I worked in a cathedral for a large portion of my life. Not in the religious sector. I was employed in the customer service division, which was a subsidiary company owned by the cathedral. To me, it was just another job in events management and customer service.
But working in a cathedral environment for so long, you pick up on a lot of stuff. The dignitaries and honored guests don’t mind talking in front of the staff, as they hardly notice us. And the one big thing I picked up one is this. Churches are dying.
A Dying Breed
This might be an extreme way of saying it. What I mean is the number of donors and members of the church are dwindling. Thanks to modern technology and enlightened education, fewer young people are willing to commit to the church. And, sadly, a lot of the previous members of the church are now dying off.
It is morbid but factual. The rate at which the church is losing members and donors to death is far greater than the new intake of members. And this means less money overall.
Churches are greedy. This is something else I learned while working there. They love to hoard money, spend as little as possible, and then moan when they don’t have enough. Even though they always have more than enough.
So, in recent years the church has been looking for new ways to bring in younger donors and new members. So I want to look at one of the biggest methods the church is using to stay relevant. Technology.
The first example of churches using modern technology to stay ahead has been forced upon them due to the global pandemic. But, its success means it will most likely stay in use long after we are clear of the virus. Sermons and services are now being broadcast online. Some churches had already implemented this feature before, but now nearly every major church is doing this.
And since they have started they have noticed a sharp increase in attendance numbers for their services. The main reason for this is the fact that anyone can tune in, no matter where they are. A lot of people no longer live in their home city or have the chance to visit their favorite town. So these services instantly allowed people to travel back to the churches they love. It was foolish of the churches to fight this advancement for so long.
A big part of church activities involves the guests and members being able to talk to the priests and clergy. Asking their advice, seeking counsel, or just having a friend to chat with. Churches used to be the hub of societies. So it is no surprise people still gravitate towards them.
A lot of churches are now moving to online chat rooms and forums. Having dedicated clergy members online to have video chats with people or take confessions online.
This also allows churchgoers to communicate with each other in group settings, similar to how they would if they were attending in person. A lot of the older community that attends church do so because they are lonely. Going to church gives them a sense of purpose and allows them to be part of a community and meet others. By extending their reach online, the church is making sure these people are still supported.
You might be shocked to learn that a lot of cathedrals have gift shops. And these often aren’t just little dinky gift shops like you’d find in a museum. Some of them are filled to the brim with quality products. Products like the besten geschenke zur erstkommunion für jungen, or DVDs of popular church sermons and choir concerts. Along with other fabulous gifts.
These shops were a good source of income for the churches. Day-trippers and those on holiday would always stop to buy a few trinkets. But thanks to dwindling numbers, and the pandemic, these sources of income are drying up.
Which is why a lot of churches are now setting up online stores. This idea is nothing new. Online shopping has been around nearly as long as the internet has. But a lot of churches simply didn’t have the infrastructure to support online shopping. And they wanted to have customers come on-site to make purchases, to encourage them to explore and hopefully join up.
With less through traffic on a daily basis, it makes sense more churches are now using top-tired courier services to offer fast delivery and a great range of products. And since more people are online shopping than ever before, they are slowly boosting their profits.