churches are now also in the race.
The adoption of tech by churches means being able to remotely engage congregants and in a world going green, it means being in the conversation. It also means that churches can spread their messages quicker, further and cheaper than ever before, especially with the use of social media.
Here are the most common ways churches are leveraging technology.
Use of Social Media: With the inception of social media and smartphones, it has garnered about 3.96 billion users all over the world, with many of them being Christians.
For many churches, online is where most of their members spend time, hence, the need for creating social media accounts to expand their reach, spread the truth about the gospel to people around the world and encourage Christians in their walk of faith.
Social Media is an online extension of the church, and by posting engaging Christian content, people are compelled to participate in the conversations.
One of the Mega Churches in Nigeria, Christ Embassy, developed its own social networking apps Yookos and KingsChat to avoid censorship from popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This is one huge, innovative way of utilizing tech as a church.
Website creation: Today, many Nigerian churches have websites where teachings and other activities take place. These activities range from sharing devotionals and publishing articles, to posting sermons or video clips of services.
In a poll conducted by a popular Twitter user, Aremu Smog, about two years ago, it was discovered that many people do not visit their church’s website due to reasons as poor UI/UX designs, inactivity and obsolete content, but despite that, there are a number of churches like The Foundation of Life Church, The Elevation Church, SCOAN and many others who are thoroughly enjoying this privilege.
Internet Banking: Technology like the modern banking system and the church seem to be ever more connected. Before today, offertory, tithing, seed sowing and other financial services in the church used to be strictly physical, but with the advent of internet banking and transfers, churches are beginning to key into the cashless system of making payments like online transfers and the use of PoS.
This will help reduce the problems often associated with cash transactions like theft, frequent bank visits, use of fake money and the inconvenience of carrying big, heavy bags of money.
Newsletters: Newsletters are becoming a thing and many churches are beginning to adopt them to share relevant information with their subscribers.
“At the end of the day, much discipleship comes down to teaching, and teaching can happen in many forms” As technology advances, and the world adapts, it is important that churches join in the movement.