I remember the first cell phone I ever saw. It was about as big as a loaf of bread! I was so envious of my pastor friend who had the ability to be in instant contact with his church. Though each call cost an arm and a leg he could still be accessible even when he was traveling. I wanted one! I thought I needed one and I just had to have one. The problem was getting the Finance Committee of my church to see this not as a toy but as a necessary means of communication. Ultimately we purchased a mobile phone and did use it.
At the time if you would have told us that a day would come when people would send communications to one another on their phone, do their calendar and scheduling on their phone and even pay their bills on their phone no one would have believed you. Then if you would have stated that the phone would fit in your pocket they would have really thought you were completely nuts. Fast forward twenty plus years and the phone in your pocket has more power and storage than the early computers that took up a whole room. Times have changed.
We live in the Smartphone Era. It has changed the way we do everything. From email, to bill pay to finding the closest Starbucks we do everything with our phones. Oh, and we still talk to people on them too.
Since smartphones are the predominate tool for communications today wouldn’t it be smart for churches to have a Smartphone Strategy? Smart churches are prepared for the smartphone era. Here is my Smartphone Strategy recommendations…
Have an up to date web site that is not only informational but interactive. Smart churches have moved away from their websites simply being an extension of the Sunday morning bulletin and instead actually being a workable site that members continuously engage in and go to. How up to date and useful is your site?
Make sure your church website is set up for mobile viewing. More and more people are accessing the Web through their smartphones and iPads. If your site is not mobile friendly they will not stay long on the site. Also, if it is not mobile friendly search engines will not list your church high on a search of churches in your area. Is your site mobile?
Set up Social Media sites to tell the story of your church. Facebook is the front porch of America. Your church can easily tell the story of what you are doing through Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter. What is more they are free tools to get your message out. Are you using Social Media effectively to tell your story?
Have an App that makes connecting to all your platforms easy. With the rise of the smartphone comes the rise of Apps which is short for applications. An App allows your members to easily connect with all your sites. A good app also allows you to communicate more effectively at short notice with your members. Does your church have a workable App?
Have an online giving platform. The world is moving away from cash and checks. More and more people are using their smartphones to purchase products and pay bills. Online giving is on the rise. Before long the traditional offering plate will be a thing of the past. The future of online giving is now not in the future. Do you have online giving set up?
I wish I could say that the church is on the cutting edge of all this. The reality is that we are behind. Only 14% of churches in America for instance offer online giving. Continually when I talk to churches about this need I get that glassed over look. We are behind and desperately need to catch up if we are to have any chance to reverse the decline in giving to the church in America.
The Smartphone Era is here. Is your church set up to connect with the people of this era? Smart churches are prepared for the smartphone era. Are you?
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions
PS. To meet the demand of churches needing to be prepared to connect with the Smartphone Era I started Charis Giving Solutions. You can find out more by going to http://charisgivingsolutions.com/