The Digital Change
The church is sitting on the ledge of immense change. Bob Dylan was right, “The times they are a changin’.” We could call this the digital age, but some have referred to it as the age of Amazon. Whether we like it or not, in this new world, technology rules. But what are the effects technology has on Church Growth in the Age of Amazon? Trying to keep up with the newest technology sometimes feels like chasing a rainbow, as soon as you’ve almost got it, your destination is suddenly farther off in the distance. Attempting to swim in the ocean of new technology often feels like drowning and many companies today will not make it to see tomorrow.
Brick and mortar businesses are struggling with the astronomical growth of the global online market and are still trying to figure out how to compete. Check out the following list of beloved companies left behind in the wake of growing digital sales.
Many articles have been written about the ever-changing shopping habits of consumers. Instead of taking a trip to a local store to purchase something, shoppers are searching online for the best products at the cheapest prices. Brick and mortar stores are struggling to keep up, and in many cases- failing. Once a bedrock of stability, department stores like J.C. Penney and Sears are in a “death spiral” and may not even make it through the year. One author wondered if 2017 will be “the death of retail as we know it.” The following chart comparing sales for the last few years between these two companies and Amazon paints a pretty clear picture of where the market is heading. It doesn’t look good for Sears, J.C. Penney, and a host of other retail giants.
Change and the Church
But, what does all this mean for the church? It’s one thing to talk about businesses struggling in the midst of a great digital upheaval, but how will this affect the church? The short answer is no one knows. But, the church who begins preparing for the future by embracing technological advances will be better situated to engage future tech-savvy congregants. On the other hand, those who sit, pining for the past will ultimately be left behind. There are three main things your church can do to prepare for the digital future.
1. Embrace Change
The saying goes, “Everyone loves change but no one wants to actually change.” Change costs us our personal comfort and familiarity and causes us to have to learn something new. But, change is the constant companion of any effective church. The church who isn’t learning new ways to serve, love, and relate to people who feel far from God, is also probably not growing. Jim Collins researched characteristics of growing companies and observed that the most successful companies obsessively prepare for the future (Great by Choice p. 121). The age of Amazon is upon us, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to turn your attention to your church’s overall online presence.
2. Websites Matter
One of the best places to start making necessary changes for the digital future is on your church’s website. Your church website is the new front door to your church. It’s the place a person will go before they ever consider attending your church for the first time. It’s their first impression of who you are and what you’re about. First impressions last a long time, so you better make the most the most of your one opportunity by having an effective website. You can read more about optimizing your church website here and here.
3. Online Presence Matters
In the same way a church’s physical road sign mattered greatly twenty years ago, a strong online presence is essential to every growing church today. This includes making your church more “Google friendly”, paying attention to the key words attached to each page on your website, and positioning your church ministries online for effective church growth. If you have never thought about a simple Google or Facebook ad campaign, you should. Your church’s ability to grow is partially tied to your ability to effectively make your presence known to the community and that will only happen through improving your online presence.
We’re Here to Help
The good news is you don’t have to walk this road alone. Missional Marketing has helped hundreds of churches prepare for the digital future through website audits and by helping optimize a church’s overall presence online.
Get Started on Church Growth in the Age of Amazon
Missional Marketing is a dedicated Christian communications firm working with Christian Churches and Organizations across the country, and we are also a Top 5% Certified Google Partner. So get in touch today, and we can get started.