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Situation faced: The Church, irrespective of its steady growth from 4 members in 1965 to 2910 members in 2015, struggles to reach out to larger (newer) communities and improve money collection. It struggles as well in reaching its local community especially its members at the right time with the right message. In brief, for the Church to engage its members and the public with respect to worship service, publicizing its social activities (evangelism, donations to the needy, visits to prisons, etc.) and payment of voluntary contributions, it had to count on their physical presence on its premises.
Action taken: The Church developed an interactive online presence (website) with payment integration for payment of tithe, offertory, voluntary thanksgiving, etc. Social media accounts were established to help create an online community with the secondary objective of driving traffic to the website and engaging the congregation remotely outside church service hours. Mobile money and a point of sale (POS) device were used to facilitate cashless transactions. Supportive committees were set up while interconnecting existing ones. Some of the pastors upload videos to social media as supplement to morning devotions. Events were promoted on the website and social media.
Results achieved: Amongst the lot, there is currently an increase in social media engagements through event posts, live streaming, image and other post formats and also an increase in participation of church events by almost 50% on average as well as an increase in the number of website visitors from 2558 (901 unique visitors) in the first year after deployment to 11,612 visitors (5841 unique visitors) in the third year as at September 2017. Even though membership statistics surprisingly indicated a 638 decline in 2017, which is worth investigating.
Lessons learned: Although deploying the online system was successful, it came with its lessons drawn from challenges which cannot be ignored. These include trust in electronic payments, the need for strategic framework in the adoption of technology, the need to educate users. Other lessons include the need for management support and readiness of employees/volunteers and resource availability as a precursor to achieving strategic IS innovation objectives.
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- Development of Strategies and Transformation Paths for Structured and Targeted Digital Change: The Case of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana Trinity Congregation
Sylvester Tetey Asiedu
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