15 years ago, technology in the church was limited to a landline at the reception desk and a soundboard with a few missing switches. Today, like every other area of life, technology is more integral than ever, allowing us to be faster, more connected, and far more efficient.
But for churches, the process of finding tech that works for their unique needs has been quite the nightmare and time suck. Now there are more solutions to choose from, and it’s difficult to weigh all-in-one solutions against best-in-class software to best serve ministries’ unique needs.
That’s why we hosted a webinar with two of our Pushpay church tech experts to address this problem once and for all: Is there an all in one software your church should use? Or should you partner with best-in-class vendors for your specific needs?
Church Goals Should Drive This Decision
Your church now has a number of tech-related areas to address, from simplifying your giving solutions to tools that don’t integrate with each other, to manual data entry, cost, confusing user interfaces. And that’s not the whole list. And that means a technology solution that solves most or all software-related ministry problems will be an enormous asset to churches of all stages and sizes. And not just an asset for the church as a whole, but especially to church admin that have to juggle multiple different platforms.
But the truth is, all-in-one technology solutions are not only highly desirable but they’re also extremely hard to obtain. Finding a solution that will host your giving, community calendar, event registration, small groups, church app and all the other needs of your church is tricky. And here’s why: A Jack of all trades is a master of none. Pardon the cliche, but this saying strikes right at the heart of this topic.
Solutions that start off with one core church product but then add on unrelated tools and features tend to keep their focus directed to the original product. That means additional tools often have barebones functionality. The features may work for your church but not in the way you need them to.
So when you’ve identified a need for new tech and seek to fill it, don’t look for a solution that casts a wide net.
Focus on the specific ministry goals at hand and find a tool to address those issues. But not just any tool, but one that’s the best in its vertical.
If you’re like most ministries we talk to, your goals are people-focused. X more baptisms. X more people serving in volunteer opportunities. X more dedicated donors to your church’s mission and vision. Which combination of world-class tools would best support you and your staff in pursuit of your mission?
Which Solution Should Your Church Choose?
Why it may make sense to get a platform that solves multiple important problems for your staff, some solutions often work for staff but not for your community. Deeper still, some platforms are specifically designed to reach the 20% of people at your church who are already giving, participating, and volunteering.
Those are easy groups of people from software solutions to serve. Your volunteers, staff, and most engaged congregants can get far on sub-par software tools. But the 80% of your church that isn’t as engaged as they should be? They won’t respond well (if at all) to solutions that don’t match the experience they get every day from apps like Uber, Amazon, Spotify. Simply put, if the church tech they interact with isn’t world-class, they’re not likely to keep using it which is one less meaningful touchpoint between them and your ministry.
Whatever solution you decide on should make it easy for disengaged community members to get involved and take next steps at your church. In a nutshell, choose solutions that…
1. Checks off every box on your list
It’s important to understand exactly what you want the tool to accomplish for your church. But you should also properly vet your vendors before bringing them onboard. Do you know which questions you should ask technology vendors during the vetting process? View the webinar replay here for free to see the full list of vetting questions to ask vendors when evaluating new tech.
2. Plays well with other tools
Integrations are key. Since your church is now focusing on best-in-class solutions, you’re likely to have one tool for each major category of need. But they all need to integrate to some degree in order for your technology ecosystem to work well.
Integrations help sync data across platforms to ensure that congregants have a more intuitive, simpler experience with your church. It means that no matter what platform they use to interact with your church, they see the same, personalized content and access things like giving statements and register for events no matter what device they’re on.
On the admin-side, data sharing simplifies workflows, reduces operational inefficiencies, and reduces task redundancies. It saves them time and energy that they can reinvest back into Kindgom-building work.
3. Is reliable at scale
Churches operate in a space of trust. That means if anything problematic happens between a church and its community, that trust is immediately broken. Technology can help support or distract from your efforts to win the confidence of your community. So be sure to ask vendors about their security and reliability. Ask about their security protocols, reliability, and historial uptime. Tools with a track record of downtime or glitches can hinder people from getting connected to your ministry. Imagine your projector or giving platform crashing on Easter Sunday…
Don’t let that happen to your church.
4. Puts congregants first
All church technology solves for your community member. But some are more effective than others at engaging your congregants. What’s the typical adoption rates for the congregant-facing platform you’re looking to onboard? Do people report liking the tool? Is it easy to use? Does it crash often? Is it intuitive for less tech-savvy members?
Choose solutions that help connect your ministry to the wider community and help nurture a deeper sense of belonging among the people you serve.
Unicorns don’t exist
A unicorn solution that solves every tech problem churches face is highly desirable but difficult to obtain—if not impossible. But with the right best-in-class solutions, your church can thrive in new and refreshing ways. Just ask Real Life church in Washington State…
To discover the full story behind Real Life Church’s time savings after switching to a best-in-class solution, click the button below to view the full webinar replay. You’ll also get the chance to explore the full breadth of this topic and next steps for your church.