What Is The Recipe For Building A Church Or Ministry App
Many people want to build an app for various reasons. In this article we’ll give you a run down of how to build an app for your Church or Ministry in our system, including what are the best features to use in our system for your app!
Decide Which Feature You Want To Use As Your Home Screen
Before you can start building your app, you need to start with a home screen feature. The home screen feature is the first thing that users see when they open your app. Some of the most widely used home screen features are:
The Folder Feature
The Folder feature is the most used feature in our system. It helps you organize your app with the ability to house folders within other folders thus allowing you to quickly and easily decide on a layout for your app.
The Action Items Folder Feature
The Action Items Folder is similar to the regular folder in how it’s used to house the features of your app, but if you’re looking for something with a different look than any of the layout options of the regular Folder feature, then this may be the feature for you.
The Catalog & Promote Folder Feature
The Catalog & Promote Folder allows you to promote key entries in it by adding a badge next to an item and you have the option to send out a push notification when promoting an item.
The Grid Layout Launcher Feature
The Grid Layout Launcher feature allows you to display the other features in your app in a grid. While you have less layout options than the Folder feature, using a grid layout is a tried and true method for providing navigational options for your users.
How To Create An Instance Of A Feature And Assign It As Your App’s Home Screen Feature
Once you’ve decided on which feature you’re going to use as your app’s home screen you’ll need to create an instance of that feature and assign it as your app’s Home Screen. Here’s how to do this:
How To Create An Instance Of A Feature
Step 1: Go to the Feature Marketplace
Step 2: Locate the Feature that you want to use
You can either scroll through all of the features available in the Marketplace, or search for the feature you want to use.
Step 3: Click “Add”
Step 4: Give it a Title and click “Add” again
How To Assign A Feature As Your Home Screen Feature
Once you have decided on the feature that you’d like to use as your home screen and have created an instance of it, here’s how to assign it as your home screen feature:
Step 1: Click on the Hamburger Menu at the right of the Feature Content Editor
Step 2: Select “Set As Home Plugin”
Build Out Your App By Adding Additional Features
Now that you’ve assigned a feature as your Home Screen feature, you’ll need to build out your app using additional features found in our system so that your users can have a more complete app experience. Here’s some features in our system that we recommend you use:
Features To Help You Organize Your App
As we mentioned earlier, Folders are a great way to help keep your app organized. With the ability to house folders within folders, we recommend that you use either the Folder, Action Item Folder, or Catalog & Promote Folder features to organize your app.
You can use the Folder features to layout different areas of your app such as Ministries, Sermons, Campus Information, and Social Media links.
Features To Help People Get To Know You
One of the main purposes of a church or ministry app is to help your attendees both new and old get to know you better. With our People feature you can provide your members with information about your staff and pastoral team, as well as the different ministries that you currently run. This not only allows you to provide information such as a pastor’s ministry history, but you can also include fun facts about them, as well as their contact information for users who’d like to get in contact with that pastor.
You can also use the Contact Us feature as an “About Us” feature that provides users with information about your church, your church’s contact information, as well as your physical location. You can also use this feature for ministry or night-specific events such as worship nights.
Some churches are large enough to have more than one location, and if your church has multiple locations, then we encourage you to check out the Places 2.0 feature which gives you the ability to show your users where all of your satellite locations are, as well as your main church location which directions and contact information for each location You can also use this feature to provide church members with the locations of the small groups and other ministries that you hold throughout the year.
Features For Sermons And Your Church’s Other Content
Another one of the main purposes of your church or ministry app is to provide people with quick and easy access to your organization’s content such as that week’s sermon or worship songs. There’s a number of features that you can use, some of the ones that we recommend are:
The Seminar & Lecture Notes feature is one of the most widely used features in church apps built in our system. With it you not only can give users access to that week’s sermon audio or video, but you can also include talking points and questions for small groups, and it gives the user the ability to bookmark their favorite sermons as well as add their own personal notes to those sermons all in-app. You can also use this feature to offer devotionals and lesson series that you can offer for free, or for an additional fee in the form of in-app purchases and subscriptions.
Another option is the Media Center Manual feature which allows you to include multiple types of media in one feature. These can be anything from announcement videos, podcasts, or worship songs. If your church or pastor has a blog with an RSS feed, you can use the Media Center RSS Feed feature to bring those blog posts into your app.
Along with the Media Center Manual and RSS Feed features, you can use the YouTube and Vimeo features to bring your online videos into your app if you have accounts for those pages. These are perfect if you offer video sermons or other video content throughout the week.
Another feature that we’ve seen used a lot is the WebView to give users access to the Bible by bringing in a version from either Bible.com or Bible Gateway. This is perfect for those who are on the go but want to still be able to quickly look up a passage while in your app.
Another feature that you may want to use is the Flashcards feature which allows you to create flashcards in your app. This can be used in a number of different ways such as providing Bible verses for your Sunday School classes or Life Groups to memorize, or you can use it to give your Life Groups weekly questions or talking points to go over when they meet.
Features To Help Increase Fellowship In Your Congregation And Community
With the Premium Social Wall you can give your church members a way to post prayer requests to a prayer wall as well as use it to help encourage discussion about that week’s message throughout the week or give live groups an easy way to talk with each other on the days that the groups don’t meet.
If your church’s staff want a more private way of collecting prayer requests, you can use either the TypeForm, JotForm, or Google Forms features to allow your church members to submit prayer requests anonymously and those forms will be sent to an email address that only authorized church staff will have access to.
You can also give church attendees the ability to schedule meetings with your church staff if they want to talk in-person about what’s happening in their lives in a private and confidential matter. The best feature to use for this is the Calendly feature which gives you the ability to give your users access to your staff’s Calendly calendars.
During the year your church or ministry will have special events such as serve days, or monthly baptisms. With the Events Feed and Events Manual features you can tell people about your upcoming events as well as give them the ability to add those events to their own personal calendars on their phones.
As you have events throughout the year you can use the Image Gallery to show people what goes on during your events which can be a great way to encourage higher and more regular attendance numbers.
Along with these great features you can also showcase your social media pages with our social media features. You can use the Facebook feature to point your attendees to your Facebook page. You can also use our Twitter feature to point your attendees to your Twitter feed and our WebView feature to point your attendees to your Instagram. You can also use the Folder feature as a “Social Media” folder to house all of these features within so that when your app’s users tap on that folder they’ll be brought to all of your social media features.
You can also use the Share App feature to give your users a way to share your app with their friends and family which is a great way to organically grow your user base and encourage people to check out your church or ministry!
You Can Collect Tithes and Donations In Your App
Most churches and non-profit organizations rely on donations in order to stay running. These can be in the form of regular tithes and offerings, or periodic singular donations. With the WebView feature you can send users to your donation page where they can give to your organization. This is perfect for those who can’t always attend each week but still want to give their regular tithe or for those who want to make donations towards your missionary fund or building and maintenance costs.
Note: in order for your app to be in compliance with Apple and Google’s current app store guidelines, you’ll need to make sure that the WebView is set to “Device’s Default Browser”. Otherwise there’s a chance that your app will be rejected and you’ll be asked to make this change.
Assign Your Most Important Features To Your App’s Side Menu
For your most important features, we encourage you to add them to your app’s Side Menu as well for ease of access for your users. Here’s how you can make those features accessible in the Side Menu:
Step 1: Go To The Side Menu Page Found Under The Design Tab
On the left-hand side of the App Dashboard you’ll see a menu with a couple of options, the “Design” tab being one of them. Click on that to expand it then click on “Side Menu” to access the Side Menu’s controls:
Step 2: Click On “Add Existing Feature” In the “Menu” Section Of The Side Menu Page
Clicking on “Add Existing Feature” will bring up a list of all of the features that you’ve built for your app. Select the feature that you want to add to the side menu by selecting the feature and clicking “Apply”.
This will add these features to your app’s Side Menu so that users can quickly and easily access them as they’re shopping in your app.
You Can Offer In App Purchases And Subscriptions For Premium Content
Along with collecting tithe and donations in your app, if you are running a non-profit ministry, and you’d like to to offer some premium content within your app such as new devotional series or exclusive messages and sermons, you can offer this content for a price using in-app purchases or subscriptions.
This allows you to lock that content behind a paywall which can be a great way to establish a recurring revenue from your app. If you would like to learn more about how to set these up, we encourage you to check out our article on how to turn your app into a revenue stream.
Note: In order to take advantage of in-app purchases or subscriptions, you will need to be on our Professional or Enterprise level plans.
Congratulations! You know have all of the steps needed to build an app for your Church or Ministry! Still have questions? No problem! Reach out to us and we’d be happy to help!