Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
A Greek philosopher, by the name of Heraclitus, once said: “change is the only constant in life.”
This is so true, particularly in the arena of technology.
For anyone who has been around for more than a minute understands the fast pace of changing technologies.
Particularly those that help us to communicate.
Ten years ago no one heard of a smartphone.
But then Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007 and the world as we knew it changed – drastically.
Who would have ever guessed you could carry a computer, camera, and telephone in your pocket!
It is estimated that by 2017 over a third of the world population will own a smartphone. That is almost 2.6 billion people on these mobile devices!
People are carrying around these mobile devices and using them to stay connected with the world.
And, organizations have quickly figured out the importance of using this technology to stay connected with their customers.
The church has also figured out how mobile technology can help engage members.
Not only during church services but also during the week.
One of the biggest revolutions with using mobile technology for churches is losing the paper. Imagine the time and money your church can save on printed bulletins, entering information into the church database, and the accuracy of data entry.
If your church does not use a mobile solution you might be surprised to learn what it can do!
10 Mobile App Features That Are Changing How Church Communicates
1. Mobile Giving
Most churches have the ability to accept donations on their website, text-to-give or even use mobile kiosks.
But imagine taking an offering and directing members to their mobile device for a quick, efficient way to pay their tithes!
Also imagine the time saved in counting offerings, imputing offering data into the church database or even reducing the risk of offering shrinkage.
Giving increases when a mobile solution is available so when people are thinking about giving, provide them the tools to do so at that moment.
2. Push Notifications
A great feature of a mobile app is its ability to send push notifications to members. This feature is popular because push notifications have over a 90% read rate!
There are many uses for this feature, but the most valuable are those where you need to reach out and alert members now.
A change in a starting time, a canceled service (a favorite in snow country), a last-minute special event, change in Easter service times, a special Good Friday service reminder or the unexpected funeral of a beloved member.
The uses are endless and allow the church to stay connected with members quickly!
3. Built-in Bible Feature
Most people have a bible app on their phone but when you use a mobile app for your church you can embed a bible app and use the note feature to share applicable notes of the Sunday sermon.
This is particularly popular on the iPad or Android tablet devices.
4. Play Video of Sunday Sermons
This feature provides access to sermons for those who can’t make it on a Sunday, are traveling, or perhaps were inspired and want to hear it again.
A great feature for members who are waiting in line or waiting for a flight at the airport.
Most churches use YouTube or Vimeo to post their sermons so this is an easy feature to use.
5. Play Audio Sermons
Similar to video, this feature gives access to audio recordings of a church service, business meeting or training event.
You can use this feature to share literally any audio recording that would benefit members, volunteers or employees.
6. Access to Church Calendar
A mobile app allows members to access the church calendar.
There are many online calendar solutions that can be easily integrated into an app and allows you to share upcoming events, times and locations with GPS technology if events are at a different location.
Imagine the phone calls the church office will no longer receive when members can find the information they are looking for on their mobile device.
I was an usher once, and I don’t care what anyone says, counting heads is not easy – and has a pretty high error rate.
An easy feature to add to any app is member check-in on their phone.
While some people may resist this, my pastor used to ask us to fill out a card at every service.
He explained that the church wanted to know who was there so they could be there to help those who were part of the church.
I used to wonder who entered all of those cards into the database every Monday morning!
Most churches would have a difficult time knowing who was there from week to week but checking in on a mobile device sends the attendance information directly to the church office.
Imagine noticing that a family has not been in attendance for a while and being able to reach out to them.
This is also a great resource to have the next time someone comes knocking on the door for benevolence.
8. Volunteer Recruitment
There aren’t many churches that don’t solicit help from the members during a church service.
Imagine the increase in responses if you could direct members to their mobile device to fill out a simple form.
The added bonus is not having to input their demographic information into the database because they did it for you!
Their information will be waiting for you the minute you get to the office.
9. Event Sign-up
Churches and events go hand-in-hand.
And, how often is there a need to have an attendance count for food, activities, etc.?
An easy signup form can be embedded into an app and members can sign up from their mobile device.
This can give you an immediate report detailing event signups.
10. Rewards Program
This is a very cool feature. Most kids have smartphones; so engage with them.
Set up an attendance based reward system where based upon attendance, they earn points towards rewards like a personal bible, church hat or tee shirt – the possibilities are endless.
You just need a “check-in” feature that is controlled by youth staff and a tracking method.
As you can see the possibilities are endless when using a mobile solution!
If you are interested in trying an app designed for churches, our friends at Shoutem have a great platform that you can try for FREE! Let me know how you like it!
Is your church ready for the mobile revolution?