Sundays have different meanings for all of us. Football, family, time and a half at work. One or all of these things might sound familiar to you. But for fifty million Americans, Sunday is still the day of worship, and you’ll find these folks spending the morning of the seventh day in church.
Church is where we connect with one another, get to know our community, and come to feel like a part of something larger than ourselves. It’s a place we can get to know our neighbors, coworkers, and ourselves.
Though church attendance has declined somewhat over the past century, it remains a core tenet in the lives of many of us. It’s still a part of our national fabric.
Apps Can Divide Us…Or Unite Us
So naturally, the question is, how can church compete with our new favorite means of connecting – via social networks and mobile apps? More than a few churches have had to contend with over-eager smartphone users in the congregation. After all, we are constantly on our phones: one recent study shows that we spend an average of three hours a day on our mobile apps. The problem here is larger than sneaking a game of Candy Crush from the pew. The way the we connect is changing, and it’s moving away from the highly personal style that is inherent to church.
That’s where mobile church applications come in. We already enjoy the information, connection, and entertainment that smartphones offer. Working off the assumption that this will not change, the only variable is how we spend our time on the small screen. Ironically, the same medium that causes us to socially isolate ourselves, can also be used to draw us together.
Because churches and mobile applications are actually a near-perfect match with community-building lying at the heart of both. The difference is, that although churches create a sense of community, most members of the congregation will only interact with their church once a week. By utilizing mobile applications, a church can build resilient bonds between its members.
The CrossPointe Way
CrossePointe Church, located in Valdosta, GA and Quitman, GA recognized this opportunity early on. Headed by Pastor David Rogers, CrossPointe Church emphasizes the importance of connection, both with God and with other church members. Since 2005, the congregation has grown from twelve worshippers meeting in Pastor David’s home to thousands of worshippers gathering every Sunday at two churches.
The CrossPointe church uses tailored events and programs to reach out to children, college- aged young adults, men, women, and people recovering from substance abuse. In July alone, CrossPointe is offering a student conference, a weeklong bible camp, and a grocery drive, not to mention the church’s other weekly events. With so many unique groups coming together, congregants need a way to keep up with events.
Another reason CrossPointe is the perfect fit for a mobile app is due to the service being spread out over multiple locations. Without the app, church members are unable to hear both sermons, or know the stories of all of their fellow worshippers. By using its mobile app to connect with its congregants, CrossPointe is truly living up to its promise spread the Word.
Great features of the app
CrossPointe’s new app offers church-goers the opportunity to take their involvement with the faith community on the go. With a sleek design and user-friendly dashboard, CrossPointe’s app has users church needs covered. Scrolling through motivational articles, members’ stories, and a packed calendar, it’s clear that the church has successfully built a mobile community that mirrors its real-life counterpart.
A few of the app’s highlights include:
- To enhance members’ churchgoing experience, the app offers notes, a more in-depth exploration of each Sunday’s sermon. Users can look at recent topics – for example, “Greater Than: My Worry and Anxiety” – and follow along with supporting parables and verses from scripture.
- The app also offers congregants a calendar and Twitter feed so that they can stay up to date with goings on. The Twitter feed is full of short motivational message from pastors and other members of the CrossPointe family. The “Full Church Calendar” is so packed that it’s quite clear why the ability to access it from an app is a must for active church members.
- For those who can’t make it on Sundays, or are curious about their sister congregation at CrossPointe’s other location, video and audio of sermons is available to the app’s users. Also available are personal stories and videos in which CrossPointe members testify to how their involvement with the church impacted their lives.
- Links to Christian music, which automatically connect to iTunes, give app users the chance to get into the spirit while working out or in the car. And if they should happen to be driving to church, they need not worry about getting lost, as the app offers a map with both locations, as well as the ability to “check in” on Foursquare.
Churches with congregations numbering in the thousands should take after CrossPointe’s example and consider a mobile application of their own. The faith families built at church usually only gather once a week. By connecting its members through an app, a church not only continues to spread its message, but also builds bonds among its members. It’s a perfect chance for users to carry their faith in their pockets.
So, how about it? Do you think others will follow CrossPointe’s example? How might churches add a social-networking aspect to their online presence? Give us your thoughts in the comments!