Imagine that you had a Rip Van Winkle experience and woke up after falling asleep in the early 1980's. Wouldn't you be surprised at how much we Americans now depend on technology for just about everything? One of the great surprises would be that people now carry their telephones in their pockets or even wear them on their wrist! The next surprise would be that they use those phones for everything!
The Rise of the Smartphone and Apps
Recent studies have shown that the average person is never more than three feet from their smartphone. Currently there are over 1.5 billion smartphones worldwide. That number climbs daily. Business Insider reports, "By 2017, the average mobile user will watch 10 hours of video, listen to 15 hours of music, make five video calls and download 15 apps each month." 1.
Apps is short for applications. Apps are the little buttons on a smartphone that allow a user to instantly connect with a service, site or company by simply tapping the icon on the phone. Consider that there are over one million apps for both iPhones and Android phones.
Smartphones and apps are changing the way people do just about everything including commerce. More and more people are using their smartphones instead of a wallet. For instance when I go to Starbucks to get a cup of coffee I never use my wallet. I use my smartphone that has an installed Starbucks app. With that app I can first find the nearest store, purchase my drink and get my receipt all in the palm of my hand. It is simple, fast and effective. More and more commerce is moving in this direction.
How the Church Stacks Up
So how does the church stack up to meeting this new normal of a technologically driven world? Too often we like Rip Van Winkle are asleep or stuck in the 1980's. If we are to stay connected and relevant we must adapt to this new technological shift. Tragically we are behind and falling further behind by the day.
While most churches now at least have a webpage most don't realize how important it is to be mobile. Mobile devices have now surpassed desktop computers in sales and use. For the Church to connect with the world we need to think mobile. With so many today depending upon their smartphone and the apps upon it why would the church not have an app?
What Good Would an App Be For a Church?
I believe there are four crucial areas of practical uses of an app for a church. They are:
- Communications Apps gives a church the ability for instant contact.
- Information Members can access calendars to find out where and when that meeting is.
- Inspiration Churches can have online prayer links, devotions and last Sunday's sermon.
- Giving Apps give members the ability to give 24/7 anywhere even during the offering!
Churches that are struggling to be fully funded would do well to consider getting an app and using it to increase giving. A goal of the church should be to make giving as easy as possible. Since we are today a primarily cashless and checkless society wouldn't it make sense to give members and attendees a way to give that connects with how they do commerce?
Sadly many churches are stuck in the 1980's and are still using a tool that is now well over 100 years old to collect money, the offering plate. Today's offering plate is an App. Apps are not the future they are the present. If you want to be fully funded you should consider getting and using an App for your church!