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What churches are telling us…about today and tomorrow

Category - Religion
by Bob Wolfe on June 2nd, 2015

Churches have always been an important part of our mission here at One Call Now, and for years, we have tried our best to do everything we can to stay attuned to their needs and provide them a reliable, affordable set of notification tools. In turn, these churches have rewarded us with their loyalty and enthusiastic feedback. They’ve given us some things to ponder for the future, too. But before we go there, let’s take a look at what we’ve seen thus far.

Here are some highlights from recent studies about our churches, technology and preferences:

Which One Call Now features are used most by our churches?

  • Voice Messaging – 91.4%
  • Subgroups – 54.9%
  • Roster Upload (Import) – 20.7%
  • Call Scheduling – 18.3%
  • One Call Now Group Leader Mobile App – 16.2%
  • Answer Flex (leaves message on voicemail) – 13.7%
  • Text-to-Speech – 11.5%
  • Email – 10.0%
  • SMS Text Messaging – 9.8%

Source: OCN 2013-2014 Surveys

What’s interesting here, is that while we send thousands of texts, emails, text-to-speech and social media push notifications, many of our pastors and other church leaders still very much rely on the “power of voice” to connect with their congregants. This use of voice is an important practical communication method for the church community, but it is also a means of extending influence, guidance and presence for church leaders. You can also see in the statistics that many of our churches have tailored their One Call Now service to provide targeted messaging to individual ministries in addition to regular use for church-wide notifications.

When we started One Call Now about ten years ago, of course, most congregants still used a land-line. Many still do as the principal point-of-contact for the family. But as a trip through just about any public place will prove, things have been a-changing. The world seems more “mobile” every day, and in fact, mobile technology platforms have proliferated:

What mobile technologies are Americans using today?

  • Cell phone – 91%
  • Smartphone – 58%
  • Tablet computer – 42%
  • E-Reader (Kindle, etc.) – 32%

Source: Pew Research, 2014

So, that’s a top-line view of usage across the country, much of it driven by younger demographics. But what of these younger demos…these millennials? How is their usage of mobile technology impacting their faith practice? Take a look at these numbers:

What are some important future technology trends for churches?

  • 70% of millennials (currently, those 18-29 year of age) read Scripture on a screen
  • 56% of Christian millennials research a church, temple or synagogue website prior to engaging with a community
  • 54% of Christian millennials watch online videos about faith or spirituality
  • 59% of Christian millennials access spiritual content online?

Source: Barna Group, 2013

These are just a handful of interesting studies conducted by us or others who research churches in the U.S., but there are new studies coming out all the time. As anyone in technology knows, things are constantly changing…and they will for churches, too. That’s a great opportunity for us to serve them, and we will.

P.S. If you’re a One Call Now client, we’d love to know how we’re doing, and what you need going forward. Thanks.