6 Reasons Your Church Needs an App

When churches say they want engagement that means they want:

• People showing up to events
• Members showing interest in the sermon
• Small groups building relationships with each other during weekly meetings
• Volunteers overflowing at church outreach events

On the other hand, when people think about phone apps, they often think of the opposite:

• People glaring at their phone with zombie-like stares
• People oblivious to the real world, enraptured in a digital world
• Distracting games and social media

That’s why it can be counterintuitive at first to think that a church app could build your church’s engagement.

Here’s the truth: If your church lacks engagement, a church app is probably the very thing you need to spark meaningful buy-in from your congregation. With a custom church app, the usefulness of your members’ smartphones becomes an asset to member interaction rather than a hindrance.

Don’t believe it? Check out these six ways that church apps increase your church’s connection as a community.

1. Your church app enables members to listen, watch and take notes during sermons.

Your church app lets you upload the video, audio, and interactive sermon note outline directly to your app. This is really important for several reasons. First, it means that those who missed church on Sunday don’t have to rummage around YouTube, their podcast app, or the church’s Facebook page to find the latest sermon. They can simply open the app and navigate directly to the most recent sermon audio, video, and notes.

Second, this means that small groups can open the sermon in the app during small groups in order to share notes and play specific clips that were helpful. In other words, your church app can become an engine of social discussion rather than a distraction.

Third, the fact that you can centralize your entire sermon history on the Tithe.ly church app means that those who are new to your church can listen to your backlog of sermons in order to become familiar with the history, the tone of your church, and your preaching.

2. Your church app is a better community schedule.

The in-app calendar is an extremely convenient feature of the app. Most churches struggle with getting the word out about what is going on at the church. It’s true: They most likely have church events on their website.

But it’s not exactly convenient to navigate to the events on a website even if the website is mobile-friendly. The calendar enables people to very easily view events, register, and add events to their personal calendars. This may seem basic, but it is significant for your church’s workflow because now, whenever someone asks about what is going on at church, it allows you to say “Have you checked the app?“

If you rely on your church bulletin and the weekly email to communicate the church’s schedule to your members, then your church communication strategy is from 1995.

Members shouldn’t have to wait for a weekly update or visit the church website to search for a specific event’s details like Indiana Jones looking for an ancient artifact. This means that all someone needs to do in order to discover the details of an event when it comes to mind is take out their phone, open the church app, and look at the calendar.

But the church app gets so much better: Members can express interest in going to certain events by filling out registration forms and receive notifications about updates and needs for an event.

3. Your church app enables leaders to accommodate logistical hurdles in real time.

Church leaders are able to update, reschedule, and modify events in real time as they need to change. This means that when event details change (as they often do in church), leaders don’t have to send out a new “Hey, sorry!” email every single time and overwhelm the email inbox of their congregants.

No more people showing up to the wrong event because they didn’t get the memo. More importantly: No more reminding people constantly of event details.

When you have a church app, you can make this the refrain of your church for everyone who has questions:

“Have you checked the app?”
“Have you checked the app?”
“Did you look at the app?”
“It’s on the app.”
“Hey! Check the app.”

So many different ways to say the same beautiful thing: “We have a church app so that I don’t have to be your walking secretary!” Getting a church app liberates church leaders from needing to know all details on-hand in case they meet anyone who has a slight lapse of memory.

Stop using your brain’s ram as the computer for your church, and start using a church app.

4. Your church app will notify members more effectively.

The church app has the capability of sending push notifications to users so that they don’t have to search through texts and emails to find event updates and details.

More than that, if you create a church informational culture based on the foundation of “Have you checked our app?” then the church app replaces hundreds of individual inconvenient processes with a single, unified, efficient, and centralized command center for your church’s administrative needs.

But it gets even better: Event managers can send push notifications to attendees to update them on urgent or last-minute event details in real time. Not only can users check the app … the app can check in on them.

5. Your church app will make event planning easier.

With the church app, mistakes, misunderstandings, and miscommunications shrink from catastrophic errors to blips on the radar. People will see Sunday morning that nobody has committed to bringing coffee for the coffee hour.

Members will ask Thursday night if someone can bring their teenager to a small group to babysit because their babysitter backed out last minute.

Congregants will see what volunteer needs haven’t been filled for VBS a week ahead of time so that you can draw their attention to it during the service and make a call to action: “Volunteer! We need your help!”

Could all of this be accomplished through text and email? Yes, it could. But then it clutters up your text and email. When you host all of your event planning on your app, you exist as a unique element on your church’s phone without competition.

If you decide merely to use email and text, you become just another white line and blue dot in a pile of “unread” texts and emails.

Set yourself apart by centralizing church communications to a single app. People will know to check it because you will be promoting them to check it. Instead of people saying, “I didn’t check my email” and “I didn’t get your text,” you can proactively say, “Make sure to check your app before you come out!” But, again, with push notifications enabled, they won’t even need to do that much.

6. Your church app makes it easy for new visitors to connect.

During the church service, you can make a simple appeal to visitors: “Hey, new visitors! Download our app so that you can follow along with the service.”

If you get a visitor to download the app to follow along, they now have it installed and some will have push notifications enabled. That means that you can engage with them throughout the week as well.

First published on Tithe.ly. Used by permission.

Paul Maxwell
Paul Maxwell

Paul Maxwell is the content strategist at Tithe.ly.