The mobile revolution is here. Every year, people start using mobile devices in more ways: to read, to learn, to stay connected, to get entertained, and to be inspired.
According to a recent white paper by BlueBridge, 74 percent of church attendees use an electronic file or app to read the Bible. A Forbes report estimates that in just two years’ time, 87 percent of all connected devices sold will be mobile devices, either smartphones or tablets. Yet, according to the same BlueBridge study, fully 70 percent of churches have no mobile presence.
Using mobile technology to advance your church’s ministry and build community is easier than you think. Here are ten ways to make mobile work for your church:
Websites that load easily on mobile devices are a must. An ideal mobile site loads in three seconds or fewer and has easy-to-read menus that provide basic information. Since most users will be first-time attendees, a mobile site that makes a powerful first impression and puts the church schedule up front is a must.
Apps are downloaded onto mobile devices and updated via the devices’ wireless connections. Great for current church members, apps offer an easy way to keep information in one place, including event calendars, bulletins, and multimedia offerings like recorded sermons.
Children take to mobile technology more easily than any other group of society. Keep their Sunday school lessons at their fingertips all week by offering an app designed especially for them, with games, quizzes, and fun ways to connect with church friends. A youth group or teen app can also help appeal to young attendees.
A simple SMS messaging system can text members of your church family in order to alert them to upcoming events. Churchgoers may opt in or opt out of these alerts, making it easy for them to control how much information they want about what’s coming up.
Expand the value of texting by creating an SMS texting lists for prayer circles. This way, congregants can get “real-time” updates when a member of the church family urgently needs the kind of help and support that prayer can provide.
An electronic version of the church bulletin—available on the mobile site and through the app—makes it easy for established churchgoers and new visitors alike to find out about upcoming events and news. It also helps save paper, thereby protecting the Lord’s creations.
With a majority of Christians now reading the Bible electronically at least part of the time, a church that integrates its own sermons and support with a Bible app or site creates a powerful tool to help congregants grow in their faith.
SMS technology makes it easy not only to ask for prayers in time of need, but also to alert churchgoers to emergencies and urgent situations. Whether the church is closed due to weather or donations are desperately needed to address a local crisis, your congregants can find out and prepare more easily.
Links on the mobile site or app, push notifications, and similar tools allow churches to gather donations more easily, whether they’re working on projects of their own or seeking to help other organizations provide relief and ministry in troubled times.
10) Podcast sermons.
Don’t let a vacation cause your congregants to miss out on their weekly spiritual guidance and insight. Live-streaming and podcasts allow congregants to listen to sermons at their own pace, giving them the chance to rewind, re-hear, and reflect more fully on the messages being offered.