3 Tech Trends For Worship and Parish Data in 2024

The Church has traditionally approached the integration of faith and technology with caution, but a recent report highlights shifts in this relationship.

Over two hundred parish priests, staff, and leaders participated in the Catholic edition of the third annual State of Church Technology report. This annual benchmark study surfaces digital trends in the Church and uncovers the technology priorities, concerns, and expectations of U.S. parishes. It provides leaders with insights into how other parishes are using technology to fulfill their mission. 

“This report isn’t just a collection of data points. It represents the work that parishes all over the country have invested in evangelization, engagement, and discipleship, all to achieve that ultimate goal [of bringing more people into a relationship with Jesus],” wrote Fr. Brandon Macadaeg in the report’s foreword. He leads two cluster parishes and serves as rector of the Cathedral of Christ the Light in the Diocese of Oakland. 

Hybrid Worship Isn’t Diminishing In-Person Attendance

Amid ongoing debates on the influence of livestreamed Mass on attendance, hybrid worship services have emerged as a dependable strategy for parishes. 75% currently offer and plan to continue these services in the future, and for leaders who prioritize technology to fulfill their mission, livestreaming Mass has emerged as their foremost tool. Midsize and large parishes continue to embrace and sustain hybrid worship, demonstrating its ability to meet the needs of a broader community.

Protecting the Flock

Religious organizations have become a frequent target of cyber attacks in recent years. One parish lost $1.75 million and another incident involved unauthorized access to a diocese charity database that impacted 13,000 individuals. According to the report, despite security and data protection concerns, leaders are not shying away from embracing digital tools. On the contrary, they are adopting a more proactive approach, placing a higher emphasis on security when assessing new technologies. 

Delaying Adoption

Although the pandemic fueled the adoption of tools to connect with parishioners, updating their technology isn’t a top priority. When comparing data points over the last three years of our report, parishes are reverting back to old habits of viewing technology as quick fixes. 43% evaluate technology only when the need arises, indicating that they continue to work with antiquated systems that sacrifice performance, quality, and security.

What’s Preventing Adoption?

A consistent theme throughout the study reveals that leaders want more technology to fulfill their mission—but other data points suggest otherwise. The full report dives deeper into the patterns that might explain why parishes continue to hit a wall. What’s keeping them from taking the next step? 

Download a copy of the 2024 Catholic State of Church Technology report and discover insights into what emerging technologies parish leaders across the country are exploring and how they’re approaching digital tools to facilitate connection beyond Sunday Mass.