Protestant churches across the nation are using various forms of emerging technology to influence people’s lives and enliven their church experience. But the pace of technology adoption seems to have slowed in the past two years as some churches focus upon making the most of what they already have, and other churches attempt to get by without incorporating such tools into their ministry mix.
The new study by Barna research explored the presence of eight technologies and applications in Protestant churches. Here are some of the trends concerning those eight technologies that Barna discovered in their research.
- Two-thirds of Protestant churches (65%) now have a large screen projection system in their church that they use for services and other events.
- Sending email blasts to large groups of people or to the entire church body is common to a majority of Protestant churches (56%).
- The ways in which churches are reaching out to people over the Internet are expanding. Back in 2000, just one-third of Protestant churches (34%) had a church website. That exploded to 57% in 2005, and has inched upward since then to 62%. (personal comment: I can't imagine why EVERY church can't put up some kind of website - this should be minimal in this day and age.)
- One out of every four Protestant churches (26%) now has some presence on one or more social networking sites (such as MySpace).
- Podcasting has been adopted by one out of every six churches (16%).
- Blogging is also invading the ministry world. One-eighth of Protestant churches (13%) now have blog sites or pages through which people can interact with the thoughts posted by church leaders.
- One technology that has not shown any discernible expansion in the past several years is that of satellite broadcasting. In 2000, some 7% of Protestant churches had a satellite dish for receiving programming and training. That number has remained virtually unchanged since then, registering 8% in 2005 and the same 8% in 2007.
How does your church stack up? Are you in the 21st. century? If not, what keeps you from embracing new technologies?