I’m not saying technology is perfect, but I am saying that I don’t know where we’d be without it. Apps, tech tools, gadgets, iPhones, and the like, basically enable us to connect with our community and our congregation in ways we would never have dreamed of twenty years ago. You know, the dark ages when we had to call an “all-church” meeting to communicate information to everyone. The church has come a long way in embracing technology, though. Churches are blogging, podcasting, mass emailing, tweeting, snapping, and even playing Pokémon Go. I have a little party in my brain whenever I see a church that’s riding the cutting edge.
Honestly, the greatest problem with technology these days is keeping up with what’s new. You can’t go chasing every trend or new idea, but there are some useful tech products that are definitely here to stay. That’s why I’m going to share the five tech things you need to invest in this fall.
Some of these things are free. Some of these things are inexpensive. Some of these things are major investments. These are our favorite tech things, but if you find an alternative that works better for you, we’re just happy we got you thinking like a nerd for a few minutes.
#1 slack is the best way to communicate with your church staff
Slack is the golden child of awesome free stuff. It’s basically AOL Instant Messenger for work. Rather than bog down every inbox on staff with tiny updates and minutia, Slack offers a new mode of instant and reliable communication. This free app is available on every major mobile platform, as well as Macs and PCs, so there’s just no reason you shouldn’t be using it.
Slack is so much more than a simple messaging app, though. It integrates with hundreds of other apps out there on the interwebs. For instance, anytime someone mentions your church on Twitter, Slack can automatically notify your staff of this so someone can respond. When you have too many messages and notifications flying around, you create another chat room known as a #channel to group messages and activities together by topic or purpose.
Slack is perfect for:
- Notifying your staff about an office closure.
- Asking straw poll style questions about a project you’re working on.
- Getting creative input from your fellow team members.
- Getting notified when your church sends out a mass email so everyone on staff can be on the same page about what just went out.
- Reporting your comings and goings like an “in-out” board so the front desk knows who’s currently on site to take phone calls and walk-ins.
- Sharing files with one another for projects you’re collaborating on.
Check it out here!
#2 elvanto is a simple, beautiful, easy to use, church management system
We have been in love with Elvanto for a long time. This Australian based church management system caught our eye before they had even created a complete system because their vision for church management was so compelling. Elvanto does all the things you would expect from a church management system (CMS), but does so with a poise and simplicity that you just can’t find elsewhere.
I like to look at Elvanto like this; it’s the teenager in the world of church management systems that has an incredibly bright future ahead of it. Standing on the shoulders of the solutions that came before it, Elvanto pairs down the many thousands of features found in the confusing CMS you’re probably using now, and then simplifies them into a simple feature set that any staff member or volunteer can understand. If Apple made a church management system, this would be how it worked.
Plus, Elvanto is probably substantially less expensive than the CMS you are currently using. Starting at $60/month, Elvanto’s solution comes in at around $210 for a church of 1500 people. That’s the deal of a lifetime when you’ve been paying $1000 or more for your CMS every month.
Also, Elvanto has great dedicated mobile apps for IOS and Android.
Check it out here!
#3 trello is the best way to make lists, stay organized, and track agendas
Trello may look like a simple “to-do” list app at a glance. However, Trello is actually a powerful collaborative eco system that will help you communicate ideas and linear thoughts like never before. Trello is an app available on the web, as well as iOS and Android. It features a list making system comprised of boards, lists, and cards. Essentially, it’s like having a digital wall of post-it notes, but you can never run out of walls.
Trello allows multiple users to collaborate on boards so that you could plan out a sermon calendar, or even a church event schedule collaboratively with your staff team. Also, Trello integrates with Slack, so if you use Trello as a system of communicating responsibilities to your church staff they can be notified via slack when something is added to their list.
Trello is free, but there’re a few advanced team-level features that you may have to pay for if you want to use those. Trello is very reasonably priced, though.
Trello is essentially the way we keep our entire company organized here at everything.church. So I know you’re going to love it as much as we have.
Check it out here!
#4 sheyun z1-smooth c+ 3-axis stabilizer
Yeah, that’s a crazy sounding name. Don’t get caught up in how technical and nerdy the title sounds. The Z1 is an auto-stabilizer for a smartphone. When you mount your phone on the Z1, you can pan and pivot with smooth buttery stabilization that can make your camera shots look way more polished. While this wouldn’t be a great investment for live production, any churches out there that like to make videos for the weekend, events, or social media, will love that this $230 stabilizer works with basically any smart phone.
The Z1 is a great investment because the stabilizer is compatible with basically any phone you buy in the future. Ultimately, you would have the iPhone 8 and still be using this thing. That’s great news because our smart phones have rapidly become the best cameras most of us own. As a matter of fact, several blockbuster films have already been shot exclusively on an iPhone! So as you buy new phones with better cameras, this little gadget will make sure your shots look smooth and stable without breaking the bank.
If you are a church that likes to create videos on a regular basis, and your smartphone gets used as a part of the process, the Z1 is a “can’t miss” investment.
#5 eero routers will supercharge your church office wifi
We use these things at everything.church, and they are absolutely amazing. Just like you, we got tired of dead spots in our wifi network, or losing connection because our building is too big. Eero really saved us from terrible internet issues, and we’re never looking back.
While eero wouldn’t be ideal in providing free wifi for your entire church on Sunday mornings, it is perfect for a staff under 100 people to be productive during the week without having to call IT all the time.
Basically, eero works by using something called mesh networking to ensure your office spaces are totally covered with sweet, beautiful wifi. One eero router gets plugged into your modem. Then the other eero routers are dispersed throughout your work space to expand that coverage to everyone. I know you’ve probably heard about ways that other routers do things like this, but no one does it like eero.
Coming in at $500 for three eero routers, these devices are a total steal when it comes to making an investment in productivity. Internet downtime is the second largest productivity killer in the American workplace. Plus, the eero router is totally maintenance free. That means no more unplugging them and plugging them back in to reset them, and no more toying around with settings experimentally to see if you can fix something that has gone wrong. There are almost no settings on these routers at all actually. They update on their own. They reset on their own. They even intelligently determine the best ways eliminate interference and connect together on their own. Routers don’t come smarter than this.
tech things worth investing your time and money on
These five things are products and services that we believe are going to be valuable for the long haul. If you read this post and it’s 2020, there’s a good chance this is a bit outdated, but for now, these are some great investments to make this fall. So don’t be scared to jump in and give these things a try as you work to keep your church on the cutting edge.
Chief Executive Officer
TK has worked in the church for over a decade and brings years of executive leadership experience along with years of experience in media and technology. TK has a Masters in Public Administration and is an expert of navigating the minefield of procedural issues churches experience. He’s not quite so stuffy though; he is vibrantly creative and understands what it takes to create and plan a weekend from start to finish including video, music, and production.