Data Informed Discipleship: Evangelism in a Digital Era

Mar 19, 2024

I have always had a passion for serving, and have dedicated most of my career to helping  mission-driven organizations increase connection and belonging in their communities. In the nearly eight years that I’ve been with Pushpay, our company has grown and evolved in parallel with advances in technology—and so has the Church. 

Knowing that the digital world is constantly evolving hasn’t changed our focus of helping churches further their mission. But these new possibilities do influence how we innovate to best serve ministries. One of the most consistent, ongoing shifts we've seen is how churches can spread the gospel and connect with their communities online. 


Everything is Evolving

Technology has fundamentally transformed how we connect, communicate, and share our faith. Conversations about the gospel used to take place at dinner tables and on front porches, watching little league games or in between plays on Sunday football. Now those discussions take place through text, social media, and online sermons. In digital spaces, churches aren’t confined to their physical location—Christians can connect near and far, without geographic barriers.

The ability to reach the global community of Christians has never been more accessible for the Church—but reaching is just the first step. To make an impact, you need to connect. Every interaction, every click, every transaction is an opportunity to deepen relationships and foster a sense of belonging within your community. Your audience will tell you their needs, interests, and preferences through those actions, and give you insights for more targeted and effective outreach. 


Data Inspired Discipleship

In a rapidly evolving digital era, data—and how we use data— is becoming essential for business, consumers, and yes the Church. I truly believe that access to relevant and actionable data will unlock potential for ministry leaders, empowering them to connect with people on a deeper level. At Pushpay, we’ve coined the term ‘Data Discipleship’ which focuses on the use of data and analytics to complement and enhance church ministries and discipleship. What we mean by that, is that a data-informed approach to ministry can unlock engagement and discipleship capabilities —realizing that every data point is a potential life touched, every chart is a roadmap to discipleship, and every statistic is an opportunity for spiritual growth of a community member. 

Yet when I talk to Pastors and ministry leaders, they often struggle with where to start. Many grapple with how to define the engagement metrics that matter to their church and how to get access to those data points. 


The Staff of a Modern Shepherd

In the Bible, a shepherd would often use a staff to guide and protect their flock. Today, data is the shepherds’ staff in leading and guiding their church in its mission of evangelization. It can inform outreach efforts, help leaders prioritize and make a plan. 

Just like a shepherd needs a staff to guide and protect their flock, churches need to use data to support and enhance their evangelization efforts.

Most church leaders didn’t sign up for a life of servant leadership out of passion for managing and mining data. That’s what Pushpay’s tools are for. We build technology solutions to meet the needs of church staff, like our newest product, Pushpay Insights, which was intentionally designed to help leaders keep a pulse on the health of their community. 

Pushpay Insights pulls together all of your key metrics into one easy-to-use platform, allowing you to quickly spot trends and patterns in giving, attendance, and engagement. With this information at your fingertips, you’ll discover exciting new engagement opportunities to fuel your church’s mission. 

The Future of Evangelization

As technology continues to advance, the future possibilities of digital evangelization are limitless. And yet, as the Church further embraces technology and the power of data, we must all still recognize a key truth: evangelization is about building relationships. 

As a shepherd, your responsibility is to guide and care for your flock with love and compassion, using all the resources at your disposal. Data is the digital-age staff to help you do so. We at Pushpay are committed to supplying that staff, and supporting the Church in this bright and exciting future of evangelization. 


About the Author

Molly Matthews, CEO at Pushpay

Molly has been with Pushpay for more than seven years and has a passion for technology, ministry, and the church. She joined Pushpay as a Senior Implementation Manager, rapidly rising through Customer Success, leading Pushpay's multi-award winning team as Director of Customer Success, VP of Customer Success, and Chief Customer Officer. She is honored and humbled to lead Pushpay and its growing team. Molly lives with her husband and two daughters in the greater Seattle area.