In the church world today, the range of knowledge about the tech world is enormous and growing. Every day, new technologies are created that have potential within the realm of ministry, but because of the pace at which they are created, staying current and sorting through the terms becomes more and more difficult. Let’s take a look at some “must-know” tech terms that everyone in ministry should, at least, be familiar with.
On August 6th, 1991, the first website went live on the Internet. In the last 25 years, the technologies we use to create websites have radically expanded. The number of people who know how to use those technologies have also increased, which means costs have fallen significantly. Every church, regardless of size or location should have a simple website. It does not have to be super fancy, but having an online presence has never been more necessary.
Here’s a fun one. In the early days of the Internet, one just had to create a website for a few screen sizes. Now, your website needs to be viewable on everything from the large screens of a desktop computer to the much smaller screens of a smart phone. Mobile-responsive websites are websites that are specifically coded to reformat for users who are viewing on a smart phone or tablet. When building your website (or hiring someone to build it for you), it’s wise to ask them to build it mobile-responsive. This can cost extra, so ask early in the process.
Like mobile-responsive websites, mobile apps are specifically designed for phones and tablets. There are some significant differences, however. Mobile apps are coded differently than websites, so they actually live on the user’s device, not on the Internet. Mobile apps are downloaded from an app store dependent on the user’s device type. Also, because of the code used, oftentimes, apps are more robust and feature rich than a mobile-responsive website. While the cost of an app can vary significantly, there are companies that are able to offer great apps at prices affordable for many church budgets.
This category is probably the broadest of all. While there are certainly staples in this field like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there are also a ton of other sites that exist and are used by a lot of people. This is definitely an area where each church needs to decide where they will exist on social media, how much time to invest in it, and how that will be managed. The key here is to be intentional. It’s best not to try and be everywhere, but it is super important to have a strategy regarding social media that works for you. Just don’t ignore it.
Church Management Software
Do you know who was in service last week? Do you know how many visitors you had? If you wanted to, could you contact those visitors? Church management software has come a long way in terms of what it can do and how easy it is to use. Ultimately, it is a key piece of technology for any church. Within a good ChMS, you can track donations, attendance, visitors. You can also use it as a check-in tool for your children’s or youth ministry and many times communicate to your people through a built-in text message feature.
These are the very basics, but there are many more terms out there. Which ones trip you up? Let us know below.