Friday, March 11, 2011

Church On The Digital Cloud

By Brooklyn Lowery

A recent survey conducted by LifeWay Research found that very few churches are thinking about “the cloud” as anything more than fluffy, white vapor hanging in the sky.

It seems that church leadership have not moved from the desktop and hard drive-based world of church management – or even from the paper and pencil variety – and onto “the cloud” as it refers to Web-based management tools.

A September 2010 survey sponsored by Fellowship Technologies, a partner in LifeWay’s Digital Church initiative, found that only 12 percent of Protestant churches use Web-based church management software to share information about their church members and ministries.

The survey also asked about what other tools churches use “to share information about members, volunteers and events across ministry areas or departments,” and revealed that about one-third say they use computer-based management tools, 28 percent use multiple software packages, 8 percent say they don’t use any tools, and 12 percent aren’t sure.

Curtis Simmons, vice president of marketing and community at Fellowship Technologies shared the reason they sponsored this research: “We wanted to see how many churches were running software in the cloud. Our goal is for the church to focus on its core competency – ministering to people. Cloud solutions seek to provide a church access to their information anytime, anywhere they need it without local software to maintain.”

Ten percent of churches participating in the survey say they use “other” tools to communicate information, but those “other” tools are rarely formal church management tools. Rather they are items like the phone (1 percent), bulletins (1 percent) or e-mail (2 percent).

“Traditional communication tools are still helpful, but increasingly people expect to be able to interact with information about people and ministries in their church when they need it,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “One reason churches go to the cloud is accessibility.”


Until next time...share the journey and enjoy the ride!