We are living in a world where no one wants to be left behind. It seems as if we are all looking to stay connected during the stirring hours. This task has been made incredibly easy with the ever-growing world of technology. Every day, people are constantly thumbing through apps in an attempt to relate to other people. Typically, this is in the form of social media, however, we occasionally look down these avenues for help drawing closer to Jesus. We see so many that are longing to be a part of something to make them feel wanted… a life worthy of love and belonging.
Does your church or ministry have an app? Should you have one? Let’s look at some details.
With any good thing these days, the more you spend the better the quality. I have seen a few websites offering free app building but as I look through the sites, I found myself bored. Now, I hate to use the word “bored” but today if it does not scream excitement or originality, it does not catch our attention easily. It comes down to needing the perfect colors, words that will connect everyone, and an easy to use app. With that said, I believe the idea is amazing, to offer something for free in order to connect people to church. Unfortunately, the execution is not as vibrant as some others that you pay for.
I have found that if you want a custom app, most places are charging a minimum of $100,000 per year. Although that price is pretty steep, you have complete control to a unique app that fits your specific needs. So I looked deeper into a “custom” template, which still begins at $99.00 per month. With that package you can always add more features, regrettably, the more you add or change, the steeper the cost. Nonetheless, this will give you a choice of what will fit your needs and budget.
I realize this heading is a little harsh, however, I feel it is much needed. Having an app live stream for church is similar to the TV church. It can be used as a positive tool if you are house-ridden, or away on vacation; however, this can be a problem when it becomes a routine. It can easily turn into an excuse to stay home, which in turn you lose your face-to-face worship. “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
We are meant to be the body of Christ and come together but we have begun to rely on catching up later. When missing church, we think we can pull up the sermon later because it is now at our fingertips. In such a fast-paced world you are able to get more than one thing done at a time that way. Although this may appear convenient, we seem to stay busy and continue to miss out. We must use the app as an extra form of worship rather than our only outlet. It is inevitable to keep up with the changing world but there is nothing wrong with having the best of both worlds.
When you are yearning to be heard in a safe place you reach out to alternatives other than regular social media. An app through your local church or any church can be this secure place for you. It can allow you to open your heart and send genuine prayer requests in a place that will not judge you for what you are going through but give you the prayer and support you are searching for. This is a constructive use for apps because you know you are sharing your heart with a sincere person in ministry. All we really want is to trust that when someone tells us they are praying, that is exactly what they are doing. This opens up an opportunity to talk to someone in the ministry that could give a different outlook or just an ear to listen. “Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (Ephesians 6:18)
“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:24-25) As a child, I was always taught to tithe with my cash allowance. My parents taught me that it should be the first thing I did when I got “paid” and I held on to that practice throughout my life. It was difficult once I began using credit/debit cards as my primary source of payment because it then became a hassle to tithe. I found it very difficult to prioritize going to the ATM before church. Then I found out I could tithe online or through the church app. I find this both helpful and problematic. Although I love placing cash into the plate as it passes, this function does make it easier for people who do not carry cash.
Growth is important. We need to build relationships and the best way to start is to have an outlet to stay connected. We have to be willing to adjust as the world around us changes. A quick place to find the ‘healer’ would give so many hurting the hope they desire. We need to meet the younger generations where they are and continue to lift them up. Having an app for your church can be extremely beneficial as keeping people connected stays in demand.