Thanks for choosing Buildfire. In this video, I’ll show you how to build our your church app using our Church Template.
To start, make sure that you select the Church Template on our signup screen. This insures that your app will already come with the features necessary to have a well-rounded Church app. Once you’re done signing up, you’ll be taken to the control panel, also called the CP. This is where you’ll be building out your app. If you need any help, feel free to check out our help section here or send us a message by clicking on the question mark icon in the bottom right hand corner. For more information on how to build our your app, please watch our System Overview Video here.
Now let’s start!
Over here, you’ll notice a slideshow of images in your app’s emulator. You can change this to feature your photos under Home Plugin. Just click the red X to delete the stock photos, and Add Image to upload yours. Design is where you can change the Background Image as well as the design of your home plugin. This all depends on your personal taste and what kind of app design you’d like to have. Whenever you want to go back to the home screen of your app, just click on Home Plugin in the sidebar and it’ll take you straight back.
Let’s move onto the meat of our platform — plugins. Plugins are what we call the features that you can create and insert into your app. Whether it’s listening to music, chatting with other users, filling out forms, scheduling appointments — we have a plugin for it. The default plugins for your Church app is displayed on the Home Plugin under Plugin Instances. To access any of these plugins, simply click on it in your emulator. It will take you to that plugin to make any changes you see fit.
The first plugin here is This Week, which is a Folder Plugin. You’ll notice a lot of the plugins on the Home Plugin are folder plugins because they’re great for organizing other plugins. This Week is meant for you to update weekly with your church’s events that week. Most of these are Text WYSIWYG Plugins, which let you insert basic text and images. Tithes and Offerings is a WebView plugin, which lets you link in an external website. Use this plugin if you have an online platform to accept tithes and offerings. By no means is any of these plugins mandatory to keep. If you’d like to delete any of them, simply click on the red X here.
Now let’s go to Sermons. This space is for you to insert in your Sermons. We have a Text Plugin at the top here dedicated to the Sermon that will be held that day, which you can fill out with the relevant passages and comments.
Below that plugin are Media Center Manual Plugins that are meant as archives of all past sermons. The Media Center Manual Plugin allows you to insert videos and audio of your sermons to be displayed in an organized manner. To edit one, simple click on any of these Sermons and make the changes directly into this space over here. You can also change the design of how your Sermons are displayed under the Design tab.
Under Sermons is Take Sermon Notes, which is one of our newest plugins: Seminar and Lecture Notes. This plugin allows users to take and save personal notes on your sermon. This allows your users to interact with your Sermons in a whole new way. As you can see from our example items, you can use this space to put in a summary of your Sermon that your members can take notes on. To add a new Sermon to edit, click Add New Item, then go about filling out your Sermon’s content here. Another cool part about this plugin is that you can also link in additional resources. These can be external, like outside websites and links, or internal. If you have, say, an audio or video recording of your Sermon elsewhere in your app (like in the Media Center Manual Plugin titled Sermons), then you can put a shortcut to it in here by clicking on Add Link then selecting Link to App Content in the dropdown menu.
Now let’s move onto the Donate section. This is a Folder plugin with three plugins: General Fund, MIssions, and Tithes and Offerings. You might remember that this plugin is also available under the This Week plugin. This isn’t a problem, in fact we encourage you to find multiple places to add your plugins if it seems logical to organize them that way. This helps your users find and access your content in different places. These three plugins are all WebView Plugins, designed to let you link to an external payment website. All you have to do is copy and paste in the link here and click Validate.
Home Groups is our Places Plugin. This plugin allows you to insert all of your Home Groups’ locations and meetup information. We’ve split them up into 4 categories: Home Groups, Families, Young Adults, and Youth. If one of these is not applicable to your church, just click the red x down here to delete it. If you click on All Items, then any Home Group image, you’ll see an example of how these are set up. You can put in an image, a summary, some more details, the address title, address, and links. Links are basically shortcuts. You can link to anything else in your app, an external website, and social media. You can even link to your phone, text messaging, or email apps to make phone calls and send texts and emails. Clicking map on this page gives you a visual representation of all of the home groups. Filter lets you sort them to find a home group quickly and easily.
Bible is a WebView plugin we’ve created that already links to an online bible for your convenience. If there is another bible that you’d like to link to instead, feel free to insert the link into this field here.
The Prayer Wall is a Social Wall Plugin, which gives your users a space to chat with one another. We created this space specifically for members of your church to send each other prayers. If anyone ever misuses your Prayer Wall, you can simply ban them with the Ban User option or delete their post with the Delete Post option.
Devotionals is a Media Center RSS Feed. You can simply insert any RSS Feed into this field here and click Validate to have it appear in your feed. Use this space to highlight an RSS Feed you have dedicated to Devotionals.
Under the Events Folder Plugin, you’ll find 3 other plugins: Announcements, General Calendar, and Youth Calendar. These 3 plugins demonstrate 3 different ways to create events in your app. Announcements is a series of Folders and Text Plugins, which can be quickly and manually edited, since announcements generally are always changing.
General Calendar is an Events Feed Plugin, which lets you link in any calendar feed. If you already have a Google Calendar or iCal that has all of your Church events, then this is the perfect place to put it! For more information on how to do that, simply click the Help button in the right hand corner here.
Youth Calendar is an Events Manual Plugin. This plugin isn’t an automatic feed like the Events Feed Plugin. Instead, you manually create, edit, and delete events from within the plugin itself. Create events by clicking on Add New Event and delete them by clicking on the red X. They’ll appear in your emulator as you create them.
About Us is a Folder plugin dedicated to introducing your users to your church and what you’re all about! Times and Locations is the Contact Us Plugin, which gives them the location of your church, some basic information, and an option to contact you. This plugin is set up in a similar fashion to our Places plugin, so you’ll notice some similarities here. You can enter your address in this field and add links to contacting you by clicking on Add Contact Information.
Meet Our Staff is our People Plugin, which was built as a way to introduce your team members and leaders to your app users. Tapping on these Profiles will take you to the page where you can edit them. Input your staff members’ picture, name, position, and bio here. You can also add their contact information by clicking on Add Contact Information. Under the Design tab, you can change the way the profiles are laid out, as well as how the individual profiles are displayed.
Campus Locations is a Places Plugin, like the Home Groups section. If your church has multiple locations, use this section to feature all of them.
Social Media is a Folder Plugin that includes three of our social media Plugins: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They’re just like our WebView Plugin — just copy and paste in the link to your social media profile, click validate, and you’re ready to go. If you have other social media pages that we don’t have available as a plugin, don’t fret. You can simply create a WebView Plugin and then insert a link to your social media profile page.
Now you’re all set with the basic structure of your church app! As always if you have any question, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out Buildfire University. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time.