Church Apps: Busting 7 Common Myths
A church app isn't a "novelty"—it's the future of church growth. Disagree? Check out these 7 church app myths and why they're misinformed.
June 19, 2019
Here's how to turn any internet browser into a church kiosk. With kiosks, you can engage, connect, and grow faster (and with better data).
May 22, 2019
Have you ever walked into a church and felt completely alone?
Nobody talked to you.
Nobody shook your hand.
You just walked in and out.
We’ve all been there.
It can be frustrating as a visitor or member to want help without knowing where to turn.
It’s also difficult as a pastor to touch base with every new face in a room when you’ve got hundreds of people who want to shake your hand.
It’s okay not to have time for every person who walks through the door.
But you don’t have to choose between losing new visitors and recruiting 100 church volunteers for your Sunday morning greeting team.
Church kiosks effectively resolve this problem.
Pastors can direct visitors to these kiosks from the pulpit with invitations that are graceful and winsome.
People are understanding of falling through the cracks on a Sunday if they know that the church wants to connect with them.
Kiosks are your surefire way of resolving the difficult obstacle of meeting every person on Sunday morning.
The very idea of a “church kiosk” sounds daunting to some leaders.
But think of it this way:
Visiting a church feels daunting to your visitors.
Learning how to set up a kiosk in your church lobby is your way of communicating to visitors: We are happy to experience light unease so that you don’t have to.
But there’s no point in making the process harder than it has to be.
In fact, setting up a church kiosk is extremely easy.
Here’s how to do it:
Tithely has a tool for every need.
Whether you want to have a church giving kiosk, church event registration forms, new visitor capture information, or an in-depth system for tracking and using all the member and visitor information you receive, Tithe.ly has a software solution that meets your church’s administrative need.
Pro-tip: You can get all these Tithe.lly features in the All-access option.
Tithe.ly’s powerful software will not only allow you to turn any browser on any device into a kiosk, but it will enable you to store, track, and segment users into different groups such as “1st time visitor,” “2nd time visitor,” and “member.”
You don’t have to use iPads to host your kiosk.
You could place a laptop — even a volunteer’s phone — on a table that can serve as a kiosk.
An iPad works best as a church kiosk for several reasons.
First, people recognize iPads as a universal point of service.
iPads are commonly used in coffee shops, mobile businesses, and churches to collect information, so the device serves the user in its recognizability.
More important than the device is its pronouncement in the lobby as a place of contact.
The visitors must be able to recognize the “kiosk area” with a quick glance.
Multiple strategies for creating this sort of recognition are:
If you combine these recognition strategies with the use of iPads, visitors will know exactly where to go in order to give their information to the church in order to get connected.
In your display of the kiosks, don’t be subtle, and don’t apologize for asking for information.
If someone is at church, they want to meet someone at church.
Make it bright, flashy, and well-known that you want to meet visitors.
This makes an inability to make contact with every visitor in real time much more forgivable from the visitor’s perspective.
With Tithe.ly, all you need to do is open a link that contains the form.
If you already have a Tithe.ly account and simply need to know how to create and access these forms on your iPad, phone, or computer, scroll below to the “How to Set Up Your Kiosk” section for a simple and straightforward explanation.
It’s important to have each church kiosk attended by a volunteer.
A friendly personal presence will make the experience of filling out an electronic form in church feel much more welcoming.
This way, people don’t have a cold experience of going to church, talking to a machine, listening to the sermon, and going home.
Instead, they can remember their kiosk as an experience of that volunteer named Jake.
You should train these kiosk attendants to be cheerful, friendly, and have a list of at least five scripted questions that they can ask to make conversation with the visitor that is neither forced nor awkward.
The best part about Tithe.ly’s kiosk feature is that it doesn’t require a special piece of hardware.
Because Tithe.ly enables your church to create a kiosk anywhere there is a browser, you can bring a kiosk everywhere your church exists—parades, homeless shelters, youth group events, and community cookouts.
People are attracted to kiosks because they represent something bigger going on.
A kiosk communicates, “Come be a part of something important.”
With Tithe.ly, you don’t have to swap business cards or rely on old-fashioned cardboard sign-up forms.
You can simply set up an informational kiosk to capture name, email, and even event registration that enters a new contact into your communications strategy that enables you to make a good impression on people before they even visit a Sunday service.
You can use Tithe.ly’s kiosk function for member-specific events such as Sunday school, member meetings, small group sign-ups, and bake sale registrations, but you can also use it as a way to capture new visitor information.
If you use Tithe.ly, you most likely have a custom church app, which removes the need for a kiosk’s functions for most members—they are already using the app.
But it’s crucial to use the kiosk as a way to make what police officers call “positive citizen contact” with a new visitor. When you have their information, you can set up the kiosk to automatically offer them value—such as a free coffee or lunch invitation—before they even step out of the building.
It’s easy to get excited about new technology, but it’s even easier to fail to make good use of it.
When you get new visitor contact information, it’s important that you actually follow up.
It’s easy to do this with the kiosk’s Autoresponder, which enables you to automatically send follow-up emails based on a user’s actions.
But if a visitor gives you their information and never hear from you, that’s worse than not getting their information at all.
If you fail to obtain a visitor’s information, that can be forgiven as an error.
But radio silence after an invitation to connect confirms that the church leadership hasn’t made time to care about new visitors.
Make sure that if you set up kiosks and capture visitor information, you have a protocol in place to make personal contact with them the following business day—even with church text message marketing.
That’s what a local business would do.
The church shouldn’t have a lower operational standard for its patrons as local businesses.
Be sure to make contact.
The kiosk works best as a way to capture information.
But once a visitor becomes a part of the community, they will be able to connect in a much richer way through downloading and regularly using the church app.
This app will connect them to the church’s events, small groups, parties, classes, and updates.
It’s important for you to mention the kiosks from the main stage in church.
Even if visitors have seen the kiosks already, they may have been intimidated to use them or worried that the kiosks weren’t for them.
Address the kiosks publicly during your church welcome speech by saying something to this effect:
“If you’re visiting with us, we want to meet you! The best way for us to do that is for you to enter your info at the kiosks right outside the door. You’ll see people standing next to iPads in bright green shirts. Flag them down, let them know you’re a visitor, and they’ll help you get connected here! If it’s your first time, we’d like to take you out to lunch—on us!”
The church kiosk function of Tithe.ly’s software is amazing.
It is so customizable to your church that it requires a brief setup on your end that should take no longer than 5 minutes.
Let’s jump into a quick explanation of how to build your custom kiosk form and use it in your church.
Navigate your web browser to the Tithe.ly website and press “Log in” in the top right corner of the page.
Navigate to “Forms” in the menu.
Click “Create form” in the pop-out menu.
“Add Row” by double clicking single-column or double-column
Add content to rows by dragging and dropping kinds of entry data such as “Heading,” “First Name,” “Address,” etc.
Under the “Autoresponder” heading, create your own custom email response that will be sent to the visitor as soon as they submit their information.
Make sure to include your own contact information, the person who will be contacting them next, and when they should expect to hear from the church.
Choose what action should occur when person submits form (Change Person’s Field, Add to Group, Send an Email, Add to People Flow)
If you want new people to be added to database, check “add new people as a contact.”
If form is satisfactory, hit “Save.” Under “Status” at top of page, change from “Unpublished” to “Published.”
Click “View” at the top of the screen.
This will take you to the form page.
This page will have a custom URL in the browser.
Copy and paste this URL into the browsers of your kiosk devices.
Voila!! There is your kiosk!
When you view the form, you can simply send the link to your kiosk team and have them open it in the tablet browser.
Pro tip: If you’re web savvy, instead of clicking “view,” you can also click “embed” and place the form as one element on any page of your church’s website.
Your church should be making use of Tithe.ly’s kiosk giving function.
It solves many of the first time visitor problems that busy churches face without overwhelming the volunteer staff with the burden of getting the contact info of every visitor.
Implementing the Tithe.ly kiosk giving tool in your church’s greeting strategy will drastically increase the conversion rate of visitors to members.
Don’t let any more new visitors slip through your fingers due to business today.
Connect with the people who are curious enough about your church to show up.
Those are the kind of people that make a church great.