Don’t look now, but the season of colorful leaves, chilly mornings, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes is right around the corner. We’re trying not to think about that too much (it’s tough to beat summer in the Pacific Northwest), but the reality is that fall is fast approaching us. If you are a pastor or church leader, then chances are you are probably in the thick of ramping up for fall. And you should be - fall is a great time of year to launch new initiatives in your church. With the school year starting and summer vacations coming to a close, many people are looking to settle down and start new habits for the next handful of months. Your app can actually play a huge role in helping your church launch new fall initiatives. Let’s take a look at how you can capitalize on welcoming visitors, launching new small groups, and encouraging giving this fall:
Welcoming new visitors
With people settling in after summer vacations, you can probably expect to see some new visitors on Sunday mornings this fall. Hopefully your pastors and greeting team are on top of connecting with visitors, but even with the best plan and intentions, some new people may fall through the cracks. Getting your app in the hands of these visitors can help them take next steps in getting connected to your church. Here are a few things to make visible in your app that can help new visitors feel welcome:
Children’s ministry information/check in
The goal here is to provide relevant information with actionable steps in a welcoming manor. To see an example of a church that is knocking it out of the park with this, check out our friends at South Community Church in Oklahoma.
Promoting small groups
Small groups play a key role in discipleship, accountability, and fostering community. Your church probably has some form of small groups already set up, and fall is a great time to get people connected to those groups. Your app can play a huge role in facilitating this. Most churches like to put a plug for small groups in their Sunday service, and often times, that plug is usually made in conjunction with a slide that says something like this:
Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this method. First, it is not an immediately actionable item. This requires everyone to go home, get on their computer, and remember all of these steps. The likelihood of someone remembering all of that (especially after grabbing post-church lunch with friends or taking the kids to the playground) is pretty slim. Additionally, this process could take a long time. Many people (especially millennials) will probably view these “four easy steps” as four difficult barriers. This is where your app can come to the rescue. By putting all of your small group information in the app, your congregation can take action immediately. Your pastor can even walk everyone through how to download the app and sign up for a small group while on stage. Boom. Now everyone knows how to join a group and has the opportunity to get connected right from their seat in church.
Has your church seen a dip in giving over the summer months? If you have, don’t fret! The work you do this fall can set you up for long-term success, even into next summer. Just like serving in the church and getting connected to a small group, giving is a part of discipleship. Empowering your congregation to be generous helps them participate in this act of discipleship, and it helps your church plan for the future. One way to empower your congregation to be generous is simply by providing them with a simple, easy to use platform for mobile giving. The churches we work with that encourage mobile giving typically see at least a 5% increase in generosity, with many even surpassing 10%. You can place a “give” button anywhere in your app, so people who are watching sermons, reading new material, or signing up for small groups have the opportunity to give right there. Another way to encourage generosity is by promoting recurring gifts. A recurring gift takes away the potential for someone to forget their tithe (we’ve all been there), and also provides your church with a clearer financial forecast. Pro tip: Save your church money by encouraging recurring gifts via bank transfer instead of credit/debit card….bank transfers cost a fraction of the processing fees for cards!
One thing we want to make clear is that your app is not a silver bullet. We like to say around here that the app does not replace relational discipleship, but it helps facilitate it. These tips do not replace all of your technology, nor do they replace the relational work your team is doing on a daily basis. But the app can certainly help make those things easier and remove some technological barriers for your congregation. If you would like some more tips about ramping your app up for the fall, we would love to help you. Our team of Client Success Managers can work with you one on one to develop a strategy that is tailored to your ministry. Feel free to give us a call at 206-965-8090.