Leadership

4 Ways Technology Enables the Mission of the Church

Church technology provides four unparalleled opportunities in history for your church to reach people with the gospel and disciple your congregation.

4 Ways Technology Enables the Mission of the Church
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Have you ever heard of Moore’s Law?

The law is named after Gordon Moore who was the founder of Intel. Gordon estimated that computer processing speeds would double every 18 months, and his theory has held mostly true since he first made this claim in 1965.

Moore’s Law is an example of the exponential technological growth we live in. In short, the world we are born into is not the world we will die in. Think about that for a moment.

In the purposefully simple chart below, we are flying straight into the sky on the y (vertical) axis labelled technology.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil paints the picture using computers as an example of this rate of growth, “When I was an undergraduate, we all shared a computer at MIT that took up half of a building,” Kurzweil says. “The computer in your cell phone today is a million times cheaper and a thousand times more powerful. That’s a billion fold increase in price performance of computing since I was an undergraduate."

Apply this rate of growth to innovative church technology, and it’s easy to see the amazing opportunity we have as the body of Christ today. How can your church be a good steward of these technological opportunities?

Today I’m going to share with you four ways technology enables the mission of the church. However, in the spirit of exponential growth, I’m not going to share any specific strategies, because—with an exponential rate of growth in technology—the strategy, processes, and technological pieces will be irrelevant shortly.

#1. Expanded reach

As technology has grown and become more efficient, the ability to connect with people anywhere, and at any time has become more and more feasible.

Part of the current mission of Facebook is to bring the world closer together. Consider for a moment, that the current Facebook mission might not be that different from what the Roman government’s purpose might have been when they built their road system—a technological feat in its time.

Both Facebook and the ancient Roman roads expanded the reach of people in their time. As church technology continues to grow, it’s reasonable to expect your church’s ability to reach people anywhere, at any time to increase, which is one healthy expression of technology in the Bible.

Does your church have a plan for this? Do you have a social media strategy for your church? If you could meaningfully connect with anyone in your community and beyond, do you have a game plan?

#2. Intelligent decision-making

“Data is not a dirty word.”

This thought ran through my mind as I watched Mark Zuckerberg get skewered in front of Congress in April. The multi-hour spectacle was a mix of cringe-worthy derision from out of touch Senators, and fair, common-sense questioning from others. To summarize the entire fiasco into one statement, I would say something like: Big data is powerful and deserves consideration.

For every organization that is trying to manipulate big data for political gain, multiple organizations are working to leverage big data for good.

As the ability to leverage data exponentially increases year-by-year, and as our society becomes more and more comfortable with leveraging data in every aspect of life, it’s important for churches to understand and leverage data in a meaningful way.

Related: 5 Common Barriers to Technology Adoption in Your Church

Here are a few examples of how churches and ministries leverage data to enable the mission of their church:

  • Multiple megachurches leverage the geographic data of visitors to their online campus to inform strategic discussions about where to plant another physical church campus.
  • At CV Outreach, we are devoted to connecting someone who is seeking answers online or looking for counseling and help to a church that is near them. To do this, we leverage their geographic data. Plus, as we see aggregate trends in the location of these “seekers” we know what areas we need to partner with churches.
  • We also use publicly available search data and online user behaviors as market research to vet potential topics to build content around. If ten times as many people are Googling the phrase “what is the meaning of life?” in your area than they are the “best church near me,” doesn’t that tell you something valuable about what the people in your community are looking for?

As you can see, data can help your church be more effective and efficient in reaching people with the gospel, and you can even use data to track giving in your church.

Is your church leveraging data in any way?

#3. Radical collaboration

I recently heard a megachurch pastor from Indonesia say something astonishingly straightforward. It served as a reminder that we are all one body in Christ (1 Cor. 12:12), even though we are multiple expressions of the Church.

He said, “God is not a polygamist. He’s not coming back for multiple brides.”

As church technology increases, the sharing economy will become the default mode for people in your community. What this means for your church is that access is more significant than ownership.

This is fantastic news for the Church...if individual churches are willing to radically collaborate and share with each other.

As technological sophistication increases, it will become easier to share things. Right now, it’s incredibly easy to share anything that is digital, but in the future, it may be feasible to share physical things in ways we can’t even imagine right now.

The implication for churches is that they need to have a heart positioned toward giving. Not just to their members, but to other churches. Even other churches in your area.

The more churches are willing to give freely of all they have without any brand recognition or association, the easier it will be to plant churches, bring aggregate church budgetary overhead down, and showcase to the world what is talked about in Acts 2:42–47.

Does your church make its resources available to any church in your area? If not, why not?

#4. Mobilized and equipped congregations

One of the most amazing things about the world we live in, and the world my children (and your children) will come of age in, is that we can learn virtually anything for free.

The Internet is called “the information superhighway” for a reason. The way we distribute information from person-to-person is one of the fundamental shifts in communication we’ve experienced in the last 20 years.

Both today, and in 50 years, you will be able to make endless discipleship, training, and learning resources available to your congregation, at basically no cost. The challenge will no longer be how to acquire the information (especially if churches are sharing their resources), it will be how to guide your congregation through a wealth of knowledge and training.

In addition to congregations having the resources to grow in their faith, churches can leverage technology to make sure their church members have resources or assets to assist them in evangelism.

Watermark Church in Dallas does a short video series with their lead pastor called “Real Truth, Real Quick.” In it, their pastor addresses hot-button issues or questions from a biblical perspective. In addition to these videos being valuable to church members, it’s also a useful asset for church members to share with friends or family while they are having conversations.

Is your church leveraging technology to provide free resources and training to equip your congregation? Are you making assets your church members can share for the sake of evangelism and outreach?

Over to you

What will technology be like in 20 years? I have no idea. But I’m confident your church can leverage technology in these four areas:

  1. Expanded reach
  2. Intelligent decision-making
  3. Radical collaboration
  4. Mobilized and equipped congregations

So start now!

Social Media platforms will change, iPhones will continue to improve, computer processing speeds will continue to double, and your church can be in the midst of all of this for the sake of reaching people with the gospel.

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Chad Hugghins. Chad is the Marketing and Content Manager at CV Outreach.  He loves providing churches with free programs and initiatives that leverage technology in order to spread the gospel.

Why Write Church Donation Letters?

In a previous blog post, I shared the different ways your church can thank donors—from automated emails to year-end giving reports. Printed donation letters also play an essential role in your church’s stewardship efforts.

Donation letters are the Swiss Army knife of your church’s gratitude arsenal. It may not be the most powerful—but it’s versatile, handy, and gets used often.

Your basic church donation letter can serve many different purposes, including:

  • Acknowledging that you received a donation
  • Thanking the giver for being generous with their finances
  • Sharing other ways the person can support your church
  • Allowing the donor to write the gift off on their taxes
  • Encouraging supporters to make recurring donations
  • Requesting future donations from church members

A single, well-crafted donation letter can pull together several of these things simultaneously. Better donation letters lead to more giving, which leads to more donation letters—thus creating a cycle of on-going church generosity.

Church Donation Letter Samples

Here’s the good news—you don’t have to write an individualized letter for every person who gives to your church. That would be tough to do for even smaller churches. And most donors don’t expect you to. They’d rather you be putting their gift to better use in the community, instead of ceaselessly writing thank you notes.

With the possible exception of some unique circumstances, your church can use template language for the majority of your church donation letters. You’ll have to add in custom details like the donor’s name and gift amount, but you can write everything else in advance.  

To make this even easier on you, here are a few basic church donation letter templates you can copy and paste. Keep in mind that not all of these have to be in print—you could just as easily turn some of these samples into email appeals.

1. Donation Acknowledgment Letter

The Donation Acknowledgement Letter is a basic way you can confirm and affirm a monetary gift to your church. Sending these is standard practice in church and nonprofit culture.

Dear [first name],
I want to personally thank you for your donation of [gift amount] to [church name]. We’re honored you would bless us with your generosity. Donations like yours make a big difference in the work our church is doing in the community.
Without givers like you, our church can’t have an impact or influence in our community. With your support, we’re partnering with local nonprofits, sending out global mission trips, and hosting small groups on topics that help real people like you. Together, we can make a difference.
Because we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit, you also get to write this donation off on your taxes. This letter serves as official proof of your donation, so keep it in your records come tax season. At the end of the year, we’ll also send you an annual recap with how much you’ve given to the church.
Thank you for supporting [church name]!
Sincerely,
[your name]

2. Donation Request Letter

Not every church member realizes the importance of giving, or understand Bible verses about tithing and giving.  So a Donation Request Letter helps to spread that awareness and encourage a spirit of generosity.

Dear [first name],
How are the finances in your household? That was a rhetorical question, so you don’t have to answer—besides, this is a letter so we wouldn’t hear you anyway. But we still want you to think about that question.
Money is a uniquely human issue, one we all struggle with to one degree or another. Even if you’re financially blessed, you still have the burden of stewarding your money wisely. And we believe that one of the best ways to invest your money is into the local church.
Tithing (giving 10% of your income) on a regular basis not only supports the work we do at [church name]. It doesn’t just support local missions and community growth. It also shows an obedience to God by making his work a financial priority in your life.
So if you find yourself ready to put God first in both your heart and your wallet, we encourage you to make a one-time gift or sign up to make recurring donations. That way, you won’t have to ever wonder again about the financial status of your household.
Sincerely,
[your name]

3. Monthly Giving Letter

Many church donations aren’t just one-time gifts. Plenty of givers contribute monthly—and that should be acknowledged.

Use this template to correspond with recurring givers.  

Dear [first name],
Thank you for being an active and faithful member of our church community. By giving to our church on a monthly basis, you’re showing that our church has a meaningful place in your heart. We just wanted to write this to let you know that you’re in our heart, too.
Donating to the church monthly allows us to preach the gospel, make disciples, and support others in our community who need help. Others like the local food bank and the nearby homeless shelter. We’re answering the cry of the needy, and it’s all thanks to contributors like you.
We earnestly appreciate your ongoing support and want to let you know we’re here for you. If there’s ever anything we can do for you and your family, don’t hesitate to reach out. You are a valued member of our church family. And you’re financial support is making a difference.
Sincerely,
[your name]

4. Year-End Giving Letter

At the end of each year, it’s customary to give your church supporters a summary of their gifts. The primary reason is for tax purposes, but it’s also a way to recap everything your church has done over the past year with their support.

Dear [first name],
You’re getting this letter because you gave to [church name] at some point during the past year. That might have been a one-time gift, or recurring donations. Either way, we want to thank you for your generous support. Every contribution helps.
One of the official reasons for this letter is for tax purposes. That’s right—you get to write these donations off on your taxes. Which is why we’ve included a summary of all the contributions you’ve made to our church this year.
But the other reason for this letter is to let you know what we’ve done with the money you gave. We take stewardship very seriously, which means we value spending our time and resources wisely.
During the year, our church supported local nonprofits, sent global missions teams, and baptised quite a few people. It was a great year for us—thanks in large part to donors like you.
So thank you for your support of our church, and we hope you’ll consider continuing to contribute to our mission in the coming year.
Sincerely,
[your name]  

5. Church Fundraising Letter

Sometimes you need to make a more significant financial push using tried and true church fundraising ideas. Some churches call this a Stewardship Campaign or a Church Capital Campaign. Either way, the goal is to raise a certain amount of money for a big project. And typically, a solid letter of appeal is an integral part of that.

Dear [first name],
God has a plan for everyone and everything. That includes you, and it includes [church name]. None of us can fully know God’s plan—the best we can do is pray and listen for clarity. Our church leadership has been doing just that and are excited to announce our latest church project.
[Detail the outline of the major church project—this could include a building campaign, or raising support for a global mission trip. Anything specific to your church that requires a fundraising letter. Be sure to include a fundraising goal so everyone knows what you’re shooting for.]
But we can’t pull this off without your support. Whether you give to the church on a regular basis, or just attend on occasion, we’re asking you to consider contributing to this massive undertaking prayerfully. It’s something we need our entire church community’s help with.
Even if you can’t make a large gift, know that every little bit helps. It’s more about coming together as a community united behind a common cause. We hope that you’ll consider making a donation towards this great step forward that we’re making together.
Sincerely,
[your name]

Tips when writing church donation letters

It’s not enough to just copy and paste this content and send away. The key to an effective church donation letter is a touch of personalization. Follow these tips to take your donation letters to the next level:

  • Examples: Add specific examples of how your church will use the donation. Tell a story about the work your church is doing in the community and connect that with giving.
  • Personalization: For regular donors, don’t be afraid to add a short, handwritten personal note. This shows that you’ve singled them out with praise.
  • Timeliness: Sending donation letters quickly reminds people you’re thankful for them. But this also takes organization and efficiency. All the more reason to use pre-written templates.
  • Storytelling: Everything is better with stories—including donation letters. Weave in a specific narrative of how your church is making a difference and how the money will be used.

There’s no one right or wrong way to write a donation letter or request contributions. You’ve got to do what is right for your church and congregation. But if you stick to these general tips, you’ll probably start to see some traction when it comes to giving.

What’s next?

Most people don’t love talking about money in church. But it’s a necessary and vital part of your church. And maximizing your efforts when it comes to donation letters will help make those conversations more comfortable. So what do you do next to put this into effect?

  • Customize these letters: Take the samples above and make them work for your church. Personalize the content. Remove the stuff that doesn’t sound genuine and add in stuff that does. Remember that these are just a starting point.
  • Create some systems: Develop processes that make it easy for you to replicate sending donation letters. Use a letter template that allows you to drop in names and details. Then develop guidelines for when these letters will be sent out.
  • Empower a champion: Find out who is going to be responsible for making these letters happen. Rather than thinking of this as adding more work to their plate, think about how you can elevate their work. This could be a staff member, or a volunteer.
  • Start sending: All of this will be for nothing if you don’t actually send out the letters. Take the time to get it right and get them into the hands of your church donors.

And if you’re looking for ways to grow your church’s giving capacity, Tithely can help.

We provide several different ways your church members can support your church financially—from online giving, text to give solutions, and giving kiosks.

Tithely’s systems make it as easy as possible for people to give to your church. Now all you need to start doing is generating a culture of gratitude. There’s nothing standing in your way. Go unleash generosity in your church.

How does your church use donation letters to spread generosity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Robert Carnes. Robert is a writer and storyteller. He's the author of The Original Storyteller: Become a Better Storyteller in 30 Days. A former church communicator and nonprofit marketer, Robert works as a managing editor for Orange in Atlanta.

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4 Ways Technology Enables the Mission of the Church