The numbers don’t lie.
According to Smart Insights, Americans spend 71% of their digital time on mobile devices and almost three hours a day on them.
I could give you a list of numbers to back up the point I’m going to make, but if you work in a church, you probably already see church and technology intersecting all over the place.
You see it on Sunday mornings when your church attendees pull out the Bible app on their phone. You hear it when you walk by a Sunday school class and a student is being asked to put their phone away. You see kids (and some adults) swing by your church to make a quick PokeStop, if you are one of the many lucky churches to have been made a location.
The fact is, your church attendees are already heavily dependent on their mobile devices to stay connected to their most valuable information and entertainment. The question is, don’t you want your church to be just as valued as what keeps them glued to their devices?
1. Communicate to your target audience more effectively
Email, Facebook, mailings, handouts, etc. All of these are great forms of communication, but all are so easily missed or ignored altogether. Much of the news you try to deliver on these mediums never captures the short attention span of your church. You could be reaching them on a much more effective platform: their devices.
The smartphone home/lock screen is (in this former youth pastor’s opinion) the most powerful and valuable real estate in communication today. It’s simple to get your message on those screens with push notifications that come with any good custom app platform.
You can also target specific ministries in your church with subscriptions. At my last church, we created a subscription for youth, children, and adults, for example. If you want to stay up to date on anything regarding those ministries, you’ll receive push notifications about them. You just can’t get that kind of specificity on any other platform.
2. Increase giving opportunities
Online giving keeps growing within the church. In fact, 39% of young Christians claim to give once a month to a church online. If you are accepting tithes and donations, don’t you want to give your church members an opportunity to give in a way that makes them feel most comfortable?
When it comes to giving, people have preferences. Your church needs to make sure you meet everyone’s giving preferences or you’ll be leaving tithes on the table. With a mobile app, sending a push notification at the end of the year to meet the budget is one of many simple, effective ways to increase a giving opportunity. With the right platform, you can even have a push notification sent when users enter your church, reminding them to give.
3. Create some excitement within your church
In my church, we launched an app and within the week, someone emailed the senior pastor and said that she had been thinking about leaving our church. However, after we had announced the new app that previous Sunday morning, she decided to stick around to see what other changes we might make.
New and different is exciting and you should never stop seeking to have some excitement going on in your church. For small and medium-sized churches, new and exciting doesn’t have to come with big expenses. There are several church app platforms that are incredibly affordable.
4. One, simple place to keep sermon and teaching resources
Imagine a place where sermon notes, videos, and podcasts live in one convenient location and are accessible at your fingertips. Amazing, right? Now imagine that the device that holds all that information is with you 24/7.
Well, it already is, IF you have a custom mobile app for your church. Good church app platforms contain all kinds of wonderful features that your church can benefit from. Laudate, for example, is a free Catholic church app and it has an extensive database of prayers, readings, sacraments, special rosaries, the liturgical calendar, every version of the Catholic Bible, and more.
One of the best parts about a good church app isn’t the features, though. It’s the fact that all of these features are so easily accessible by launching an app on your mobile device with the touch of a button.
5. Get volunteers to actually respond to you
One church that I worked with to build a custom app decided to get sneaky. After a few days of struggling to get nursery volunteers for an event by way of email, they decided to send a push notification to everyone in the church. The notification was worded in such a way that it felt personal.
“We need your help with nursery this Sunday…”
Within an hour of sending the notification, they had the four volunteers they needed. Because the message was delivered to each church member’s personal device and had a personal message, the ask felt more personal. Custom church apps allow you to solve old problems in new ways.
6. Reduce other costs in your budget
Many churches offer their weekly bulletin as a feature in their app. If that can become a habit for your church, you can end up saving hundreds and eventually thousands of dollars on wasteful printing that results in paper everywhere like dead leaves. Not to mention all the time it saves printing, folding, and handing out physical items.
How long does it take and how much does it cost to send out 300 mailings about an upcoming event? Because it takes only about five minutes to draft and send a push notification that can link to an event with additional details and a registration form. There are no envelopes to stuff and no postage to pay with a custom church app.
A church mobile app for you!
Custom church apps are no longer only beneficial for big churches with big budgets. If your small or medium-sized church has ever considered an app, don’t wait any longer. You have too much to lose and so much to gain. After all, the real point of church technology has never been to save money or increase donations, even though those are nice side effects.
The real point of church technology is to improve faith formation, and if a church mobile app can save your church time and money that can be reallocated to that mission, it has done its job.