In 2002, the late Pope John Paul II implored the Church to ‘put out to sea’ and attempt to evangelize the world with the internet’s help. He recognized that for the Church to remain relevant it must treat the internet as one of the modern world’s ‘realities’, stating that instead of worrying about it, the Church should use it as a tool for mass-communication.
The Church’s adoption of the internet, however, hasn’t been extensive. The ‘Papal Selfie’ - where Pope Francis posed for a photo with teenagers in Milan - was refreshing, but really only highlighted the cultural juxtaposition between the Church and technology.
For those who work in an administrative capacity for the Church, the need for new technology is great. That’s why it was interesting to see Church Desk - a mobile app which works on the cloud - raise $2 million. The software will allow Church volunteers and staff to plan their services and also engage with their community more effectively.
Christian Steffensen - the Danish entrepreneur who came up with the concept - wants to roll the platform out to more countries in Europe, while also expanding his marketing team. At the moment, Church Desk is being used by around a thousand churches across the UK, Denmark and Germany, with TechCrunch claiming that the platform has been used to arrange around 50,000 events already. This would imply that the platform’s already been a success, and ready to expand to other nations.
When asked by TechCrunch how Church Desk is going to help Church volunteers and workers he says;
‘We basically help the church engage their members to avoid churn and increase activity level. Something that they all want but don’t know how to do. Further, by working digitally they can free up resources from inefficient workflows to put into value added activities – basically changing the way churches are organized’
Church Desk also includes a shared intranet and a CMS system which gives Church workers a securer platform from which to base their campaigns.
In keeping with Pope John Paul II’s assertions, the Church’s use of digital could be more extensive. Church Desk is a step in the right direction, and proves that the sector is capable of being positively affected by technology and innovation. It’s now up to Steffenson to use the company’s $2 million in funding wisely, whilst also educating Church workers who may be unfamiliar with a cloud platform. It has to change perceptions, but its success so far seems to show that Church Desk is capable of doing just that.