Technology is evolving at an incredible rate, impacting the world around us.
- Did you know that there are 5 million mobile apps in Apple AppStore and Google Play Store?
- Did you know that 37% of the world is already using social media on a regular basis?
Tech innovations are not news anymore, they are part of our everyday life. Every morning we read about a new smart phone that can help us multitask, a new smart device like a smart speaker or a smart watch that could make our lives easier (or more complicated depending on how you see it) and a new social media network that we cannot afford not to be in.
Even though it could be a bit overwhelming, we the Church – The Body of Christ, cannot afford to ignore these trends simply because it directly impacts the people who we are called to serve. You may not think of yourself as tech-savvy, but if you are serious about serving others, then you need to have an open mind and at least try to understand, if not embrace, technology and social media.
The first step towards open-mindedness is to knowing what is going on around you – seeing the trends, analysing the statistics and then asking yourself, “Is this something that I should be looking at seriously for my church and my ministry?”.
Today, I am going try and help you take that first step by listing a few top technology and social media trends you should be aware of.
Top 5 Technology & Social Media Trends You Should Know About:
Trend 1: Billions of people are already on the internet and social media
Research shows that 3.7 billion people are already connected on the internet. That is 50% of the world’s population. And 2.3 billion people are on social media. That is 37% of the world’s population.
Opportunity: This unprecedented adoption of technology by the masses presents an incredible opportunity to you as a church leader to think of and pray about ways in which you can minister to billions of people using technology and social media.
Trend 2: Mobile & Social Media users are growing in number
Active social media users grew by 21% since Jan 2016.
This means people are not just signing up for the social media networks, they are actively starting to use them. This trend is not surprising when you consider that we humans are social beings. When our friends and family are on a particular platform, we also like to be on the same platform communicating with them. So we sign up for social networks where we are likely to stay connected with our tribe.
Opportunity: This trend opens the opportunity for churches and ministries to serve people in a relevant way by simply being present on the same platform. In the early days, there was a reason why churches were always build in the centre of a city – to be present where the people were. We need to adopt the same approach with technology. Go where the people are.
Trend 3: Digital user growth is a worldwide phenomenon
More than 75% of social media users are outside the developed world.
There was a time when connectivity was the biggest hindrance to technological advancement (it still is in some parts of the world). But thanks to the commercial, social and political benefits of internet and social media, today business corporations and governments are working hard to change that. Many governments around the world consider creating a low-cost connectivity infrastructure as one of their top priorities.
Opportunity: This opens up the opportunity for the church to reach the unreached, help and serve those in media-restricted parts of the world using technology and social media.
Trend 4: Time spent on social media is growing
Another study shows that more than 50% of time spent online is on social media and online TV/streaming.
Users are starting to spend an increased amount of time on the internet using their smart phones and personal devices. Low cost smart phones and affordable connectivity are the key drivers of this trend.
Opportunity: This trend opens up opportunity for the church to create Bible-based life-giving content and present it online in an engaging and relevant manner. As users spend more time online they will consume more content. If the content that the churches and ministries create, answers important questions and solve everyday life problems (which is what the Bible was designed to do) then we have the opportunity to help billions.
Trend 5: The younger generation prefers digital content
People between the ages 18 and 35 spend more than 20% of their time on the internet. The graph below by Neustar study shows (see the light green bars) how this age group dominated the online activities, consuming more content digitally.
The next generation prefers to shop, research and entertain themselves and connect with the world using internet and social media. So as a church it is important for us to be ready and prepared to present the Bible truths in their preferred format.
Opportunity: This trend opens up a huge opportunity to reach the younger generation with the ancient truth from the Bible. When churches and ministries are on the same platform as the younger generation, repackaging their content in a format that is preferred by that generation, then there is a better chance of reaching out to them and helping them.
Do you think these trends are important? Do you think knowing this will impact your approach to online ministry in anyway? If so, I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or thoughts on these trends, please leave your comments below or write to us using the form in the contact page.
Stay Connected. Stay Blessed.