The Church App and the Next Phase of Internet Ministry

Kent Shaffer —  May 7, 2012

Are church apps like Onseeker the next phase of Internet ministry?

Church apps are a great way to connect more deeply with a congregation on the go. And while traditional websites aren’t going away, I expect more and more church websites to start emulating the communications approach of mobile apps.

So while widespread adoption of church apps probably won’t ever be as saturated as browser-based church websites, I do think it is safe to say that church apps are about to make a big dent on the way we do Internet ministry.

Digital Church History

In 2000…
An increasing number of churches recognized the value of a church website. It was a digital land rush where most sites served as a digital billboard or brochures highlighting the church’s ministries. Unfortunately, this approach offered¬†little value past the first visit.

In 2003…
More churches saw the potential to distribute sermons and other media to a much broader audience than their brick and mortar congregations.

In 2006…
Content management systems rose to popularity as churches took control of maintaining their own content through blogs, event calendars, and other features. Church websites transitioned from being a static brochure to a dynamic magazine.

In 2009…
Many churches experiment with streaming sermons, Twitter, and Facebook, and some offer a church online experience complete with worship, sermons, instant chat, and online prayer.

In 2012…
Due to smart phones, mobile web browsing is surging, but most church sites are clunky to navigate in a mobile browser. Church apps and mobile sites are less like a magazine and more like a conversation. I expect the next phase of Internet ministry to cut out fluff content and focus heavily on event details and dynamic conversations via social streams.

Onseeker Church App

Onseeker, in particular, is positioned to rebuild Internet ministry as we know it.¬†Onseeker’s church app for Android and iPhone devices is incredibly rich on features that allow churches to showcase and manage:

  • messages
  • worship
  • small groups
  • events
  • devotionals
  • prayer requests
  • online giving
  • resources
  • staff directory (including who to call for crisis or interventions)
  • turn-by-turn directions and parking info
  • reminders
  • social sharing
  • and more features like weather, etc.

The Onseeker Church App focuses on the entire church as a whole and is designed to make communication and ministry easier for a congregation on the go.

The content management system behind the app allows churches to add and update content in real time. And a master key allows for the creation of sub-ministry sections that can be assigned to a specific sub-ministry leader, so that there is accountability in communication.

But to really understand the value of Onseeker, watch this interview with Chad Herold of Underground, the college ministry of Second Baptist Church (Houston, TX).

Underground has been amazed at how much their students use the app, and they particularly love how Onseeker allows them to keep ministering to college students even when the students are gone for summer.

Best of all, Onseeker’s current pricing is the lowest I’ve seen for a church app thus far!

Special thanks to Onseeker for supporting Church Relevance by sponsoring this post.

Kent Shaffer

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I live in an RV with my wife and 2 kids and work with OpenChurch.com to help Christians collaborate and build a global Church library of free, open content.

6 responses to The Church App and the Next Phase of Internet Ministry

  1. Antoine RJ Wright May 7, 2012 at 6:38 am

    No, apps aren’t the future. Intelligent content management systems (for admins) and insight/recommendation engines (for congregants) would be the future. Even in this case, the app is just a delivery method for both of those sides of the content and community experience.

    I know it’s hard to see beyond the app discussion, but it’s what experiences apps and services drive which remain the future of church led and facilitated interactions in digital spaces. Doing an app and focusing there is merely sitting at the present day understanding of this (and yes, I know and understand the speed of change and adoption of tech in faith communities).

  2. Perfect timing! spch is evaluating options for building or finding an app for church.
    Thanks Kent!

  3. @Antoine RJ Wright
    Agree. “Intelligent” CMS is the key point.
    Still, its great to see the ideas.

  4. I agree in large part with @Antoine. Now that mobile browsers and responsive designs are standard we can serve up the same content to mobile devices without have to duplicate it.

    It looks like it will be a 3 platform race for the next forceable future, possibly four if RIM doesn’t die. Rather than developing for 3/4 separate platforms we need to think about the next step which delivers to 7 or 8 all in one swoop. And responsive technology and mobile data are key.

  5. This is a great concept but I have already seen this with applications like SoChurch.com. They seem to be doing the same thing. Competition is good, though. I think the faster and better we can communicate with others in the church, the more effective we can be.

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