Church Apps have blown up in the past few years.
But it's easy to have a church app and have it not do anything.
So really, I want to talk about a few ways to do things that can increase engagement through your church app, things you can do every single week that'll get more and more people using your app, which will make your app an effective part of your connection, and engagement, and kind of spiritual connection with your congregation.
1. Make your church app central to church life
Number one, you want to make your church app really the central place that you send people for next steps.
You go to church, and you're there whether you're on staff, or you're sitting in the chairs and you're listening.
Every church has announcements.
There's kid's camp, there's the marriage retreat, there's the women's retreat, there's the men's group, there's small groups, there's life tracks, there's next steps.
There's all these things that you're telling people that you want them to engage in.
Most of the time churches are telling them to go to five, six, ten different places to do these things.
So, the number one way you can get more engagement out of your church app is to send people there for every single next step. If you want them to register for an event, go to the app. If you want them to look at the calendar, go to the App. If you want them to find out when midweek service is, go to the app. If you want them to give, go to the app. If you want them to listen to the sermon, go to the app. Every single thing you want people to do, tell them to go to the app, and make sure your App has all those capabilities there. So, that's number one.
2. Prompt your congregation to use the church app
The second thing you can do to increase engagement in your church app is have your church open the app every single week when the pastor gets up to preach.
So, the senior guy gets up to preach, or the teaching pastor gets up to preach, the first thing they should say is, "Hey, church, take out your app to take notes on today's sermon," and then in your app you have the outline of the lesson. It's got some fill in the blank. It's got some multiple choice. It's got some, yes/no. It's got some open note fields where I can write what I'm thinking, and feeling, or questions I've got, and I'm taking notes along with the sermon. Number one, it's a great way to get people to retain more of that information, and it's also a great way to have those things right on my app for maybe small group, or maybe my morning quiet times, I've got all that information right there at my fingertips.
3. Put all your content in the church app
The third way you're going to use your church app to boost church engagement is put all your content in the app.
Every week you've got a lesson going on. You might have midweek lessons. You might have small group material. You might have a podcast that you do weekly. You might have Bible studies. There's all kinds of content that you are creating. You want to get all your content in the app. You want to get your events calendar in the app. You want to get your ability to register for those events in the app, and any other form of content, or activity that's happening at the church get it in the app. Then, every time you make an announcement point people to the app. Then, that content's there so if I'm really engaged, and I'm using the app every week, and I want to listen to that sermon again in my quiet time, I want to hear parts of it again, I'm going to open the app.
Maybe I want to download that sermon onto my phone because I'm going to go for a run and I don't want to use WiFi, or I don't want you to cell signal while I'm out and take up my data. So I've downloaded it and I'm able to listen to that where I'm out at the gym, or maybe I'm going to work, or any of those kinds of things. So, get all your content there and drive people there again, and again, and again.
4. Have your church turn on your church app’s push notifications
The fourth way you're going to use your church app to boost engagement is give people the ability to register for push notifications.
Now, you don't just want to send mass push notifications, it's like sending mass email, but you're able to, with a great church app, put groups in there and now I can opt in and I can say I want to get.
I'm a father of three boys so I want to get the young marrieds or the young families push notifications, or I want to get the middle school kids push notifications, or I want to get the men's group push notification. So, you create your groups in the app and you let your members opt in to the push notifications that they want to receive. Then, you're going to very trustfully, faithfully, with lots of attention to what people want to hear about, you're going to use the app to send relevant push notifications to those people. So hopefully every week there's something you're able to send a push notification. They're going to see it on their phone, they're going to swipe the push notification, it's going to take them into the app, and now you're getting people back in and you're boosting engagement every single week.
5. Integrate giving into your church app
The fifth way you're going to boost church engagement is you're going to make sure giving is right there baked into the app.
So, hopefully you've got a great generous culture. You've got people that want to give. They're showing up to church on the weekends, but also they're able to give.
Maybe they're traveling, or they're sick, or they're on vacation, or they've got family in town, or for whatever reason they're not there on a weekend, you want to make sure giving is something they can do. Now, make sure it's done in the app and not sending them off to your website or to some other place to give, but bake it right there.
Over to you
So you do these five things, you use push notifications, you use sermon notes, have all your content baked in there, get giving baked in there, and make it the place you send everybody for their next steps and you're going to boost engagement. You're going to have a great app that people are really relying on to stay connected to the life of the church.
Today on Modern Church Leader, Tithe.ly COO Frank Barry shares five overlooked tactics you can use to boost engagement in your church with a church app.
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