Most of us remember the saying,
“Here’s the church, here’s the steeple. Open the doors and look at all the people.”
Now, you could add,
“look at all the people on their phones.”
Let’s face it, mobile technology is everywhere you turn. Smartphones today give us traffic alerts and directions, deliver the latest news updates, send emergency weather warnings, entertain and educate us (and our kids) with games and so much more. Your church is made up of normal people, and normal people with iPhones, Android devices, or phones running Windows Phone 7 all have a new hobby – downloading and using apps.
You’ve probably seen some take out their phones when the pastor starts reading the Bible – or, like my church – the vast majority get their phones out. While at least one person in the service is probably playing Fruit Ninja, the rest are likely using their phones to look up Bible passages to read along in their preferred translation or even diving deeper with Bible study tools.
More than half a million apps have been created for Apple’s App Store alone. Mobile information access is not a fad.
So why wouldn’t you have an app for your church?
If your church had a prayer chain phone list back in the past, it probably has grown into a Facebook page or maybe even a Twitter account. If your church had a webpage last year, it’s going to grow into a mobile site or, if you’re really “on the ball,” a mobile app.
One need for you to have a mobile app is obvious: your church members would use it and feel even more connected to their community of faith through it.
But there’s a second, almost more vital reason to start development: Having a church app will force you to be organized.
So often, it’s easy to create a podcast for your church then forget to record the sermon. It’s easy to start a WordPress blog, but then time runs out of the week before you can post anything. But if every Sunday you’re talking about the new app that you just paid for, you’re bound to be reminded that the new content needs to go live. Someone – the one super tech geek in your church – will want to know why your app wasn’t updated that week.
A typical church app – like the ones developed by the teams at ROARApp.com or TheChurchApp.org – will have some kind of content management solution for you. What that means is that the app isn’t just a static (read: unchanging) information page, but it actually pulls together content about your church and it’s services, and pushes them out to whoever is using the app. Which, in turn, means that you need to have the content ready.
Think about what you would want to broadcast to the world through an interactive app. Think about the steps it would take to get there, and how to get organized in preparation for the app. Good things will come just from starting on the journey.
When working on digital projects, the development and features you want have to get stripped down to the most basic and detailed levels. When working on long term projects with lots of features, well, our mantra becomes “putting one foot in front of the other.” You have to take slow, purposeful steps to build anything meaningful. And that, if nothing else, is one of the best reasons for you to begin the process of building a mobile app for your church today.
[Image via Aaron’s phone]