26 Dec 2019

Rising Trend: Online Resources for Churches

Melissa Brown

In the past few years, we have seen an increase in churches and ministries implementing technology in and around the church. You have probably noticed there are more websites dedicated to advertising and marketing churches and ministries than ever before. 

Many churches are choosing to add links to their websites to allow members and non-members alike to donate and communicate with a click of a mouse, or even with their mobile devices. In fact, you’ve probably seen a push for online giving instead of the traditional method of cash and tithing envelopes.

Today, churches and ministries have many options to choose from when looking for video courses, seminars, pastoral resources, and more.

In this blog, we will look more closely at the most recent studies about how many churches and ministries are taking advantage of the virtual options that are becoming more available and affordable than ever.

Statistics of online uses

Barna Bible graph and study showed that in 2017, more than half of Bible readers preferred to use the internet (55%) or a smartphone (53%) to access biblical texts, which is a significant increase from 2011 (37% and 18%, respectively). It is predicted that these numbers are likely to increase as time progresses because of the advancement in technology (Source: Barna Group).

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And according to LifeWay Research, which also conducted a study, the data provided almost 70% of churches offer Wi-Fi for staff and guests. This study noted a decrease in attendance for churches that did not offer Wi-Fi for staff and guests.

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According to the Nonprofit Marketing Guide, more than 70% of nonprofit leaders consider social media one of their most important communication channels. Their study also found 71% of nonprofit communication professionals consider the social media one of their most important channels, second only to their website (80%). (Source: Nonprofit Marketing Guide)

The next study from LifeWay Research showed that almost 85% of churches use Facebook. The pastors in this study stated that their churches use Facebook as their primary online communication tool. (Source: LifeWay Research)

Research provided by Barna Group revealed 54% of Christian millennials watch online videos about faith or spirituality. Barna survey found that more than half of Christian young people watch religious videos online. They stated, “Among all U.S. millennials—Christian and non-Christian—the number was 31%.” With this study, Cisco predicts “that by 2021, 82% of all consumer internet content will be video. The number of young people watching religious videos online will only increase.”

Facts & Trends showed 62% of churches use social networking to connect with individuals outside of their congregation. LifeWay Research found an even larger number of churches (about 73%) use social media to interact with their congregation. The majority of churches with an online presence, however, are already using social media as a growth tool. (Source: Facts & Trends)

Best Colleges published a study (see below) that shows the perspectives of students, employers, and the public on online education. When looking at the diagram, you will see the difference between the perspective changes over the span of one year. This study gave a group a few questions and options that were evaluated for both 2017 and 2018. Answer choices were: online is better than campus (Red), online is equal to campus (Dark Blue), online is inferior to on-campus (Light Blue), not sure (Gray). 

Now, all participants had to evaluate the questions they presented and their perspective on the comparison of online and on-campus learning. See the diagram below for the results of this controlled study. What you can see is that between 2017 and 2018, the current employer's perspective of online education is seen equal to on-campus, which reveals how online classes are becoming more standard and sometimes even preferred over in on-campus learning.  

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Convenience and cost-effectiveness  

When looking for development courses, continuing education courses, sermon preparation, and other pastoral development tools, you will find it’s much easier to access these courses using online platforms. Of course, the main necessity is access to a secure internet and a computer. 

When looking into these types of educational tools, you will see a financial difference between online and in-class courses. You and your team will find that the courses are less expensive when choosing online courses versus the in-person equivalent. Not only do churches and ministries save money with online classes, but they are relieved of the financial burden of travel expenses. When deciding to use in-person courses, you have to consider the travel cost of gas, car rental, flight expense, hotel expense, and food for travel. If you decide to bring your staff, the cost could be very expensive added to the cost of the course, as well. Online courses, on the other hand, can often be accessed from the comfort of your church office, with no additional travel expense required. 

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Additional benefits 

Technology has so much to offer to churches and ministries. With so many different online courses available, you and your leadership team can learn more about how to grow your ministry at your own pace. 

Many pastors say they love how cost-effective it is to take a class online rather than spend the extra money needed for all the travel expenses to take a class in person. Getting certificates and licenses in the comfort of your office is another fantastic benefit of making classes and resources available online. There are so many amazing benefits for your congregation, as well as your staff with the use of video courses and other online resources.

With any organization, safety is always a concern that must be prepared for. This is no different when using online resources. Below are some helpful internet safety tips from usa.kaspersky.com to help guide you in the best direction when using internet resources.

  • Keep personal information professional and limited
  • Keep your privacy settings on
  • Make sure your internet connection is secure (use a secure VPN connection)
  • Be careful what you download 
  • Choose strong passwords
  • Be careful what you post 
  • Make online purchases from secure sites
  • Keep your antivirus program up to date

Using online resources to your advantage 

If you and your team are interested in free video courses, online software, development, and church plant assistance, give our team a call at 877-494-4655 to learn about what StartCHURCH has to offer you. 

If you’re a church planter looking for the ultimate resources to help you start your church, our Launch to Lead video course is a fantastic option that might be just right for you and your team! Give us a call today for more information at 877-494-4655 or click the button below to schedule a call.

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Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera


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