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“The global embrace of Internet technologies has reconfigured the fabric of society for congregations in a contemporary context. Adaptation to these new tools of ministry in the 21st century is no longer the luxury it was in the 1990s. The use of technology is now a congregational necessity,” declares a “Faith Communities Today” study carried out by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. 

Based on data gathered in 2010, the study showed a dramatic increase in congregations’ acceptance of e-mail—from 66 percent in 2005 to 90 percent in 2010. There was a slight drop in the number of congregational websites—from 77 percent to 69 percent—but the study suggests the drop could be the result of more churches using social media like Facebook and Twitter. 

Size of congregation, age, and gender are among the factors in receptivity to technology, said the study’s authors. While smaller churches tend to be less likely to use Web technology, the report notes that Web activity can open the door to new members. The report indicated that the average congregation in the study was over 60 percent female, and that its findings revealed that the more women who were in the church, the less likely it would be to employ Internet technologies.

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June 3, 2013

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