Are Mobile Phones the New Frontier for Churches?

Mobile Ministry reaching members on their phones

Mobile Websites & Mobile Apps

The Gospel message has always been carried forward by technology whether the development of papyrus, the printing press, radio, television or the internet. What is the new frontier that churches need to be prepared for?

More than ever today I believe that frontier is the mobile device. Mobile phones are nearly ubiquitous, there are over 238 million mobile users the US and over 6 billion globally.  Mobile phones are now not only used for email & web surfing but also for  photo sharing, updating social media ,paying bills, and even arming your home’s security system. In many countries you are more likely to have a mobile phone than have access to a computer.

So how can today’s church engage both it’s members and community on their mobile phones? And more importantly what technologies can impact your church in the important areas, of community, discipleship, outreach, and evangelism?

Three of the technologies I have found to be very effective in ministry and engaging a church are SMS/Text Messaging, Mobile Websites, and Mobile Apps.

The Mobile Church

Mobile Ministry reaching members on their phones

SMS/Text Messaging allows a church to reach it’s members and even visitors with timely messages right on their phone. The message the church sends could be a weekly Bible verse, info on the upcoming outreach event or even a Bible study.

97% of text messages are opened which compares to just 10-20% of emails, so your church can be sure its message will be heard. Members can also interact with your church using SMS/text. One church recently signed up members for over 140 small groups using this technology!

Mobile Websites are a mobile version of your website that is simplified and designed to be easy to use and navigate. A good mobile website makes it easy to click-to-call your church as well as get directions to your church. Quick links to the church’s most important ministries is also critical.  Over 50% of Google searches are now done on a mobile phone so the next visitor to your church’s website is very likely doing so on their phone.

Mobile Apps have become very popular. There seems to be an app for everything, including great resources like the YouVersion app for Bible reading, and the Logos app for pastors wanting access to in depth bible study and reference tools. Churches now have the opportunity to have apps that allow users to watch their sermons, submit prayer requests, and even pay their tithes and offerings right from their phones.

If we are to be relevant while reaching people where they are, churches can no longer ignore mobile phones. Let us use every tool available to spread the Gospel!

72 SHARES

Joel Sam

Joel Sam is a Follower of Jesus, Husband, and Father of two girls. He is the Co-Founder of Symbiota (www.symbiota.com) which focuses on helping churches maximize technology in communicating The Gospel. A few of the areas where Symbiota helps churches include: Website Solutions, Mobile Apps, Graphic Design / Branding and Social Media Management.

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  1. says

    Nice to see you here Joel. As always, there are the nuggets you speak that too often can be missed. I’ll just throw my opinion one way, repeating something that I’ve said for the past few years… mobile is the present, the future is something else. Nothing about mobile is new, even to the church. Yes, there are still way too many folks still trying to wrap their heads around it, but that doesn’t make it new, it makes it unfamiliar.

    We’ve cut a lot of ground already in the church with mobile; what we haven’t done is seen it happen together. That’s behaviorial and generational. That paradigm shift is next; mobile and what the church is doing with it, that’s the present.

  2. Joel Sam says

    Great feedback Antoine. It is often the case that what is new to us, isn’t really new at all, simply unfamiliar. I think this is the case with a lot of technology especially when it comes to the Church. I don’t think this is necessarily always a bad thing as it is not worthwhile for the Church to chase every technology trend and fad, but simply to be aware of what technology is mature,and how/if it can be used effectively in a Church context.

  3. Curtis says

    What I’ve noticed as I engage my church more in social media throughout the week, is it gives me a better understanding of the people, and the church as a whole. Prior to engaging people through social media, whether SMS-based or web based, my only real view of the congregation was what I saw on Sunday mornings, and perhaps one mid-week get-together with a handful of people. Now I can interact with my fellow congregants several times a day. This is a big shift, as it gives me a more full picture into their life. People who are shy and reserved on Sunday morning may come out as very thoughtful and prolific writers on social media. People who are gregarious and friendly in person may come across as somewhat shallow, and ultimately boring to follow during the week, because they can’t seem to get beyond talking about the next cool coffee shop or the next great sale at Macy’s.

    Interacting during the week has given me a greater understanding of people in my congregation, what is going on in their life, and what their priorities and values are. It has also allowed me to discover things I have in common with others that I have never known before, and to develop deeper relationships with them, even more frequent face-to-face meetings, when I used to only see them once a week and never really knew them before.

    Social media is giving us a deeper, richer way to interact with our congregation.

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