Hillsong’s Magazine-Style Church App

Craig Van Korlaar —  June 27, 2012

Hillsong's Magazine-Style Church App

Update: Stream the Hillsong Conference (July 2-8) for free via the app

  • View information about upcoming sessions
  • Add reminders for your favorite sessions and receive notifications when they are about to start
  • Keep in mind, Hillsong is in Australia, so you’ll probably need to use these reminders. Use the following calculations to correct for your local time.
    • Pacific + 17 hours (i.e. 16:30 Tuesday Sydney time = 23:30 Monday Pacific)
    • Mountain +16 hours (i.e. 16:30 Tuesday Sydney = 00:30 Tuesday Mountain)
    • Central + 15 hours (i.e. 16:30 Tuesday Sydney = 01:30 Tuesday Central)
    • Eastern + 14 hours (i.e. 16:30 Tuesday Sydney = 02:30 Tuesday Eastern)

Hillsong recently released a magazine-style church app (via iTunes) to aggregate all of their latest news and content from around the globe.

In case you didn’t know, Hillsong is more than just music. In fact, it is a global church with locations in Australia, Cape Town, London, Paris, Stockholm, Kiev, Amsterdam, Moscow, New York City, and more.

Rather than create an app focused around one single location, Hillsong wanted a way to share their story and encourage local churches globally. The finished product is the first magazine-style church app that I’ve come across. Acting a lot like Flipboard, it aggregates content from existing sources such as…

  • Hillsong’s key leadership team’s social streams
  • Hillsong TV (videos and messages)
  • Hillsong Music
  • The collective church blog, “Hillsong Collected”
  • Content centered around global issues of poverty and development
  • You can even stream their upcoming conference (July 2-8) via the app

Equally noteworthy are the things this particular magazine-style church app does NOT have

  • No direct links the Hillsong website
  • No contact information
  • No information about upcoming events
  • No links to donation options

Though they do include basic information about campuses (tap the globe in top left of home screen), Hillsong likely chose to excluded these other items to keep the focus on the global ministry’s brand, mission, and content. It makes complete sense in their context, but would it work well for a local church in a smaller context? Maybe… However, I’d personally consider ways to also provide easy access to some of the surprisingly absent content mentioned above. At a bare minimum, this could be a page with buttons linking to more information on the church’s website (as long as they make it clear that these will take users outside the app).

Not sure if a church app is right for your church? Check out 5 Reasons to Consider a Church App.

Craig Van Korlaar


Craig is founder of TopNonprofits.com, a curation of best practices from the world's leading nonprofits. His skills were honed as a decorated sergeant and enlisted aerial navigator for the U.S. Marine Corps and nurtured through his work at public schools, the YMCA, and Food for the Hungry. Most recently, Craig has served as operations director at Phoenix's New City Church, co-founder of SoChurch communications software, and a key player in laying the groundwork for OpenChurch.com. Craig spent much of his formative years as a missionary's kid in Kenya and civil war-torn Zaire.

2 responses to Hillsong’s Magazine-Style Church App

  1. Hey guys! Thanks for the shout out. I love your comments on the app.

    There is a very intentional focus behind this app that I’d agree would not work for all churches. The heart behind the app is more about you & your church than us & our church.

    Although there is the absence of direct links, contact info & event details in the traditional sense, all this is meant to be designed into the content.
    - If an event is coming up you’ll definitely know about it through the tweets & articles
    - A lot of the content items link back to our website for more details where relevant
    - All the contributions & brand bios have links to follow via social media – which we understand not all people have – but this reflects a channel in which people can contact & engage further with us. This is opposed to have a link to a plain old contact form. Just trying to do something a little different :)
    Do you think these strategies work or miss the mark?

    We really wanted to place a focus on the content over anything else – I see the challenge for us now is to create better, more engaging & inspiring content.

    Hope you guys enjoy it – I’d love to hear more of your thoughts.
    If you’d like, you can read more about the creation of the app on Hillsong Collected http://bit.ly/NPC9h2

    James [web designer / content strategist at Hillsong]

  2. @James, I think what you have made makes complete sense in Hillsong’s context. Not only that, but you’ve executed everything beautifully.

    Because Hillsong is a global thought leader and many churches might look to your example, Kent and I wrote the missing features comments to those who might be considering their own app. This in no way is meant as a criticism on what you’ve done.