Remembering Billy Graham

We were deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Billy Graham this morning. Rev. Graham was a faithful teacher, pastor, and friend to countless people. He preached the good news of Jesus to more people than anyone else in history. It is estimated that nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries heard the gospel through his public meetings and crusades, and hundreds of millions more through television, radio, and the internet. 

There are few people who haven't been impacted by Billy Graham's teaching. Glenn Reph gave his life to Jesus at a Billy Graham Crusade in 1963. Glenn would go on to faithfully lead major companies in the payment processing industry, pastor multiple churches, and join us here at Subsplash as the Vice President of Finance, all with Jesus at the center of his life. "My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God," said Rev. Graham. The ripple effect of his faithful work is unquantifiable.  

As his health was fading, Billy Graham gave the exhortation, “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” While we mourn the passing of a faithful leader, teacher, and friend, we rejoice knowing that he is now face to face with the one he loved so deeply, free from pain, suffering, and strife. His legacy will impact and inspire many generations to come.

To listen to some of Rev. Graham's sermons, check out the Billy Graham Association app.

Client Spotlight: Hillside Community Church

Nestled at the base of Angeles National Forest, Hillside Community Church serves about 3,000 people from the surrounding Inland Empire of Southern California. The church was planted 35 years ago, with many founding members still in attendance. Today, they serve a wide demographic of people with an increasing number of young families. We chatted with Ryan Hubbard (Graphic Designer) and Morgan Nottingham (Project Coordinator) to learn more about Hillside’s communication strategy and how they utilize the Subsplash Platform.

Back To The Drawing Board

With an increasing focus on reaching the younger generations, Hillside Community Church decided to go to the drawing board and find the best solutions for using both their app and their website. “We did a lot of surveying to find out how many people used an electronic Bible, how many people took notes on their phone, and essentially how many people interact with digital content while in church,” said Morgan. After collecting all the data, Ryan, Morgan, and the rest of the team at Hillside made the decision to use the church website as an external tool, and have their app be primarily for internal use - the one place people could go to stay connected to the life of the church. “We didn’t create the app with the hope of using it to provide all the same information that’s on our website,” said Morgan. “We wanted it to help us connect with our church, encourage them to read the Bible, watch media, and share our content with them.” If you download Hillside’s app, you will find sermons, events, giving, a custom Bible-reading plan, and more content tailored to regular attenders, while the website showcases content that is more relevant to visitors and first-time guests. “We had to consider ways to make our communication go beyond Sundays. The app is the way we communicate with our community Monday-Saturday,” said Morgan.

The Results

Hillside’s new strategy saw an increase in engagement both in the app and on the web. Ryan and Morgan said that about 33% of new visitors on Sunday indicated that they heard about the church through the website or social media. Additionally, app usage has steadily increased by 20% year over year, with an average of 800 sermon plays each month. When the church decided to run a financial campaign to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, they purposely made the option to donate to that fund available solely through Subsplash Giving in the app. In three weeks, $71,000 was raised. All who donated were set up with a new Subsplash Giving account, making it easy to set up recurring donations when they returned to the app. The church also saved roughly $20,000 by adding their Sunday bulletins to the app and cutting back on printing. This simple yet calculated strategy has not only helped Hillside save money, but put relevant information in front of the people who need it most. Those who are looking for a church can easily find the information they need where they are most likely to search for it, and once they attend a service, they can easily stay connected by keeping up with the app.

Full Speed Ahead

Implementing a new communication strategy can sound like a daunting task, so we asked Ryan and Morgan what that was like for Hillside. “A huge part of our success [in moving forward with digital content] comes from our senior leadership believing in the value of digital and social interaction,” said Morgan. “We know that the younger generation is the future of our church, and we found that that generation is much more dependent on electronic devices.” In addition to catering to the younger generation, Hillside made sure that everyone in the church knows where to go to get the content they need. “Our Senior Pastor talks about the app from the stage,” said Ryan. “We wanted to make sure we communicate that it’s ok to use your phone in church, and that the app is where to go to stay connected.” Hillside’s congregation is certainly enjoying the benefit of having one place to go to stay connected, and so is the church staff. “The biggest thing for us is that we positioned ourselves in a way so that we are only using one tool,” said Ryan. And that tool has helped more people in the Inland Empire hear the good news of Jesus’ saving grace.     

Your Media, Everywhere

If you’ve been using the Subsplash Platform for any period of time, you’re probably familiar with our Media Library and the ability to publish your sermons everywhere with just one click (Sound unfamiliar? Check out this video). But did you know that the Subsplash Platform also helps you expand the reach of your media content beyond just apps and websites? There are many ways you can take your media presentation to the next level, and each one is easily attainable with just a few clicks in the Subsplash Dashboard. Let's dive in.

Smart Speakers

Do you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home, or other smart speaker at your house? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just say “Alexa, play last week’s sermon”? Good news: you can do that! Echo and Google Home have the ability to pull feeds from your favorite podcasts on TuneIn. Don’t have a podcast on TuneIn yet? No worries; it’s actually quite easy to set up. One of the many advantages of using the Subsplash Media Library is the ability to generate podcast feeds. With just a couple clicks, you can create a podcast feed from right inside the dashboard. Simply drop that link into your TuneIn account, and boom…you’re all set. Now your community can listen to sermons with one simple ask.

Apple Watch

Subsplash Apps are fully supported on Apple Watch. If your community has your app on their phone, they can easily access it on their Apple Watch as well. This is especially important for those of you who are utilizing push notifications (and if you aren’t, you should be! Check out this blog to learn more). Push notifications already receive significantly higher open rates than emails, and having the options to receive a notification on both your phone and your Apple Watch provides even more opportunity for increased visibility.

Roku

According to TechCrunch, over 37% of home streaming devices in the US are Roku devices. We’ve already tackled Apple TV and Chromecast, and Roku is up next! In the coming weeks, Subsplash apps will be fully supported on Roku, which opens up a new realm of options for home streaming and increasing your engagement. We are excited to add Roku to our list of supported platforms, and we will be sharing more details about that in the coming weeks. In the meantime, ask us about getting your app on AppleTV and Chromecast!

You already have your media displayed on your app and website. Now it’s time to present it everywhere else! Most people in your community probably have at least one of the devices listed above. Having your media content available in these spaces is not just about utilizing the latest new gadget. Rather, it’s about increasing engagement. Smart speakers, smart watches, and home streaming devices are just a few ways that people are presently engaging with content, and having a presence in those spaces creates more opportunities for people to engage with the gospel. If you would like some more tips for maximizing the exposure of your media, our team of Client Success Managers would love to help you! Give us a call today at 206-965-8090.

Client Spotlight: Church of the City

In 2015, a church plant called Church of the City merged with People’s Church in Nashville, TN. Over the last three years, the new church has grown exponentially, totaling over 6,000 people across four campuses in the Nashville area, and two more in New York. Keep reading to learn how they were able to migrate to Subsplash Giving, keep their internal database intact, and experience a significant increase in generosity.

Integration.

With such a large reach (and a large population of millenials in their congregation), Church of the City knew they had to so something to make giving easy, and without making major changes to their internal database. “We needed something that was more user friendly and available on mobile, and part of the attraction to Subsplash Giving was that they offered that and integrated with Church Community Builder ”, says Diane Dawson, the Systems Administrator at Church of the City. “We were anxious to have an opportunity for people who were sitting in the pews on Sundays and wanted to give right there and then….an option that didn’t require having to wait to go home to their laptop to give.” Subsplash Giving’s simple interface and direct integration with CCB proved to be the best fit for Church of the City, and they were able to switch giving providers and keep their CCB database intact. Fortunately for Diane, she didn’t have to figure out how to do that alone.

 

Dedicated Support.

Every Subsplash client gets paired with a dedicated Client Success Manager to help them get the most out of the Subsplash Platform. Joel DeJong has been working closely with Diane and the rest of the team at Church of the City, and their partnership has helped Church of the City make a smooth transition to the Subsplash Giving platform. “I don’t have a background in databases or finance, so I am learning as I go,” says Diane. “Joel has been so helpful with the process. He walks me through each step of the way and whenever I encounter something I am unsure of, he is there to help me find a solution. What I really like is that I have a designated person that can help me every time. I am not just directed to whoever is available...I always know I can call Joel for help.” Diane and Joel were able to work together find the best way to implement Subsplash Giving for Church of the City. They set up different funds for each church location, and separate donation causes within each fund for things like missionary support, disaster relief, and more. All of the donor information gets directly funneled into CCB every Monday morning with just a few clicks. This has helped make giving easier for the congregation without causing any headaches for Diane and the rest of the finance team.

 

Growth.

Once Church of the City switched to Subsplash Giving, they had to get their donors on board. “It was pretty simple,” says Diane. “We just announced it from the stage the first few weeks and showed people how to give through the app right there in church, and they ate it up. We still have some people who give cash and checks, but a majority of our giving comes through online and mobile.” In 2017, Church of the City saw a 30% increase in overall giving, which helped them pay off $7 million on their buildings and become completely debt-free. As the church continues to grow, Diane and the rest of the team are excited to have a system in place that makes giving simple. “What we love about Subsplash Giving is that it’s not complicated and that’s what we needed.”

New App Layouts Coming Soon

You asked for it. We told you we were building it. And now it’s here! We are excited to announce that new app layouts will soon be available to all Subsplash clients. We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting this new feature, and we are excited to provide you with even more options for customizing your app. Here’s a sneak peek of what will be possible with these new layouts:

layout mockup.jpg

What's new?

We know that you go through great efforts to create awesome content, and these new layouts will give you more options to present that content in a fresh, inviting way, creating a more unique experience for your community. You now have the ability to customize your experience on a deeper level, as these new list layouts can be set up in many ways....each item displayed on the screens above could be configured to house a media item, event, list, giving page, you name it! 

Want to change your app's layout? No problem. You can easily toggle between each layout option in the dashboard. Just one click gives your app a fresh new look. And if you want to change it back to one of the classic designs, that can happen in just one click, too! Check out Passion Movement's app to see this new update in action.

 

It's all in the details

We're taking customization to the next level, providing you with the ability to control even the smallest details in your app. Want to choose what image size is presented? Wish you could edit the side margins? Want to decide whether your text is displayed over your image, below your image, or not at all? Good news: you can do all of those things. Your app will be uniquely yours, and you can make it that way with just a few clicks.

We'll be going live with this feature update very soon... be on the lookout for a dashboard update letting you know that your new layouts are ready. We can't wait to provide you with more ways to customize your content!