Just about every week, someone asks us to build them a church app. They are more popular today than they have ever been.
But just because something is popular, doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone.
In fact, we would argue that most churches definitely shouldn’t get a church app.
Table of contents
- Church Apps Are Inward Focused
- Church Apps Are Rarely Custom
- Church Apps Are Usually Just Additional Platforms
- Church Apps Are Expensive
- Church Apps Aren’t The Best Way To Do Push Notifications
- Church Apps Require Double Data Entry
- Church Apps Are Rarely Used
- Does Your Church Need An App?
- More On Church Apps
Church Apps Are Inward Focused
Put yourself in the shoes of a visitor. You have never been to the church before. Would you consider downloading that church’s app before you ever walked in the doors?
No! You probably want to check out the church, and the place you will do that is on the church’s website or maybe their social media accounts.
An app is designed for people already part of the inside group by its very nature.
Church Apps Are Rarely Custom
Many church app providers out there claim to offer a custom app. In the vast majority of cases, they are not truly custom.
They may offer the ability to theme your account within the app to reflect your colors better and add your logo. But very few are built from the ground up custom.
A custom app would cost tens of thousands of dollars to be done right.
A dead giveaway is the time it takes to get your app live
A truly custom app would take months to build, and then the approval process to get into the app stores can take even longer.
Church Apps Are Usually Just Additional Platforms
If your app isn’t a $20,000 custom app, in reality, they are just additional platforms where your church has an account. Your members download the generic church app, and then once they have that, they search for your church and see your profile on their platform.
But chances are, you already have profiles on multiple other platforms. You’re on Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram. Your members already have these apps installed on their phones.
People can get updates, watch media, and be linked out to give through these social platforms. This makes your church app redundant.
Church Apps Are Expensive
Even when you don’t go the full custom app route, church apps are still expensive. The average app costs $50-$200 per month. That’s on top of any other digital services you may sign up for with the company that provides your app.
Some companies have changed their pricing model to be more affordable, but they require you to use their online giving platform, and sometimes those have higher than market rate fees.
Church Apps Aren’t The Best Way To Do Push Notifications
Many churches want to use a church app to send push notifications to their members. And this is a function of most church apps.
But the reality is that most of the other platforms where you have accounts already allow you to send push notifications to your members.
In Facebook, for instance, users can change their settings so that they receive a push notification every time you update your Facebook page.
You probably don’t want to notify users of every post you put out, but that option is there if you do.
Church Apps Require Double Data Entry
One of the most significant issues with church apps is the upkeep and staff they require to be helpful. In most cases, any events you put onto your church app also have to be added to your website. They will also need to be added to your Facebook page.
The same goes for your sermons. Most people will not watch sermons in-app, but you will still need to take the time each week to make sure they are loaded in.
Church Apps Are Rarely Used
Finally, all the data seems to point to the fact that people only use a handful of apps regularly. If you want your church app to be one of them, you better have a plan to make a lot of great content to keep people on there.
At best, you should expect members to use your app a couple of times per month.
Facebook and Google have a lot more resources to keep people engaged than your church does, so competing for people’s attention in an app is a unique challenge.
Take a look at your phone, and I am sure you will find a dozen or more apps that you haven’t used in months.
Does Your Church Need An App?
These are just some reasons why churches generally don’t need apps. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.