New technologies are becoming available so quickly that it can be difficult for churches to know if, when, and how to adopt them. These tech blockers can create tech paralysis: A condition marked by avoiding all decisions about adopting new technology.
There are many voices in every church making strong cases for different purchases and factoring in the opportunity cost of every choice can be overwhelming.
Because of this paralysis, tech adoption doesn’t happen in a lot of churches until it’s forced—and that is not a place you want to be. By that time, you lose a lot of the potential wins that come by being an early adopter.
Here are a few of the biggest tech blockers in the church that prevent it from investing in new tech solutions—and how to overcome those areas of paralysis:
Mid-size churches can really start feeling the pinch with tech solutions. They don’t have the budget for a lot of new technology like larger churches do, but they’re growing beyond their ability to use freeware versions or benefit from the lower tiers of some payment options.
Once you get to the mid-size level, each decision needs to be made with care. If you make a purchase that ultimately doesn’t help you do what you’re doing better, you’ve cost yourself the opportunity to invest in what could have been a better choice. This knowledge can leave churches in the middle “making do” with what they have a lot longer than they should.
Overcoming expense paralysis
- Consider the opportunity cost: It’s good to start by analyzing the benefits and potential losses by making each decision. You want to answer questions like: What are we saying no to by making this decision? What are we potentially missing out on if we don’t make this change/purchase?
- Choose based on return on investment: When it comes to making big purchases, churches often default to making obvious changes. They might invest in a new sound system, chairs, carpeting, or equipment that will change the look or feel of the environment. While there’s something to be said for making improvements to the facilities, they’re not always investments that can actually give you some sort of return. You need to factor in what changes might ultimately contribute to your operations or budget. Leadership teams need to ask themselves if the change will make something easy enough that it will free up resources (time, energy, money) for other endeavors. For example, investing money in a digital giving solution might not offer the obvious change that new speakers or new spotlights might, but what if a giving app increases your budget by making people more likely to give regularly? The investment that’s going to give you the highest ROI seems like the best bet.
- Make sure you understand the expense: Sometimes our impressions aren’t entirely accurate. Make sure you’re taking everything into account when considering a new tool. For instance, we frequently interact with people who are under the impression that Pushpay is too expensive for their church to implement. When we reveal the truths about our app and our giving guarantee, they’re completely surprised.
2. Disorganization from multiple giving systems
As your church invests in technology, especially when it comes to giving platforms, many of the different systems don’t talk to each other and this can make administration difficult. For instance, you might have online giving, kiosk giving, mobile or text giving, cash, check, ACH and envelope giving, but everything is coming from a different place and has to be reconciled manually by a system administrator.
Overcoming chaos paralysis
- Do your research: Do an audit of your current giving platforms. Do you have more than one or two ways to give? If not, you really need to look at how you may be missing out on generosity because you are limiting the ways your congregation can give. If you have multiple options, analyze how people are giving currently. Do you have accessible data that can give you some insight into how giving is happening currently at your church? In what ways could this improve?
- Assess the situation: Looking at current technology trends outside of the church, the next generation of givers is very savvy and do more and more things on their smartphones. In fact, last Christmas season, Amazon saw 70% of their users shop from a mobile device. You may think you already have a “digital giving solution” but if you actually look at the numbers, you’ll probably find that engagement with this technology is in the low single digits. Using a giving solution like Pushpay can easily integrate all of your giving systems (online, kiosk, mobile/text, cash, check, ACH, envelope) and reconcile them together under one place all while driving mobile adoption by your church inspiring generosity from a new generation and encouraging the current generation, allowing them to give to your church anytime…anywhere.
3. Steep learning curve
Sometimes churches avoid a new tool because it’s so complicated, or they sink a lot of money into it and only use a couple of its features. Setting aside time to learn how to use a new software can be difficult, and it can be even harder to train someone else to do it. You have to find someone that will be committed to running it, and if you lose them, you have to start over with someone else.
Overcoming learning paralysis
- Set realistic expectations: One reason learning a new software or tool seems so daunting is because we want to experience the payoff as soon as we make the payment. Some tech solutions are going to require some investment before you start seeing returns. Do some research into how long it takes churches to implement this new tool.
- Find someone else who’s using it: If you know of a church or organization in your area that’s already using this tool, set up a time to come learn from them. It’s more than likely that they’d be happy to help you figure out how to use it well.
- You need an adoption plan: As you know, it can take a lot of work just to get everyone willing to invest in a new tool. One of the biggest questions that people have is whether or not it’s going to get used. It’s important to have a plan to ensure that everyone implements this new solution.Luckily, some companies believe so passionately in their tech that they actually have a plan in place to help you get your people involved and using it to its full potential. At echurch, we don’t succeed unless you do, so it’s important to help churches get the most out of our giving app. We believe that the church is changing, and we’re committed to helping your church adopt mobile giving. We even do most of the heavy lifting for you.
4. Too many options
One of the biggest contributors to paralysis is the overwhelming feeling that there are just too many choices out there. If you’re interested in a new soundboard, which one should you choose? What about the number of presentation software options. If you want a online giving solution, are you going to have a working understanding of the 16 choices available?! Comparing features can be imposing and exhausting. It’s no wonder that putting off making decisions is so natural.
Overcoming decision paralysis
- Make a list of what you need: Start by deciding exactly what features you need, and check different options against your list. For example, if you were looking for giving software, you might start with a list like this:
- Create a list for surprise discoveries: Once you start comparing your list of requirements against some of the options out there, you’re also going to make discoveries about things you didn’t even know were options. For instance, you might be looking for a good mobile solution for giving and find that echurch provides a total engagement church app that incorporates all of the requirements you expect from mobile giving and allows you to engage your church with your sermons, blog, church calendar, etc. In addition, echurch also has an overwhelming adoption rate when Pushpay technology is implemented at your church, after all, you want technology that your church will use. Make sure you keep a list of these awesome discoveries.
Making Wise Tech Decisions to Overcome Church Blockers
Technology’s role in churches is growing. Many of these changes are providing all kinds of opportunities for churches who aren’t afraid of trying new ideas and implementing new tools.
People are used to using tech solutions for many important areas of their life. We’ve found that one of the biggest barriers to church growth is not meeting people where they are digitally. This obstacle to church growth was included in our book 5 Bad Habits That Kill Church Growth and How to Break Them. Download it for free today, and discover practical tech tips and other helpful advice to grow your church.