The recent pandemic accelerated digital transformation among churches. Without warning, churches found themselves scrambling to stream Sunday services. As Christ’s body, the church is by nature incarnational. Transitioning to digital platforms often feels unnatural as pastors, administrators, and officers are forced to navigate uncharted waters.
What about digital tools to help churches function the other six days of the week? There are a number of cloud-based software applications churches can use to lower their costs and improve the efficiency of their day-to-day operations. We’ve compiled a list of digital tools for church leaders to consider that help simplify the day-to-day administrative burden of church life.
Productivity: GSuite for Nonprofits
Google offers a suite of basic productivity tools to nonprofits for free including email, calendar, word processing (Docs), and storage (Drive). You can create email addresses under your church’s website domain at no extra cost. The only thing your church needs to use GSuite is an internet connection. This cloud-based solution enables church staff to produce, collaborate, and store their work for free.
Every committee member has likely attended weeknight meetings at the church facility to pray, discuss budgets, and coordinate important ministry work. With virtual meeting applications like Zoom, committees have the capability to meet without leaving their home. Though physical meetings certainly have an important place, Zoom actually enables more people to participate by being able to join from work, home, and even while out of town. Zoom offers a free version with time limits as well as modestly priced plans with no time limitations.
Project/Task Management: Asana
Email is a good way to communicate. It is not a good way to keep up with projects, tasks, due dates, and important files. Asana is a free project management tool churches can use to manage simple tasks like creating a Sunday bulletin and more complex tasks like coordinating a capital campaign.
Internal Communications: Slack
Have a quick question you need to ask a coworker or committee member? Instead of creating an email, Slack enables staff and committee members to chat without crowding their email inbox. For many staff, Slack has replaced the quick trip down the hall, phone call, or email to ask a coworker a question. Whether you want to talk privately with one person or discuss an idea as a group, Slack is an instant messaging application that facilitates collaboration and communication.
External Communications: Mailchimp
Churches often have regular email updates to send church members regarding events and important ministry updates. Using Mailchimp, churches can email up to 2,000 church members for free. Mailchimp enables you to combine text and images in an email template through a simple drag-and-drop method. You can even schedule your emails to be sent at future dates and times. It is a very user-friendly email marketing platform. You can import email addresses from your church database and even provide ways for new members to register online for email updates.
Text Messaging: Clearstream
Need to notify church members about a change of plans due to inclement weather? Want to text a reminder to youth group parents about an important deadline? Studies have shown that people are more likely to see and respond to a text on their phone than an email in their inbox. Clearstream offers a free application where you can load your members’ mobile phone numbers and send important messages. The free version of Clearstream enables you to send up to 25 messages per month.
Every generation of church leaders has had to consider the advantages of new technologies, whether it was the introduction of speaker systems into the sanctuary or developing the church’s first website.
New technological tools are created to reduce expenses and simplify common tasks. Though there may be a learning curve, pastors, administrators, and officers will discover that the latest wave of digital tools can enable them to advance the more mundane aspects of church life with greater ease.
Does you PCA ministry have feel tools that would be of use to others? If so, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the tool and a description of how it can help other ministries.
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