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6 Tools for Creating Great Church Apps

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Update, 3/29/17: Much has changed over the last three years in the world of apps and church technology, so it’s high time for an update to add new options (there are now 11!) and remove those that are no longer relevant.

After purchasing church management software, you may be asking yourself whether or not your church actually needs a mobile app as well.

Church apps

According to research by Christian Web Trends, while 58% of those surveyed stated that both mobile websites and apps are important, out of those who thought one was more important than the other, apps beat mobile websites by two to one (20% to 10%). Among larger churches, the preference for apps was even larger, at more than four to one.  And 51% of respondents from larger churches said their church was really motivated to get an app.

Christian web trends

Considering the fact that three-quarters of Americans now own smartphones, allowing your congregation to access your church information via a mobile app is a huge benefit.

The debate over mobile apps vs. mobile responsive websites rages on, but there’s no reason your church can’t benefit from both. And an app can do some things that a website can’t, like track attendance and access the church management system.

Here are 11 great tools and services that can create a custom app just for your church:

1. MyPocket Church

MyPocket Church is a mobile app development company.  They create custom designed apps that are made to fit your church’s mobile marketing strategy.  Their packages include different configured features, an app management system, custom backgrounds, inclusion in the Google Play App Store and iTunes’ App Store, home-screen widgets, a mobile website version, and more.

You can send direct messages to all of your church members, list your church information, integrate your social networks, and list your events, images, sermon notes, and donations as well.

Price: $100 per month, or $170 per month for the enterprise package with additional features. Monthly prices do not include initial development cost.

Love these options? Try our FREE Guide to Buying Church Management Software

2. Bridge Element

Bridge Element designs websites for churches but also provides custom mobile church apps. Features include the ability to share images and videos with members, link directly to your online giving from the app, and display your social media feeds.

Price: A one-time fee of $199, and then $49/month

3. The Church App

The Church App is a mobile app platform built by Subsplash that lets you create good quality, configurable apps for your church, ministry, or organization.  They allow you to update and customize your app on the go.  They give you videos on demand, the ability to keep everyone up to date on events with a calendar, a blog reader, and maps and locations.  Most of the features allow you to share content through your social media accounts.

Price: Packages range from $799-$999 for setup, and $99-$155/month.

4. ChurchLink

ChurchLink offers either a custom, branded app, or inclusion in their more general Churchlink app (where your members download the Churchlink app and then select your church as their “home” screen).  When you subscribe to ChurchLink, you obtain access to your own personal app dashboard where you can immediately start uploading sermons, adding events, and linking your social accounts.  Features include a prayer wall, notifications, a blog, photos, and videos.  ChurchLink also offers free demos.

Price: The standard package is $199 for setup and $39 per month. The custom package is $399 for setup and $49 per month.

 

5. Unify

Unify provides all the standard features that you need for your church—events, donations, sermons, blog, and the ability to broadcast messages to your members.  Their apps are designed with a very uncluttered, clean aesthetic, and are available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. New features in Version 2.0 include user profiles, map integration, message board, directory, and a document library.

Price: $99 per month after a $99 setup fee.

6. Roar

Roar offers an express package, which includes a customized app designed by their team, or a self-service package, for churches with an experienced app-developer on staff. The self-service package still includes support in case any problems arise during development.

Price: $49 per month after a $199 setup fee.

7. FaithLink

FaithLink is optimized for iPhone 6, and integrates with a church’s website to save time on updating content. It also integrates with Apple TV and Roku to archive and broadcast sermons live. FaithLink apps can be configured to cater to multiple campuses within one church organization.

Price: $50 per month after $99 setup for the standard package, or $300+ and $65+ for the specialized package. $199+ and $80+ for the Apple TV/Roku package.

8. Go Church App

At $50 per month with no setup fee, Go Church App is one of the most affordable options on this list. It was designed by a youth pastor in Grand Rapids, MI, and the team provides support through online tutorials, email, and Facebook Messenger. Go Church offers a 30-day free trial and their apps are fully customizable through their app builder.

Price: $50 per month.

9. ShareFaith

ShareFaith does not charge a setup fee, though customers must make an annual commitment. They offer a wide array of features, including an app builder and presentation software. According to their website, ShareFaith has helped 4,000 churches build their own app.

Price: $71 per month (billed annually).

10. Custom Church Apps

Custom Church Apps offers a starter tool, which has basic features and allows church members to select their church within a generic platform called My Church App. Their custom apps include many more features, but start with a $999.95 setup fee. A 30-day free trial is available for either option.

Price: Ranging from $19.95 per month up to $129.95 per month based on number of users. The setup fee for a custom app is $995.

11. Apollo Church App

Apollo guarantees they will beat competitor’s rates by 25% for comparable packages. Advanced features include geofencing and HD livestreaming, and their apps are custom designed at the premium level. All levels offer a free trial.

Price: $60 per month for the basic package, $90/month for premium, and $130/month for the ultimate package.

Know of any other great church app creating services or tools? Add them in the comments below!

Looking for Church Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Church Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Andrew Conrad

Andrew is a content writer for Capterra, specializing in church management and project management software. When he’s not striving for the perfect balance of information and entertainment, Andrew enjoys the great outdoors and the wide world of sports. Follow him on Twitter @CapterraAC.

Comments

Thanks for this review and suggestions for church organizations. We see many nonprofits select a vendor based on bad information or sales gimmicks. Once that decision has be made, its hard to switch the app to another vendor. If I could put my two cent in, I would tell churches to check the developer’s credibility and time in business. I am glad to see you’ve done your research and given churches a few credible sources.

There is a new company based out of Southern Illinois called Legg Software Services. It is a Christian based company that builds apps for churches. Their basic package has a setup fee of $2000, with a $100 monthly fee. The setup fee includes iPhone, iPad, Android and Mobile Web. One fee covers them all, it is not a per platform fee. The developers have experience developing for companies like American Airlines, Match.com and Hours Time Tracking. Their website is leggsoftware.com and their phone number is (618) 241-0838.

Thank you so much for the information! Do you know of a way to just pay a fee to get an app designed without following recurring monthly fees ? Your knowledge and wisdom are greatly appreciated. Blessings!

Hi Dr Joelle Suel, I make church apps for a living for http://www.faithlinkapps.com, so I believe I can answer your question pretty well.

It sounds like you are wanting to pay a developer or company to create an app for you and then transfer ownership to you (so the developer is no longer part of the equation), and in so doing, remove the monthly fee.

I can see how that sounds awesome on paper because you could look at the $3000+ price tag to pay to own an app (versus a $xxx.xx setup cost plus $xx.xx/per month) and do the math to figure out that after just a few years you would be saving money!

Unfortunately, there’s a lot more to the equation because there is (hopefully) a lot of upkeep necessary for an app. We update almost all of our apps multiple times a year because not only do you have OS updates coming out (i.e.: iOS 8, Android Lollipop), but you also have new API’s, SDK’s, etc…. to update for (plus, hopefully the developer is iterating on the UI to keep it up to date with modern UI in the OS it is being used on. For instance, iOS6 UI looks terrible now when you are used to iOS7/8). I use a lot of church apps since I am always seeing what new ideas come up, and recently I’ve noticed a lot of issues with YouTube because companies have not updated the API recently enough. This is just a tiny example since API updates are not uncommon (this is not a bash on competing church apps. It can be difficult to keep track of all the APIs. I’m just pointing out the necessity for updating).

So if you pay for the app and take ownership, you are stuck in a very bad spot when the app needs updating. Now you either need to return to the original developer and pay them whatever they ask, or you need to find someone else to fish through the code and try to figure out how to fix it (which they will probably charge a lot for since they need to both learn the code layout and modify it). Either way, you are probably going to pay a lot for every update, and in the end the app will cost you a fortune compared to just paying a monthly fee.

I completely understand how it can seem that the monthly fee is a shady way to just tie you into paying forever, but in reality it is a necessity since apps will always need updating. Please be cautious about purchasing an app for a very high price unless you have someone in-house that could update it for the foreseeable future.

Please let me know if that either helps or just brings up more questions.

Don’t forget about Bluebridge for Churches – they are for churches looking for a lot more functionality than those listed above – much more robust and easier to manage, and only slightly more in cost.

http://gobluebridge.com/churches/

Credibility and stable software is the most important thing when looking for an church app developer. My Pocket Church, Subsplash and Roar have been doing this longer then any of the competitors. Developing as many apps as we have with no negative feedback is what your looking for. Ask the developer your looking at for a list of references. Ask for about 15-20 current customers to make it interesting. If they 2-3 days to get the list together, move on.

I read the above post stating they have more features. This is not true. Platforms like ours have many more features. Example, GEO fence. We tell potential customers about good competitors because we want them to be satisfied if our company is not a good fit.

This is not the right industry to bash your competition and put them down like one company mentioned above. They list a false competition comparison chart on their website. It list the top church app developers because they are trying to gain market share from legitimate companies. My Pocket Church, Subsplash and Roar are great companies, with focus on customer support and quality.

The newcomers would not have to use these tactics if they had as many referrals as the top developers do for preforming a job/service. I also want to thank Leah Readings for putting up a list to help churches find creditable vendors.

I recently put together a website brief for my local church and had captured, what i had considered, ideas beyond our reach at the time. but having read this review, i feel re-assured that the journey we are about to embark is not only very feasible but there organisations out there that have done it for churches and will have the experience as well as the expertise….so i guess what I am tying to say is: Thank you ever so much for this great review and introducing these awesome companies to the us 🙂

If your church doesn’t want to spend money for a mobile app, you can check Free Church Apps on https://plus.google.com/u/1/114450109718493272159 . Your church can get a free access to an online system with an user-friendly interface to easily create mobile apps. It could be a project for your church youth group to create a mobile app and I’m sure some young members could be very interested to be involved in the production of a mobile app for their church.

[…] 6 Tools for Creating Great Church Apps […]

Hi, my name is Lance. I’m a youth pastor that has started building yet another church app platform. We understand there is a lot of competition, but what makes us unique is that we are focused on having the best customer support in the industry. We are building apps for small to medium-sized churches and ministries and just getting started doing it. We have early adopter rates and our first few clients are in love! Check out what we are doing at http://www.gochurchapp.com

So, how much exactly is bluebridge? they are careful not to even hint at pricing structures on their website. Any ballpark ranges?

If you don’t want to publish an app yourself and are looking for another option with lower maintenance and cost, check out ChurchMint: https://www.churchmint.com

Many exisiting church apps are hard to manage because really all they are is a shop front that pushes your people off to other suppliers (which often means you are paying multiple fees – the monthly church app rental, the audio hosting service, the giving portal etc.) – they are well built products, but in reality they don’t do much. EzyChurch (ezychurchapp.com) set out to do things differently – we host your content, we minimise all your double up and we provide modular access so you only pay for what you need to use. Perfect for everyone from the smallest to the largest. The technology has been powering hollywood studio grade video on demand services, so we really know what we’re talking about. Oh and you get the whole shop, for the same price as most companies charge for just the front door. Why? Because our mission is to resource churches rather than simply make money. With our resource library built-in for free there really is nothing like it!

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