Just like many Pastors are using TV to get their message to millions, many churches are using apps to get their message to members. More religious organizations are learning how to use app technology to communicate with their members. Most churches already have a website, but a mobile app allows members to send prayers to individuals in need, send church events directly to members phones, and see videos of prayers sessions missed.
According to the Wall Street Journal over 150 churches have customized mobile apps for their members this year. While thousands more consider the impact of adding technology to their faith . Some Pastors and parishioners feel that this is just another way to keep in touch with your church and your spirituality. Church administrators hope that using apps will motivate young members to use their phone for prayers as well as play.
“That’s their world: their iPhone. If it ain’t in their pocket, it’s not real,” says Tom Wray, a consultant within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who has promoted such apps to Catholic churches.
So far, mostly large, mainline Protestant and evangelical churches have had customized apps made, developers say. Typically, the apps aggregate information including a pastor’s blog, church calendar and sometimes a public, digital wall on which congregants can request and offer prayers.
“We’re trying to spread the message and content of each church; get outside of their church walls during the week,” says Matt McKee, a former pastor and founder of ROAR, based in Alpharetta, Ga., which creates such custom apps.
A custom app from Redeemer Church in Utica, N.Y., where about 1,700 people attend on an average weekend, has been downloaded about 3,700 times, says Sam Luce, a pastor at the church. A “prayer” tab launched in May of 2010 enabling users to request and confirm prayers has so far notched nearly 14,000 hits, says Mr. Luce. He says Redeemer is looking into building another app for its youth group.
Like most technology there are benefits and drawbacks. Some Pastors feel that people might confuse or replace the technology for the actual spiritual practice or visiting their local church. I think, most people are aware that prayer is a communal affair but it’s OK to get some spiritual motivation in alternative ways. Technology could never take the place of sitting and praying with people in a house of worship.
A customized mobile app made by Mobile Media Consultants can run for a set up fee of $750 to $1500 with a nominal $39.95 monthly hosting fee.
Remember, customized mobile apps are designed to the particular needs of your church or parish: videos; prayer walls; special events and direct messaging to members.
For the complete WSJ article.