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Does Your Church Really Need an App?

church app
Photo by Austin Distel (via Unsplash)

Does your congregation really need a custom church app? The truth of the matter is that the answer is usually no. 

Nevertheless, if you are someone who has worked in the communications department of your church, you may have spent some time trying to convince your lead pastor that your church needs an app. Perhaps it has been the other way around. 

While a church app boasts features like push notifications and increased engagement—even higher giving numbers—you will want to think carefully about whether building an app for your church is really worth the investment. 

This isn’t to say that there isn’t ever a situation that would call for your church to have a custom app developed. Nevertheless, given how much apps can cost, both financially and in terms of person-hours, the decision to create a church app ought to be highly intentional.

Here are some things to consider that might lead you to think about holding off on having a custom church app developed. 

You Don’t Need a Church App If:

1. The App Does Not Contain Anything Not Already Available on Your Website

You don’t need a church app if your only vision for it is to be a one-stop shop to access everything that is already accessible on your website. 

If your only goal is to give your church a high quality mobile experience when looking for your church’s resources, such as sermons, giving, and important information regarding upcoming events, it would be far more beneficial to take the resources that you would have spent on a mobile app, and invest them in designing a website that is optimized for mobile. 

This will have the effect of increased usability for the people already at your church, and it will also allow prospective visitors of your church to get the same high quality experience. After all, someone looking to visit a church isn’t likely to download an app before visiting. However, they might do an online search for “churches near me.” 

If your site is optimized for mobile and SEO, then not only will these seekers find your church’s website, they will also be more likely to feel comfortable attending in person after seeing your easy-to-use and informative website from their mobile device.

2. Your Budget and Time Are Limited

Building an app is expensive. Depending on your needs, creating a custom app for your church could cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are companies that provide template apps that can be customized, but many times, they offer little more than a regurgitation of your website content. 

Beyond the financial commitment, the implementation process will also be a serious investment of time for more than one member of your team, and a church app will require routine maintenance and updating of content, in addition to the content updating you already regularly undertake on your website and social media channels. 

Count the cost. If you don’t have that kind of time and money, it might not be the time for you to invest in an app for your church.