How Mobile Apps Are Helping Churches Grow
Technology in church is nothing new. It was there when the overhead projector gave everyone the hymn words, and is now there in smart tech and sound equipment. It makes sense that mobile apps, the technology of today, are brought on board by churches too. Given that weekend worship attendance is dropping year on year, something definitely has to change if churches are to survive the seismic change of culture since the dawn of the mobile age.
Churches and Mobile Apps – The Problems
- Fear of Change: Churches tend to be reactors, rather than proactive leaders. Much of this fear stems from a concern that tech will come at the expense of real relationships, a key purpose of the church.
- Engaging Millennials and Younger Audiences: The millennial generation have shorter attention spans and a more cynical approach to life due to the proliferation of information at their fingertips than the generations before. Churches need to be capable of addressing this if they want to thrive.
- Communication: Congregations need communicating with and in the current landscape they are used to having instant communications to their palm, not just a Sunday morning pew sheet.
- Lack of Time: The leaders of churches typically lack time with great demands for their limited schedule. They need to be able to disseminate information about events and news all in one place.
- Church Resources: Need to be accessible in ways that truly reach where they are needed.
- Building Community: Building the community beyond the four walls of the church is as much a part of its mission now as it always has been. Reaching the community can be even harder now fewer Americans go to regular services.
- Budget Constraints: Churches are often facing budget constraints, and need to demonstrate accountability for their spending.
- Exclusivity is Up: No longer can you stand out from the church-crowd for having the best sermons or the most insightful worship music. Everyone now has access to sermons online 24/7 from around the globe.
Overcoming the Problems – Mobile App Solutions
- Mobile App Functionality for Churches: The beauty of church apps today is that they can be designed to serve the exact functions churches require. Therefore, church apps can contain features such as Prayer Request forms, Bible Study content, downloadable worship music, small group material, or more. Church apps can be used to build community, serve, extend a church’s mission, train leaders, care for the needy and more.
- Mobile Promote Real Relationships: Combating probably one of many people’s primary concerns is the reality that far from distancing people, technology can have a powerful effect on bringing people together that wouldn’t otherwise come together. Church apps enable community and real-life relationships without ‘demanding proximity’. You can get to know and meet people within a church app in a way that facilitates true relationship offline.
- Church Apps Remove Compartmentalization: It’s easy to be a ‘Sunday Christian’ when all that’s required of you is a few hours of your time once a week. For Christianity to be relevant to people’s lives outside of a weekly service, the church needs to meet people where they spend most of their week: with a smartphone in their hand.
- Boost Biblical Literacy: Given 82 percent of Americans think “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. 12 percent think Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. 50 percent of graduating high school students think Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife” there is a huge amount of improvement to be made (Source). Church apps bring the Bible, and study of it, to a convenient and accessible location. 74% of church members read the Bible electronically, so it makes sense to be a vessel for that.
- Church Apps Empower Change: Change isn’t always a bad thing! Henry Ford said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses!” Change within the church must keep pace with the change happening outside their walls, and church apps are the current reality.
- Make Yourselves Accountable: Credibility comes from accountability: if you can show truth in your service then you gain credibility. The millennial generation don’t just ‘take your word for it’, instead you’re likely going to find them Googling the facts spoken in a sermon (Source). If those sermons were available via chuch app, complete with references, credibility is gained.
- Take the Church to the Community: Taking the church to the community and the non-churchgoers of today means getting in to people’s palms. Mobile apps, along with church websites, are likely to be the very first point of contact for potential new churchgoers. It’s a powerful way to connect with the unchurched.
- Communication and Fundraising Made Easy: Church apps make communication with your congregation so much easier than traditional methods including event booking and notifications, as well as enabling fundraising. Donations can be made via church app and don’t need to wait until the collection bowl does its rounds.
The Mobile Industry Benefiting Churches
The modern church needs to keep pace with change, and that means being part of the ‘smart’ generation and getting into people’s palms instantly and when they are needed, not in a few hours on a Sunday. Mobile apps make it possible to draw together the community and congregation and provide a service and deliver a mission that extends far beyond the four church walls. Mobile app functionality can be tailored to the specific needs of each individual church allowing for differences along the way. With the right development, church mobile apps can become a powerful tool for the modern church.