3 Ways Tech Can Brighten the Future of the Church

DeSales Media was given the opportunity to host a panel at the Napa Institute’s 2018 flagship conference in Napa, California.

Each year, hundreds of the world’s Catholic lay leadership, clergy, religious and deacons make their way to the wine capital of the US for inspiration, information, and dialogue, all deeply invested in the future of the church. They go to be spiritually enriched: apart from the excellent formal programming, there are over 100 Masses celebrated in less than a week. They go to learn what others are doing to help the Church blossom across ministries and regions. And they go to speak to one another about the future of the church and what the next steps should be. After all, in vino veritas (in wine there is truth).

Queue the panel, entitled “Teach a Church to Tech, Feed It for a Lifetime: A dialogue on the landscape of the Church in 2025.” The panel was moderated by the Chief Operating Officer of DeSales Media Group, Bill Maier. Panelists included Matt Meeks, Chief Digital Officer, Archdiocese of Los Angeles; J.M. Boyd, Partner – Lead Consultant, Glass Canvas; Fr. John Gribowich, Diocese of Brooklyn; and Dave Plisky, Director of Marketing & Digital, DeSales Media Group. The panel covered the landscape of the evolving Church in the US and what we can expect it to be like in 2025, what the Church can and should do to thrive on the digital continent, and what steps we can all take right now.

Watch a recording of the panel in its entirety here:

A number of important points were made during the talk. Here are a few.

1. Priests and laypeople
There will continue to be fewer priests being formed, and parish management is often analog, inefficient, and burdensome for those responsible. The shrinking number of priests is a concern not only for laity and church attendees, but also for the priests themselves. Laity will be called upon to enable parishes to thrive, both at scale through the creation of tools, and in the churches through the implementation and use of those tools.

2. The Church and technology
Technologists have a fear of being human, and the church has a problem adopting technology usefully. The Catholic Church has historically been an innovator, but has been afraid to lead in digital. The church must facilitate good and genuine encounters with and without technology. Digital products can be and are being made and used to serve dioceses and their parishioners. This is a huge opportunity for the Church.

3. Distribution and data
The diocesan structure of the Church can be utilized. With healthy, streamlined communications and distribution models, available materials can reach more parishioners with less effort. The church must own her own data. And the only way we’ll be able to do this at scale is to come together in one space, under the same set of best practices.

Is this striking a chord with you? Come chat with us in our new LinkedIn Group, Digital Catholics.

Or if you’d like to reach out directly, just email me at dplisky@desalesmedia.org.

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