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PRESS RELEASE – Needed but Lacking: Impact of Pastors’ Technology Background During the Pandemic

The Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies announces the publication of its first Tech Trend Paper, entitled “Needed but Lacking: Impact of Pastors’ Technology Background During the Pandemic.” Tech Trend papers provide a concise but in-depth analysis of key themes raised in the Tech in Churches During COVID-19 research project. Needed but Lacking identifies specific areas of technological knowledge and experience related to digital media that church leaders needed to understand to successfully transition to online worship services during the pandemic.


This Tech Trend paper draws its conclusions from the analysis of 50 Tech Talk sessions with 478 congregational leaders hosted by the Center for Congregations in 2020 and 2021, exploring their tech challenges and problem-solving strategies when implementing digital media. The paper explores three key takeaways from the Tech Talks about how pastors will adapt to online streaming: (1) pastors need to learn the basics of how to use media equipment, (2) pastors should have a general understanding of how the internet works and its effects on churches, and (3) pastors need to know how to problem-solve technological problems as they arise. Overall, it provides insight into the ways that the average church in America has been significantly impacted by changes necessitated by the pandemic. It also points to specific knowledge areas that church leaders need to learn to better implement and maintain their church community through technology during times of crisis.


Needed but Lacking offers a response to the report “When Pastors Put on the ‘Tech Hat’: How Churches Digitized during COVID-19” released by the Tech in Churches During COVID-19 research project in November 2021. The primary goal of this research project is to explore and analyze the evolving relationship between technology and religious congregations during a pandemic that is still impacting churches in many parts of the world. This study analyzes data from the Center for Congregations in Indianapolis, Indiana, collected through their “Connect Through Tech” grant program. These grants supported more than 2700 congregations across the state of Indiana during the pandemic, enabling them to purchase digital equipment and other technological resources to facilitate their transition from traditional offline to digital worship services and ministries during times of social distancing and lockdowns.


Needed but Lacking: Impact of Pastors’ Technology Background During the Pandemic, the first Tech Trend paper, is available online at: https://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/195017

For more information about the Tech in Churches During COVID-19 project see: https://www.techinchurches.org/


Heidi A Campbell is available for interviews related to this report, and her research on churches, technology, and digital culture. She can be contacted via email at heidic@tamu.edu or through the project’s Senior Researcher, sophie.osteen@tamu.edu.

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