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More and more churches are using technology to connect with current and potential congregation members outside of Sunday services. Social media pages are a good place to start, but for the tech-savvy church that wants to go the next step in connecting, creating an app is a smart goal. Church apps can offer worshipers inspiring spiritual content, updates on church events, and ways to keep people engaged during their weekly lives.

Focus on a Goal

Why are you creating a church app? Before you start working on the app itself, decide how your church and your congregation will benefit from having an app. Are you trying to give people a connection to the church even when they’re not physically present in the building? Are you trying to attract more members? Are you offering spiritual content that churchgoers can integrate into their daily lives?

One thing to keep in mind: You don’t want app use to replace church attendance. Instead, the app should be a tool that members of  your congregation can use to stay connected with the church, to find out about events, and to volunteer for the church. Ultimately, you always want to encourage people to show up in person.

Offer High-Quality Content

Make sure your app isn’t just a glorified newsletter. If all you’re including in the app are the same things you can get across by using an email list, then rethink your strategy. Consider streaming audio and video sermons, both from your church and from other well-known religious leaders, to the app. Syndicate a list of religious news, or write your own local content each week for the app.

Your congregation has spiritual needs that you know best, so you’re the best judge as to what kind of engaging content your app needs. Don’t be afraid to ask app users what they enjoy the most so that you can provide more of that type of content.

Focus on Usability

In the early days of your app, user experience is far more important than offering flashy graphics or using the latest coding features. A smooth, simple app that’s easy to navigate is the most important thing to offer. The bells and whistles can come later. The app should be compatible with devices like T-Mobile’s iPhone 6s, whose large Retina display will render your content beautifully. Remember, though, that not every congregation member will be on a lightning-fast network like T-Mobile’s, so a simple app that works well on a variety of devices will serve the most people.

Integrate the Calendar

Push notifications and calendar integration are two effective ways to notify your congregation about church and community events. Encourage people to get involved both in attending and in planning church events with the app. Integrating social networking capabilities into the app is another powerful way to get people and events to come together. Your app should be a single stop for anyone interested in your church, whether for those who are already members or for those who are interested in joining.

Get Some Help

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You don’t need to learn computer coding and graphic design to create the perfect church app. Several companies provide church app services at fair prices, offering platforms and templates for designing the apps, helpful features for reaching the congregation, and other perks.

Contact MyPocket Church for a customized app design that will cost you a monthly fee. Try The Church App for an app platform that lets you build and customize the app you want. You can also use ChurchLink, which gives you a page within its app that your members can set as their home screen. Each of these avenues also offers successful ways to integrate your social media, send messages to your congregation, and stream the content you choose.

You may decide to feature Bible verses, let people share prayer requests, or create a section for spiritual discussion among members. The content of your app is up to you, and you can keep adding things as your app and your congregation grow. What’s important at first is creating the app and getting it to your congregation. Technology is a wonderful way to keep everyone connected with the church, with their faith, and with each other.