Tithe.ly News

Interactive Sermon Notes: A Key to Helping Your Congregation Remember Your Sermon

Tithe.ly News

Interactive Sermon Notes: A Key to Helping Your Congregation Remember Your Sermon

Ever feel like your sermon doesn’t live beyond your church’s parking lot?

If so, then join the club.

Many pastors express frustration from not being able to connect their sermon with their congregation. At times, it can feel like the sermon you spent 10-18 hours preparing didn’t even make a dent in someone’s life.

From lunchtime hunger pains, everyday stress, and mobile phones, as a pastor, you’re competing against several significant distractions. Besides, some studies suggest that our attention span is worse than a goldfish.

In overcoming these challenges, one key many pastors have found helpful in maintaining the attention of their congregation is to provide easy ways for them to follow along. Examples of this tactic can include printed outlines, PowerPoint slides, or a note section in the church’s bulletin.

Today, some of these tactics are proving less effective. Instead of looking at a PowerPoint slide or a printed handout, a lot of people are opting to use their phone or tablet instead.

To help you better engage your congregation in ways that are becoming more natural for them, we’ve pumped up our Church App by rolling out huge updates to our Interactive Sermon Notes.

Many church leaders expressed an interest in additional features, and our team has been hard at work behind the scenes the past several months to make this happen. Today, we’re excited to share with you four significant updates.

#1. Lead your listeners to interact with your sermon

Want to help your listeners follow along with you during your sermon?

With this latest round of updates, your congregation will be able to take notes or fill-in-the-blanks of an outline you create for them to use. Leading your listeners to interact with your message is a great way to keep their attention, and help them to retain your message.

To help your congregation engage with your church app during your sermon, Frank Barry, our COO, suggests asking people, dare I say, use their phone in church. He encourages pastors to say something like, “If your following along and want to take notes, pull out your phone and open up the church app, my outline is ready for you to take notes on."

When you use Interactive Sermon Notes, make sure to let your church know it’s available for them to use.

#2. Help your church build community

How often have you wanted to share a thought with someone after a worship service?

There are many times when we’ll be able to share what we’re thinking with someone face-to-face, but there are other times when the idea hits us later. Either way, we’ve made it easy for your church to share their notes with their family and friends.

Now, your app users can save their notes directly on their phone or email them to someone else to talk through your sermon. When you email your notes, you’ll be able to create an attached PDF of your notes, which looks fantastic.

#3. Choose your preferred Bible version

With the recent updates, you now can choose from among 17 Bible translations, including the English Standard Version (ESV), King James Version (KJV), New International Version (NIV), and the New King James Version (NKJV).

Now, whenever you include a Bible reference in your sermon notes, such as Genesis 1:1, the scripture will appear like a hyperlink (kind of like this example). So, when someone touches the verse you reference in your outline, it will display the passage of the Bible version you choose in a popup window.

#4. Use emojis 👍🏻

Many people—especially millennials—like to use emojis to capture their thoughts or share their feelings. So we thought it would be a good idea to let people use emojis when taking notes to help them remember what they were experiencing during your sermon.

By the way, this feature is arguably our COO’s favorite addition to sermon notes. 😀

Your turn

At Tithe.ly, we believe in the essential role preaching plays in the life of the local church. Preaching is one of the primary ways God reveals himself to people. This is why we love to support the work of local churches around the world with online giving, mobile giving, and digital tools church leaders can use to engage their congregation in relevant ways.

Expert Tips on How to Effectively Launch a New Online Giving Tool

Make it accessible so people can give in the way that is most comfortable to them. Don't make it hard for people to give money.
Some people like to give online, some like mobile, some like text. Whatever they like, let them give in that way if you can.
Brady Shearer
Talk about it every single week. Consistently promote it on every platform. 
Be patient. We all resist change.
Michael Lukaszewski
Launch it to your staff, your leaders, and your volunteers (in that order) and help those groups use it before you launch it publicly.
Teach it in your new member class.
Allow for people to sign-up right on the spot via their mobile phone (or through a laptop or iPad for those that don't have a mobile device handy).
Justin Dean
On launch weekend, have volunteers and staff accessible with iPads to walk people through how to set up an account and get recurring giving configured.
Daniel Irmler
On a regular basis, tell stories from members who are using and loving it. 
You don't don’t need a big production value shoot. Keep it simple by using an iPhone (horizontal) and a decent mic.
Invite your congregation to take out their phones and download the mobile giving app right in the service.
Nik Goodner
Explain the why behind the change and highlight the benefits of the new system. 
People like to be "on the team".
Kevin Ekmark
I always tell people, "you need to clean your house before you invite friends over". It's crucial that your giving platform is easily found, whether it's on the web or in the church. 
On the web, making sure that your website is mobile friendly (Google and Bing both recommend mobile responsive design) can be a huge help. You can also incorporate bots from Facebook or a service like Intercom to help walk people through online giving on your website. When necessary, a human can jump in and help too. This helps complete the process from being found online to completing the online giving.
Logan Fields
Tell them the real reasons. Giving members are concerned with what's best for the church and not just what they individually prefer. Transparency.
"This platform will allow us to better manage finances and spend less staff time on the books and more on people." etc. The temptation is to treat members like consumers who we need to impress instead of team members. Treat them like equals who you assume are interested in what's best for the church/ mission and people will likely rise to it.
Kenny Jahng
Launch a $3.16 campaign. Ask people to all give just $3.16 to a weekly or bi-weekly blessing fund. Then, pick one person or cause to bless IN TOWN and go give that person all the money collected.
  • It could be the all volunteer firefighter squad in town. "We'll take all the $3.16's collected and go buy a meal or treat and drop off for the firefighters who volunteer."
  • It could be a widow the church knows about - bless her with something new for her home or hobby or pets.
  • Single mothers - supply them with a night out. Or pay for a house cleaner or a handyman for a couple of hours.
  • Special needs families - pay for evening out for the parents and child care for the special needs kids so the parents get a break.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
  • You can ask for "sponsors" in the future, getting people to nominate good causes (let the youth do this!) and let them deliver the blessing and report back each sunday.
This works incredibly well because you are teaching generosity / outward posture to your people on a consistent basis and getting people to give on mobile- while making it about PARTICIPATION vs AMOUNT. You'll have people regularly trying out the mobile option as well as pre-register them in the system.

There you have it! Some amazing tips, right?

Which tip stood out the most to you … or looked to be the craziest?! Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!


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Interactive Sermon Notes: A Key to Helping Your Congregation Remember Your Sermon


Tithe.ly powers mobile, text, and web giving for
churches and ministries.

Sign Up