Technology Predictions that Will Impact Churches in 2019

Here are some high-level predictions for 2019 regarding technology and how I think those shifts will impact churches.

Snapchat Juke

Snapchat will roll out a new feature that will tempt churches to think it’s worth investing in, but it won’t be worth it. I think that feature will be focused on identity and/or community-building. Churches will see it as an opportunity to reach people, but they will be wrong.

Social Media Exit…SMEXIT?

The Great Social Media Exodus will continue and churches will lean more on messaging tools to build community instead of social networks. Messaging tools like chat rooms, forums, and email were the original social networks, anyway. They offer some privacy, safety, and controllability…all things that people and community leaders find valuable.

Facebook Unravels

Facebook’s privacy and legal woes will result in diminishing ROI on Facebook ads, leading churches to look for greener pastures for their advertising dollars. I hope evangelism training as a growth tactic will make a comeback, but I’m not optimistic about it.

Tik Tok Makes Eyes Roll

Tik Tok will continue to grow among “the youths” and Student Pastors across America will discover it, much to the chagrin of the other adults in their lives. Elders, deacons, adult volunteers will be rolling their eyes as the student pastor highlights the top posts every Wednesday night. The people over at Stuff You Can Use will make a free youth group game based on the Tik Tok concept.

Event Planning? Really?

A better event/get-together app will launch and capture massive mindshare among young millennials and older Gen-Zers, possibly even as part of Facebook Messenger or Instagram, but not built into Facebook proper. Churches will think they can get more people to show up with this new app. They might be right, but who knows…

TrainedUp

TrainedUp will launch two new products and an international training initiative, delighting churches and missions organizations around the world. Everyone will be surprised when everything rolls out with no hiccups.

What comes after social media is dead?

It’s an old trope now, but social media is getting old. People are leaving social media and choosing alternatives. The social media migration is happening.

When we jumped on Myspace, it was because our friends were there and it was cool. The same was the case for Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, et al. We wanted to connect with people we already knew.

Social networks are less social now, provide less value, and some say they’re even bad for you. Increased social media engagement is directly linked to more loneliness. So if social media is bad and people are leaving, what comes next.

We’ve already seen several waves of people leaving social media. Sometimes people leave because of privacy concerns and sometimes it’s because they’re trying to kick an unhealthy addiction.

I’m not leaving social media, but my participation is slowly waning. I haven’t used Instagram in months. Facebook has been relegated to checking once a week. And Twitter is, well, I’m still using Twitter a lot.

When I see people leave a social media platform, I often wonder what they’ll do to stay connected to people. Those 1500 friends on Facebook aren’t going to email you updates to their life. The people you follow on Instagram aren’t going to send you text messages with pics.

Then it occurred to me. People leaving social media aren’t taking their online social graph with them. They’re deciding to go without the constant connection to hundreds of people. They’re opting for direct connection with a handful.

Instead of social media, they’re just messaging their friends. Some are using plain ol’ text messaging while others are using apps like Messenger or WhatsApp.

That direct connection to a handful of people is enticing. Honestly, there’s fewer than 50 people who I really care enough about to want to know what’s going on in their lives on a semi-regular basis.

Why would I fill my head with random life updates from people I don’t care about? It seems like a basic question that we’ve been asking since Twitter was Twttr, but it’s still the best question.

Like most people, I use messaging more than any other digital networking tool, but messaging isn’t enough for me. I want to share and document my life, for myself later and for my family now. Messaging doesn’t scratch that itch.

The next thing for me, as social media begins to fade, is to go back to my blogging roots. This blog is another attempt to regain ownership over how and where I share my life and who I share it with.

I have ideas for what I’ll post here, but I think it’ll form on it’s own as I go.