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Contemporary Religiosity Facts: Technology*: Leader Resource 2 of the Congregations & Beyond Discussion Guide

  • By 2010 over 90% of congregations used email; seven in ten had websites, and four in ten had Facebook pages. The website is functionally a congregation’s front door; visiting the website is how people decide if they want to visit in person.
     
  • Congregations with significant numbers of young adults are roughly twice as likely as older congregations to be heavy users of electronic technology.
     
  • In 2010 40% of congregations said they use Facebook. This is a staggering rate of adoption since the general public use of Facebook was only 4 years old in 2010.
     
  • Seven percent of congregations are on Facebook but do not have a web presence. This may well signal a shift and even a positive trend in the use of technology by religious groups. Currently, few congregational websites are interactive or updated regularly. On the other hand, Facebook pages have a dynamic interactive quality; they are easily updated and offer timely, relevant information to a faith community’s “friends.” One distinct drawback of this strategy, however, is that few congregational Facebook pages contain relevant contact information in case outsiders come knocking. Facebook is great for congregational insiders, but may well be less functional as a yellow-pages ad for those shopping for a new faith community home.
     
  • The most critical reason for awakening to the necessity of technology in congregational life is the realization that the social context has changed. Congregations must change with this social shift in order to keep their presentation of faith relevant. Increased use of tech is strongly related to the congregation being characterized by willingness to change to meet new challenges.

*Sources:  “A Decade of Change in American Congregations 2000-2010” (PDF), by David A. Roozen, and “Virtually Religious: Technology and Internet Use in American Congregations” (PDF), by Scott Thumma, both published by Faith Communities Today.

For more information contact conglife @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Tuesday, September 25, 2012.

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