It’s time for a guest post!! Here’s one from Bryan Logan. Bryan Logan is a husband, father, and computer programmer. In his free time, he innovates. These innovations may materialize as activities with the kids, new/easier/better ways of doing things, smart phone apps, or just funny blog posts. You can check out the blog he writes with his wife at http://www.logan.cc/blog/ or follow him on Twitter @BryanMarkLogan.
Josh has previously talked about the need for a church web strategy here, and here. If you don’t have one, then you’re already behind the times and you need to get one today. But what if you’re saying to yourself, “I already have a website. How can I get ahead of that?” Great question. Mobile phones are becoming more popular than computers. If your website isn’t mobile-compatible, it should be. Pare it down a bit to the essentials (location, worship time, events, etc) and have the option to go to the full site.
If you’re thinking, “Hey, that’s great. But what if I want to a step further than a mobile website?” Well, the answer is, “Make an app.” We’re not talking just a mobile website. That would be like those people who took a jpeg of the brochure and used that for their website. You can (and have to), do better. Here’s what you need in your church’s mobile app and why:
1) Offering – The newer generation doesn’t really write checks. They may not even have a checkbook. So for offering, you need something else. Sure, they could setup direct draft, but that doesn’t give them a connection when the plate is passed. They feel awkward. So instead, have a solution based on NFC where your app can setup a payment when they tap their phone on the offering plate. I know iPhones don’t have NFC. Convince those people to switch. An easy way is to ask them if they love Jesus or not.
2) Medley Helper – Trying to do a medley on the big screen is hard. Half of the words don’t apply to your part. The worship leader says left side and right side, but you’re not sure if it’s his left or your left. Plus you’re sitting in the center. Medley Helper can rectify this situation by simply displaying the lyrics right on your screen. A bouncing dot can help you keep your spot even when the guy behind you is singing the other part.
3) Rhythm Helper – Maybe your church doesn’t do medleys. Maybe they struggle with just basic rhythm. If you can’t clap in time, Rhythm Helper can assist with that. There’s three easy setting: Vibrate on beat, visual flash on beat, and just clap for me I can’t figure this out. Rhythm Helper is controlled by the worship leader’s clapping, so it’s always going to be correct. Is that “1 and 3” or “2 and 4”? Doesn’t matter. Just follow Rhythm Helper.
4) Seat Reservation – Want to make sure your visitors know where they should sit? When they bring up Seat Reservation on your app, it’ll allow them to select the number in their party and allocate them a block of seats. A visual map will guide them to the correct location. We suggest setting apart a premium section of your pews for this purpose. It’s much easier to police an area when you’re not mixing app and non-app people.
5) Interactive Notes – When the sermon is preached, the pastors words will be fed automatically into the app. When the slide changes on the screen, that’ll feed into the app to. When you add a note, it will be fed into the app. This leaves you with a wonderful stream of information so that your notes do not need to be copies of quotes from the pastor, but simply annotations. Context is automatically given which allows you to review easier.
6) With Jesus? – Matthew 18:20 says “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Now it’s obvious at church when there are two or more, but what about elsewhere? With this function, your app can use GPS, wireless, or Bluetooth to detect other believers in an area to know if Jesus is there. If you happen to be in a situation where no other believers are, a “Heretic Warning” will audibly remind you to shake the dust from your sandals and leave.
Those are just the starting blocks to getting two steps ahead and setting yourself apart from other churches. What would you add to a church app?