Future Church: Leaning into the Digital Disruption

Originally written for TonyMorganLive.com

Digital disruption has been at work for a while. It has ripped newspaper companies to shreds, flipped the music industry on its head, and given the United States Postal Service a fit. We’re starting to feel its effects in the Church, as well.

Harvard Business Review recently shared a study of industries anticipating moderate to massive digital disruption. Nonprofits were only a few points behind Technology companies with over 50% of executive leaders anticipating digital disruption in the next 12 months. Though the Church was not ranked separate from other nonprofits, there are a couple reasons I believe we are prone to major shifts:

1. We’re still thinking small when it comes to technology.

Church leaders still tend to think of digital as “that thing the Communications Director deals with.” But as HBR put it, “Digital is no longer the shiny front end of the organization – it’s integrated into every aspect of today’s [organizations].” Websites and social media pages are no longer enough. Building a mobile app is no longer enough. All of those are “add-on” approaches to digital; a fresh coat of paint on a rusty old car. When true digital innovation comes to the Church, that car won’t even run anymore.

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Ryan Stigile