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:
- Expanded reach
- Intelligent decision-making
- Radical collaboration
- 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.