Recently, mobile strategies have been a consistent conversation topic for The Unstuck Group. The American culture has moved beyond web to mobile, but the church is several steps behind. Mobile is the closest you can get to your target market. Today, 80% of internet users own a smartphone and over 60% of all internet use is mobile.
Sometimes technology can be overwhelming. Words like “mobile strategy” can seem intimidating but simply put, a mobile strategy is a strategy to connect with people where they are. Instead of being relevant with culture, many times churches try to ignore the changes happening all around them. They spend most of their time and energy pulling off services and classes but we live in an on-demand culture. That requires us to shift how we help people engage.
Technology is not just a resource to connect people to the church: It can also help people become disciples of Christ.
A strong mobile strategy has the potential to:
- Grow the reach of your streaming audience. Some churches have reported an increase in viewers once services were shared on apps. This could be due to convenience. With an app, web page addresses do not need to be remembered, and in two clicks someone can watch a service wherever they are.
- Offer a wider range of giving options. Smart Giving (Text to Give), online giving, and giving from apps are all ways to make giving easier and make spontaneous giving possible. Today’s culture rarely carries cash. Why not make it easy for people to give? One of our strategic partners, eChurch Giving has some great solutions that are easy to implement.
- Provide easy on-ramps for people to take next steps in their walk with Christ. An app could certainly be used for devotions, prayer requests, small group curriculum and even for giving people options to respond to a next step during a service. Many times people are inspired by a message but they leave without taking action. A mobile strategy will ensure that people can volunteer and sign-up for small groups with minimal effort. Church Community Builder can help churches integrate their mobile strategy with a church management system. Lifechurch.tv has developed an interactive app for kids that is proving to be very effective. Even games could be created to connect kids with a mobile strategy.
- Focus the amount of content that is shared with viewers. Mobile strategies force churches to rethink how they are utilizing their webpage. Paragraphs are minimized and tabs are dropped from websites. Less can actually be more. Eliminating nonessential items will engage people to visit the areas you want them to view.
- Help your people stay connected even when they’re away. Everyone is talking about how church attendance is declining, even among committed Christians. What if “committed” will mean something different in the next 10 years than it did in the last 10? People will still have their smartphones on them when they travel on weekends, or spend a Sunday morning at a Little League park. Could you creatively help them still connect and feel a part of what’s happening in the life of your church, even when they aren’t on site?
These are just a few ideas. The possibilities are limited only by our own creativity and satisfaction with the way we’ve always done things. The people in your community aren’t going to give up their smartphones and tablets any time soon. If Starbucks can provide options to send a gift to a friend, wouldn’t it be reasonable for churches to utilize their mobile strategy to engage with first-time guests? Could kids be checked in with an app? How can we better use GPS features in our mobile strategy? If you start down this path with enthusiasm, I’m betting you’ll be amazed by the ways mobile could improve and enhance your strategy to accomplish your vision.
I would love to hear how your church has moved beyond web to mobile.