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10 Ways You Can Use Push Notifications to Grow Your Church by Increasing Engagement

Here are four ways you can regularly remind your church to download your app:

  1. Acknowledge it during your weekly announcements
  2. Include it in your church bulletin or email newsletter
  3. Create a page on your church’s website for people to download your app (e.g., www.yourchurch.com/app)
  4. Promote your app on social media with posts or in your bio

There are more ways you can promote your church app. But these four will be enough to get you started.

When you promote your church app, make sure to remind your congregation to enable notifications. Most of them will since you’re asking for them to download it. But some of your congregation may need a little bit more encouragement.

#2. Create irresistible content

“If you build it, they will come.”

That was the message Kevin Costner’s character received in Field of Dreams.

This message makes for an excellent motivational poster. But it’s terrible advice when it comes to getting people to use your church app.

One key to the long-term success of your church app is to create new content.

You can have a slick looking app, and you can promote the daylights out of it. But if you don’t regularly provide new content, you’ll never gain long-term traction.

Eric Bryant, the implementations team lead for Tithe.ly, offered the following advice to create irresistible content:

  • Regularly share content—e.g., sermon notes, weekly bulletin, blog post, podcasts
  • Use RSS feeds to pull new content automatically
  • Balance content for new guests and regular attendees
  • Recruit one to three volunteers to help create or curate content
  • Create exclusive content (more on this below)

Adding content to your app will provide a compelling reason for your church app users to return.

#3. Exclusive content

In your church’s communication calendar, make room to include exclusive content only available in your church app. Providing some type of content only available in your app is one surefire way to increase the number of people who download your app and use it.

Here are some ideas you can consider:

  • Create Spotify Playlist of worship songs your church sings
  • Add a special video message from your pastor or staff every week
  • Provide access to a Bible study or reading plan

Here are a couple of push notification examples from churches who promote exclusive content:

  • “Pastor’s Monday Morning…Hello, Rock Stone! Our word for Monday comes from Jude 1. Remember to be bold and courageous.”
  • “Here’s your quote of the week: ‘I’ve made mistakes, but I’m not my mistakes!’”
  • “June 11th Devotional: No longer I, but Christ. Galatians 2:20. Click to read the full devotional.”

At first, I wouldn’t get bogged down in this step. Instead, focus on regularly sharing the content your church already creates if you’re not doing this already.

#4. Engage absentees

Are members of your church on vacation or a business trip?

Do you have shut-ins who are unable to attend your worship service?

Do you want to prompt your church to share the sermon online?

You can use push notifications to let people know the video of your service is available or you can prompt them to join your live stream.

For example, you can send a message like this:

  • “Miss the worship service? The video is now available online! Click here.”
  • “Can’t make it to the worship service? Join the live stream in 15 minutes!”
  • “What a powerful message! Share it with your family and friends online.”
  • “Podcast is posted! Yesterday we concluded our ‘Second Chances’ series with the story of Peter.”

In your communication calendar, make sure to include messages on Sunday for absent members or to encourage people to watch or listen to the sermon again and share it with their family and friends.

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Jesse Wisnewski is the senior content marketer at Tithe.ly, a leading mobile giving and online giving platform. Jesse is also the founder of Stillhouse Marketing and the keeper of Copybot. He lives outside of Nashville, TN with his wife and five kids.