In a earlier post, we compared mobile apps and mobile websites. Overall, apps are sleeker and more interactive. People will visit your mobile website to read and consume primarily text information. But if they want to consume media (audio, video, and graphical content), they typically use a mobile app.
In a more recent post, we presented hard evidence that mobile apps are sticky and ubiquitous. Research now shows that smartphone users on average spend about 2 hours per day using apps, and just 30 minutes browsing mobile websites. The scenario is no different for churches: according to the Christian Web Trends website, church apps are more than just a passing fad.
But before you before you spring for an app for your ministry, ask yourself the following questions:
- What content do I want to to deliver through the app?
- How do I want to deliver it?
- Where do I want to deliver it (for example, in the Apple Apps Store or in Google Play)?
- Is the content fresh?
- How do I ensure that the firm I hire will deliver a quality mobile app?
If it helps, think of content as a shorthand, catchall term for the message that your ministry projects. Indeed, it helps if your church already has a substantial archive of content: audio and video sermons, music, sermon notes, Bible study guides, and the like. Why? Because in the digital world, content is king. Church members and other users will value your app if it provides content for them to consume. And it helps to keep the content fresh: They don’t necessarily want to hear the same sermon 50 times.
But there’s good news: Pastors don’t generally preach the same sermon 50 times, and most Judeo-Christian churches typically generate new content at least once per week with their worship services. That said, don’t discount your “old” content; with hundreds of millions of potential users coming across your app, that old sermon will be “new” to someone.
So it’s a good chance you have a sufficient amount of content: You may not have as much, or as varied a collection, as a mega church. But you should recognize that what you do have, and what you continue to produce, is valued. All you need to do is to commit to making your content accessible to the mobile masses.
As far the quality and layout (the how) of the app, much of that depends on your vision. Your app should not duplicate your website; that means you will really need to consider what content you want to feature in your app, and how you want to feature it. Apps, in general, should be should be straightforward, having a simple content layout, and sleek, having a visually attractive and logical design. You don’t need a super expensive, revolutionary design (sometimes that translates to slow); the important thing is that the user can navigate the app with ease.
And the key to quality is finding a developer that listens to your vision, is focused on your vision, is passionate about gospel ministries, and provides outstanding customer service.