Social Media

Online giving
The option of giving online has helped some churches' financial intake grow. (Flickr )

The use of different technologies in the church should always be seen as tools, not as goals—they are the means, not the end. When we start using a new tool or technology, our goal should be to reach more for Christ, not simply to show off a new toy.

Also, there are a lot of technological innovations churches use that aren't necessary. Even some on this list would be laughable to our brothers and sisters in house churches around the world. God doesn't need our technology to get His gospel to the nations. But if and when we have them, we should always steward these technologies well.

Here are six technologies that can help your church as it fulfills its mission of reaching, evangelizing, assimilating and discipling those in your community:

1. Church websites. The inclusion of a church website should not be a surprise. It is the new front door of the church, yet I'm still amazed at how many churches either don't have a website or fail to keep it maintained.

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2. Social media involvement. The people you will reach and disciple are online on social media. If your people are on social media, your church should be on social media. It's a great way to promote and inform members and guests alike..

3. Church management software. Most members will never interface with this technology, but it will keep things orderly for those who work in the church. My wife, a children's minister, is constantly checking addresses, attendance and involvement in our church's membership database. She's able to note attendance patterns and organize events and classes accordingly because she has organized records in the church management software our church uses.

4. Online giving. I have yet to hear of a case where a church saw a decline in giving after implementing online giving. There may be an outlier or two, but every church I know of that has added an online giving method has seen an upward bump in giving.

5. Computerized check-in. One of the first things my wife did when she started at our current church was to implement computerized check-in for kids and preschoolers. This one small act made a massive difference to members and guests alike. It immediately communicates to parents that the church is serious about safety. And one of the most important factors for guests joining a church is that they feel their children are safe and secure in the kids' area.

6. Digital projection. I list this technology last because it's the least important. I would give up digital projection in the worship center in favor of any of the previous five technologies. We don't have to have words on a screen. Bulletins and hymnals can suffice. That being said, digital projection offers numerous advantages in the form of showing announcements, using videos, projecting song lyrics, and much more.

These are the six church technologies that have almost become fundamental to the way we operate in churches in the U.S. They help us reach more people, disciple them better and prepare them to be sent on mission more effectively. What technologies would you add?

Jonathan Howe serves as director of strategic initiatives at LifeWay Christian Resources, the host and producer of Rainer on Leadership and SBC This Week, and the managing editor of LifeWayPastors.com. Jonathan writes weekly at ThomRainer.com on topics ranging from social media to websites and church communications. Connect with Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Howe.

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