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We All Need to Be Hybrid Now

Dr. James Emery White | Mecklenburg Community Church | Updated: Feb 26, 2024
We All Need to Be Hybrid Now

We All Need to Be Hybrid Now

According to the 2024 State of the Church Technology report from Pushpay, 91% of all churches are livestreaming their worship services. 90% are going further and employing a hybrid model of ministry which combines both in-person and virtual elements.

Equally telling is that the number of churches considering a move to in-person-only services has decreased by 21% when compared to the previous year. This would seem to reflect the finding that 62% of churches believe their livestreaming will play a key role for their church in the coming years (representing a 42% increase from the previous year).

This is good.

It shows that the vast majority of churches have embraced some aspect of a hybrid approach to ministry. It also shows that the church is realizing that a hybrid model, for the world in which we live, is here to stay.

But it isn't good enough.

A hybrid approach to ministry is so much more than simply livestreaming a service. It involves a comprehensive approach that embraces the physical and the digital. Molly Matthews, CEO of Pushpay, commented on the findings, noting that churches must continually evolve their use of technology to enhance the church experience and make ministry content and connection available 24/7. She adds that this adaptability and innovation are essential as churches seek to engage with their congregants in new and meaningful ways.

As I wrote in Hybrid Church:

I am contending for thoughtful engagement of digital tools for the sake of the evangelistic cause. Moving forward, most of the church’s initial contact with a lost world will be digital. We must use digital mediums to connect with our world in order to call people back to God.... There is a difference between being a thoughtless adopter and a cultural missionary. And make no mistake, our mission field has changed dramatically....

The goal is not to transform the church into a solely digital form but to transform the church’s thinking and methods and strategies in order to reach a post-Christian world. Accomplishing this goal will necessarily include taking full advantage of the digital revolution. We must embrace a hybrid model of ministry that involves the digital and the physical because that is the reality of our world.

So, I welcome the embrace of a hybrid model knowing it will look different for every church, which is fine. What is critical (and hopeful) is that 95% of all church leaders believe that technology is important to their mission.

They are right.

It is.

James Emery White 

Sources

“State of Church Tech 2024,” Pushpay, read online.

Tushar Aggarwal, “Pushpay’s 2024 State of Church Technology Report Reveals 91% of US Churches Livestream Worship Services,” Business Upturn, February 15, 2024, read online.

James Emery White, Hybrid Church: Rethinking the Church in a Post-Christian Digital Age (Zondervan), order from Amazon.

About the Author

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and a former professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Hybrid Church: Rethinking the Church for a Post-Christian Digital Age, is now available on Amazon or from your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit churchandculture.org where you can view past blogs in our archive, read the latest church and culture news from around the world, and listen to the Church & Culture Podcast. Follow Dr. White on X, Facebook and Instagram at @JamesEmeryWhite.

Image credit: ©Clint Patterson/Unsplash

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and a former professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Hybrid Church: Rethinking the Church for a Post-Christian Digital Age, is now available on Amazon or from your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit churchandculture.org where you can view past blogs in our archive, read the latest church and culture news from around the world, and listen to the Church & Culture Podcast. Follow Dr. White on X, Facebook and Instagram at @JamesEmeryWhite.



We All Need to Be Hybrid Now