As Carey Nieuwhof has pointed out in his excellent blog post, one often overlooked factor in the steady decline of church attendance has been the Church’s resistance to follow the culture into the technological era. We are living in a time when technology is an ever present mainstay in people’s lives, yet churchworld seems hesitant to accept that reality, resistant to move forward. This is one of many reasons that the Church is considered obsolete and irrelevant.
We see it in poor church websites that aren’t even kept current. We see it in old fashion bulletins and cluttered bulletin boards in church lobbies. We see it in hymnals and paper programs. We see it in pledge cards for stewardship appeals, giving envelopes for the offertory collection and sign ups sheets for kids programs. And, of course, we hear it in antiquated sound systems.
Parishes need to invest in technology.
And technology is all about sharing content.
And the future of content is on demand, instant access to whatever we want to watch, listen to, read, give, share. Think about it. If you want to watch your favorite show, you have instant access to it, anywhere, anytime. Right now, you’re reading this blog on a device that allows you the capability to access it whenever and wherever you want. What if the church utilized that potential to its fullest extent in preaching our message?
We limit our view of church to Sunday Mass in a specific place at a specific time. That needs to change.
Before my usual critics line up to denounce me, I hasten to affirm (as I constantly find myself doing) that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our community as Catholic Christians and that means we have to gather together in a specific, physical location in order to undertake full, active participation.
But technology provides us so many simple ways to engage people, convey the Good News, and reach the unchurched.
So how do we do that?
- Have an attractive, easy to navigate website that can make a positive first impression for a potential newcomer.
- Live stream all or part of your weekend Masses.
- Rebroadcasting them throughout the week.
- Have past homilies on file, to listen to anytime.
- Use podcasts or blogs to go deeper into the weekend message.
- Use social media to announce upcoming events.
- Celebrate events on social media after the fact.
- Offer online giving options.
- Transition to online sign up for all kids and student programs.
The list could go on and on. Think about it.
For another, and more complete take on this check out careynieuwhof.com