Last month, the Association of Related Churches (ARC) launched an app with Subsplash on the eve of their biggest conference of the year. ARC, an association of over 400 churches, provides resources and support to church planters and other church leaders. “Our primary goal for the app is to make it easier than ever for our church planters to stay connected to the ARC community,” says Guy Walker, ARC Marketing and Development Coordinator.
During the conference the app proved invaluable: “The new ARC Churches app was the perfect tool for our church planters at the All Access Conference,” explains Walker. “They were able to view the conference schedule and detailed information about speakers throughout the whole event.”
Because the Subsplash App Platform gives clients real-time control over their app, Guy and his colleagues were able to communicate last-minute schedule and event changes to attendees using the app. “At one point a speaker told everyone they could find her speaking notes in the app. This was a few seconds after we added them!” says Walker. “The ability to update on the fly has been amazing!”
We’re very excited to be partnering with ARC and many other great ministries. If you’re interested in planting a church, check out ARC’s free online training for pastors: “The 8 Keys to Effective Church Planting“.
For more information about developing an app with Subsplash, contact us!
Download the ARC Churches app here.
We’ve got great news! We have added a new operating system to The Church App Platform and we are now pleased to announce that you can extend your mobile app presence to Windows Phone and the Windows Phone Store!
Windows Phone is on pace to gain a significant segment of the smartphone market within the next few years. Trailing Android and iOS, the Windows Phone platform has been picking up steam and has nearly doubled its market share in just a few months! It has been receiving rave reviews from fans and critics alike. You may have seen the new Lumia 920 from Nokia as well as the HTC 8X. Both phones are stunning and demonstrate how Windows Phone presents content impressively.
Windows Phone. Seriously Awesome.
Vibrant: Windows Phone is vibrant, rich, and powerful. Your content will be presented in a bold new way.
Early advantage: Although there are already millions of users, there are relatively few apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace which means you have more of an opportunity to reach people by being one of the first to get your app published in the store.
Powerful and Beautiful devices: The Nokia Lumia 920 won Engadget’s Smartphone of the Year and Gizmodo’s Best Smartphone Camera.
We’re excited to announce that the Crossway Global Study Bible app is now live! “We’re absolutely thrilled to partner with Crossway again and to make God’s word more accessible through the Global Study Bible app,” says Matt Repucci, Subsplash head of Business Development. With an unparalleled reading experience, the Global Study Bible app integrates a seamless text of the entire Bible with easy access to study notes and articles. Available for iPhone and iPad, the app is one way that Crossway is fulfilling its vision for the Global Study Bible.
The vision behind the Global Study Bible is simple: to equip the global church with God’s word by distributing it to as many people as possible. “The Goal was to create the most inexpensive study Bible. So this way individuals could buy it, but individuals could also buy copies to send overseas,” explains Francis Chan (see the full video). “The whole point is that we’ve got to get the word of God into people’s hands.” To this end, Crossway launched the Buy One, Give One Campaign: for every copy of the Global Study Bible purchased in North America, Crossway will provide a copy to someone in need.
With an unparalleled reading experience, the Global Study Bible app integrates a seamless text of the entire Bible with easy access to study notes and articles. “The reading experience is unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a Bible app,” says Repucci. Finding a verse is faster and easier than ever before, and over 20,000 reading notes based on Crossway’s best-selling ESV Study Bible provide Biblical and historical context.
Crossway is a not-for-profit publishing house, so when you purchase the app 100% of the proceeds will help Crossway reach their goal of distributing the Global Study Bible to 1 million people around the world. “It’s an honor to work with such a renowned and missionally-minded organization,” Repucci adds. “It’s our hope that the Global Study Bible app will help Crossway advance their mission and bless the global church.”
Download the Global Study Bible App for $9.99 in iTunes here.
Who is the average smartphone user? An American college student? A young professional in a big city? The answer might surprise you: the average smartphone user is most likely to be a middle-aged man in China.*
While apps may have originated with Apple in California and the first smartphone was invented by IBM, China currently dominates the market. In fact, the US market only accounted for 17.9% of smartphone sales in 2012, and growth is expected to be strongest in India, Indonesia, Russia and Brazil.** Smartphone users now reside around the world, and the international demand for apps continues to grow.
“We’re working with thousands of churches and organizations around the world, from South Africa to Brazil to Egypt” says Chris Sharpe, Media Director here at Subsplash. “It’s really exciting to have the opportunity to engage with the global church on a daily basis.”
Although one of the most noteworthy and impactful ideas of the 21st century, Facebook has lost some steam. A company built for moving life and interaction to internet browsers has not adapted as seamlessly with the mobile growth and culture that has occurred in just the last few years.
The biggest mistake Facebook has made (as acknowledged by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO) was hedging a bet against mobile apps. Predicting that apps were fleeting, and that we would eventually use our phones in the same capacity that we use our desktops, Facebook spent considerable time and effort on optimizing their website for mobile phones. There were a few problems. The multiple bugs that made the site repeatedly crash and painfully slow weren’t just a quick fix. Frustrations and numerous poor reviews by customers were more than Facebook could toss aside. In 2011 they made the decision to start over and build custom apps for each OS, in a move that changed the developing culture at Facebook.
It seems that everyone is talking about apps these days. A word once known more for its prowess at dinner parties has now become synonymous with mobile applications. With this craze, people everywhere are thinking, “hmm..maybe I should get an app for (insert creative thought here).” A word of caution, not all app ideas should be invested in and not every organization needs their own app. So how do you know if you should take this venture on, and if so, where do you start? The road of mobile development can be daunting, so it helps to plan well and to know where to start.
First off, there are many kinds of apps. For the sake of this conversation, I’m going to primarily focus on apps built for churches and ministries. For those looking to build an app for your organization, follow two simple rules: provide content and deliver quality. It needs to be done really well and it needs to have a reason for people to use it regularly.
If there is no reason for someone to download and then repeatedly want to use your app, it’s probably not going to be very successful. You need content, lots of fresh meaningful content. That’s one of the biggest reasons a lot of churches and ministries have had wildly successful apps.
If you’ve ever worked in customer service, you’ve probably heard of “The Disney Experience” or “The Disney Difference.” Many regard it as the superlative service benchmark; you can hear it invoked frequently across every spectrum of the service industry. But just like a trending buzz phrase, these Disney-esque ideas seem to propagate through the business landscape with little attention to context or detail. When attempting to emulate Disney magic, we’re often too easily satisfied with a vague notion of smiling faces and the way we felt on that trip to Disneyland. Notions of the ideal only get you so far. There’s an artful science behind the magic, and it applies whether you’re serving dinner, coffee, clothing, theme parks, or mobile app platform support.
Andy Stanley has quickly become one of the most sought after Christian speakers and preachers in America. Son of famous pastor Dr. Charles F. Stanley, Andy started North Point Community Church in 1995, which is now the second largest church in the US and provides teaching and influence to its congregations locally and more than 30 partner churches.*
With a growing demand and audience, it’s no surprise that Andy Stanley and the Your Move team have launched a new app providing relevant, helpful, and engaging content to help their audience make better decisions and live with fewer regrets. The core of the Your Move with Andy Stanley app is a 30 minute TV episode which airs locally after Saturday Night Live on seven NBC stations across the U.S., as well as via satellite on GMC and Daystar. From the app, which is now available on iPhone, Android and iPad, you can view streaming video content, subscribe to the Your Move with Andy Stanley podcast and newsletter, access TV and radio listings, sign up to receive free chapters of Andy’s books or songs from North Point artists, and easily get connected with the ministry or partner churches.
Here at Subsplash, we treat each new year much like each person does, with new goals, hopes and dreams. In terms of our software, we’ve spent the past year or so making sure our mobile app platform is world leading as a content management system and hosting solution. Our platform has become more flexible, more powerful, and has more options than ever before.
By God’s grace we’ve been able to make some big improvements to our software and are able to continue to focus on delivering quality products. One of our big additions over the past year was improving our world class encoding solution to make sure our videos perform flawlessly and to ensure the experience is as simple as possible for our clients. We have also added some incredible hosting solutions that ensure superb playback for media files and have redundant backups. There’s quite a bit more that has been added on the backend, from more robust analytics and artwork helpers, to some seriously technical things that we won’t get into now. We take pride in our work and want to ensure that our software allows each organization to have complete, “real-time” control over layout, features, artwork, content, and branding.
So, what’s our focus for the next year? It’s all about “delivering delight”, which is one of our core concepts here at Subsplash that ties back into our days as a design consultancy working with some of the most recognizable tech companies in the world. And it’s no surprise that this theme is our anthem for 2013 as we prepare to take our platform to new innovative frontiers that deliver delight to the millions of users of Subsplash apps! God has blessed us to have the opportunity to work with some incredible ministries proclaiming the name of Jesus worldwide, and it’s our duty to ensure this software is a compliment to those efforts.We hope you enjoy the many things to come, both this year and beyond.
Cheers to 2013!
2012 was a great year for us at Subsplash and for technology in general! One of the ongoing stories of the past year has been the incredible growth in the mobile market. There are more people than ever using smartphones, and it’s very clear that this trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon, although it currently only represents 1/6 of all mobile devices worldwide.
There are over 1.1B smartphone subscribers in the world today. The US is currently only second to China in mobile usage and experienced a 50% growth in 2012, but the real growth has taken place outside the US as mobile goes global. Several platforms and operating systems make up the smart phone realm, but far ahead of the rest is Android. Although talk of Apple and iPhones is often ubiquitous, Android growth was nearly 6x that of the iPhone in 2012.
With an ever changing landscape, tablets have to be taken into consideration on the mobile front as well. In the US, 29% of adults own a tablet of some sort, up from 2% less than 3 years ago. This past holiday season proved just how integral tablets are to people’s lives. Adults aren’t the only ones yearning for tablets, in fact 48% of American kids asked for an iPad for Christmas, which I’m sure lead to a lot of animosity toward Santa. Not only that, but mobile devices and tablets made up 24% of Black Friday shopping (which is still the US’s top single day for shopping revenues).
Mobile is changing how people live and the speed at which information is transferred. It won’t be long before most simple activities can be controlled from your smartphone, and we’re almost there. More than 84% of people worldwide say they can’t go a single day without their mobile device. Could you?
A few more mobile stats:
-1.1 B smartphones in the world
-45% of adults in US use smartphones
-Android makes up 52% of market
-Apple is 35% of market
-Android has had 25 Billion downloads… Apple hit that 6 months ago.
-More than $100 B was spent on mobile media globally
*All information was gathered from Mary Meeker’s presentation ” Internet Trends” which can be found at http://www.businessinsider.com/mary-meeker-2012-internet-trends-year-end-update-2012-12?op=1
It’s hard to believe that Christmas is here, and it’s almost the new year! 2012 has been an incredible year of blessings and growth here at Subsplash, and we couldn’t be more thankful!
We hope you had an amazing Christmas with your loved ones, celebrating the birth of our King.
Here at Subsplash, we are all about sharing what we’ve been learning from God and how we can expand his Kingdom. For me, I’ve been learning more and more about God’s love having been a dad for a little over a year now. When I first became a father, people kept asking me the big question; “How has this changed your life?”. Often times the question would come with a joke about sleep or maybe asking me if I better understood the love of God as a father. At first, I didn’t quite know how to answer the question. There is so much amazing emotion wrapped up in meeting your child for the first time. It’s just different than anything else on earth and I had nothing to compare it to.
As I began to reflect over the first few days and weeks of parenthood, this new reality began to reveal new truths about love, family, and God. How could this little person change everything and open new depths of my heart and soul? I’ve now been a father for about one year and it just keeps getting better. I would do anything for this little guy and I’m wired to protect him, serve him, comfort him, and give him my best each day.
Check out some other videos by The Church App on Vimeo!
As Thanksgiving fast approaches I have been trying to pause from the busyness of life to look for evidences of God’s grace and to see more clearly all of the reasons that I have to be thankful. One of the things that I am most thankful for is to be part of the amazing team at Subsplash. I have the opportunity on a daily basis to help equip churches with ministry tools that are being used to forward the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Lord around the world. I love serving His Church! To be completely transparent, one of the questions that has been a companion to my thankfulness is the question, “Why?”. Why Subsplash? Why The Church App? Why not full time vocational ministry? Why not church planting or missionary work? How do I know that what I’m doing, and even more importantly, what we’re doing here at Subsplash, is making an impact? The answer to that question is found in the pages of scripture:
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:16-20 ESV)
When Jesus Christ calls us to follow him, He calls us to be part of his family, part of His Church, and part of His Mission. The only question that remains is how do we play out our part in that mission? Should we all be full-time preaching pastors? Should we all be full time (paid) missionaries? Anyone who has attended Sunday school knows the answers to those questions. The Church is a body, with many parts, and many members and we all can’t and shouldn’t be doing the same thing. Finding out what it is that we should be doing, at an extremely practical level, becomes all about the gifts and opportunities that God has given us.
We currently have open positions for designers & developers (web & native) who love making great mobile apps. Submit your resume at subsplash.com/jobs. We would love to meet you!
When we first thought about creating a platform for churches to create their own apps, we wanted to make sure it was done right. Now, after over three years of development, our online Content Management System (CMS) that we call the App Builder has become an incredibly flexible, easy to use, online system that puts the church in full control. We still take care of everything from the code to publishing, analytics to tech support and consulting, but your church is in full control of everything else in real time.
So, here’s how it works. Basically, the manager of a church app can control the layout, artwork, features, content, tabs, icons, and much more within the app. Any change made will happen immediately and can be seen by all using the app – it’s pretty cool! There are a whole bunch of pre-set modules you can start plugging content into like the sermons tab, or you can create your very own custom tab to serve your unique needs. Let’s say you have a calendar tab within your app and decide to swap it out for a custom tab you’ve created for all of your ministries. That process involves simply logging in online and dragging and dropping in the new page. It’s that easy, not to mention that custom tab could include many unique things from web links, to extra media, blogs, contact info, and much more. You can even make a tab that has pages that take you to another page full of options and so on. Furthermore, you can rename tabs or change icons with ease. Our latest version of the Subsplash App Builder makes it easy to keep your app up to date with not only adding new content, but truly controlling the entire layout and feature offering within your app. The App Builder allows you to have a one click publish point to distribute your content to all of your apps across multiple Operating Systems (iOS, Android, etc).
We’re pretty excited about the App Builder and it’s flexibility. We’ve really focused on making it a great system that can be used by anyone, and want to couple that with our support team who is always there to help. We think churches deserve to not only have great technology to use for the Kingdom, but want to make sure they actually have control of it too!
If you’ve been searching for a mobile app with Christian insight for family and daily living, look no further – Dr. James Dobson’s Family talk has an app! Dr. Dobson’s ministry is built around helping families engage with one another and our culture through biblical principles. Now, they have made that content more readily available than ever…
More than 30 years ago, Dr. James C. Dobson set out to support and secure Christian values for families in today’s world. What began with a radio program on a few stations in 1977 grew into a global broadcast phenomenon that was heard on thousands of stations in North America and more than 160 countries worldwide.
Continuing to hear God’s call to ministry, National Radio Hall of Fame inductee, Dr. James Dobson now surges forward and continues his threefold passion of strengthening families, speaking into the culture and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. The centerpiece of the Family Talk ministry is the 30-minute radio broadcast, Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson strategically designed to reach the younger generation with a Judeo-Christian worldview of the family.
Launched in May of 2010 and aired on nearly 700 radio outlets, Family Talk also features Dr. Dobson’s son, Ryan, an ordained minister, bestselling author and host of his own show Grounded with Ryan Dobson. Executive Producer LuAnne Crane joins the Dobsons on the air and brings her extensive training, perspective, and a unique touch to the Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson show.
Now, anywhere you roam you can listen to the Family Talk daily broadcast and have access to all of Dr. Dobson’s archived programs. It’s America’s Family Counselor on-demand 24/7, when and where you need him! Use the App to view video commentaries, get answers to your compelling questions with our Solid Answers tool, connect with Dr. Dobson via social media and hear from the voices of Family Talk as the staff provides weekly insights on topics that concern you! It’s practical and inspirational family resources -absolutely FREE- and available for Android, iPhone, and iPad devices. Visit your App Marketplace to download today!
Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk App was created with The Church App Platform by Subsplash. Here at The Church App, we want to see the Gospel shared to the ends of the earth. We do this by creating high-quality, customizable mobile apps for churches and ministries.
Apple had a pretty big day last week. In standard Apple fashion, their mystery (not so much) press conference captivated the eyes and ears of millions of people – something they’ve become quite good at. From tech industry execs, to die hard Apple groupies, to Mrs. Peterson’s entire 8th grade classroom, to even your Grandmother, there weren’t many that didn’t know about the release of the new iPhone 5.
Although most were fairly certain that a new iPhone would be the jewel of this San Francisco conference, there was some speculation as to what it would actually be called. These doubts were put to rest, however, when Apple’s official acknowledgment of their announcement was a simple “September 12th” casting a shadow of the number 5. And just like their smooth hint at what was to come, the conference was pretty smooth itself.
When considering a mobile app for your organization, there are a million different directions that you can go in. Not only does this apply to the layout of your app and the features you choose to put inside, but it starts with who (or where) you decide to build your app. The first approach could be to build an app as inexpensively as possible - or for free. Although it's pretty incredible that you can do virtually anything these days for free, I think it's pretty safe to say that free doesn't always (usually never) mean well done. If you're on a tight budget, you might believe that something is better than nothing - but that is not necessarily the case. Your brand is closely associated with everything you put out there, so even the smallest of details should have a positive effect. With all of the technology at our fingertips these days, people don't just prefer quality, they expect it. If your app is designed poorly, has poor UX, or can't compete with other apps out there, there's a good chance it will get deleted - or forgotten. On the other end of the spectrum, you could easily pay upwards of $100,000 for a quality custom mobile app. Sure, it's going to look fantastic, but there aren't many organizations out there that actually need an app at this level. That's where we come in, the perfect sweet spot. Here at The Church App we believe in building quality, affordable, customizable apps. If you have the content, we would love to help you go mobile.
When considering a mobile app for your organization, there are a million different directions that you can go in. Not only does this apply to the layout of your app and the features you choose to put inside, but it starts with who (or where) you decide to build your app.
The first approach could be to build an app as inexpensively as possible - or for free. Although it's pretty incredible that you can do virtually anything these days for free, I think it's pretty safe to say that free doesn't always (usually never) mean well done. If you're on a tight budget, you might believe that something is better than nothing - but that is not necessarily the case. Your brand is closely associated with everything you put out there, so even the smallest of details should have a positive effect. With all of the technology at our fingertips these days, people don't just prefer quality, they expect it. If your app is designed poorly, has poor UX, or can't compete with other apps out there, there's a good chance it will get deleted - or forgotten.
On the other end of the spectrum, you could easily pay upwards of $100,000 for a quality custom mobile app. Sure, it's going to look fantastic, but there aren't many organizations out there that actually need an app at this level.
That's where we come in, the perfect sweet spot. Here at The Church App we believe in building quality, affordable, customizable apps. If you have the content, we would love to help you go mobile.
In the realm of technology there are a lot of terms and acronyms, it can get confusing. One fairly common question that we get is; "what is a CMS?". Well, that is a really good question. CMS stands for Content Management System and there can actually be a few different types. But for our purposes here at Subsplash, when we talk about a CMS, we are referring to online software that acts as one central place where you can control the content, publishing, and editing of your websites, apps, etc. Even something like Facebook is a limited CMS, a place to control your content on a page online. The beauty of a CMS is that it makes managing your end user software incredibly easy and you don’t have to know any code – which is a good thing! Here at Subsplash, we have created a CMS from the ground up to help churches and ministries very easily control the content, layout, features, and artwork of their mobile apps. You don’t have to deal with Apple or Android, you don’t have to know code, yet you still have complete control of your apps by simply plugging and playing online! We’ve built our system to give our users control of layout, features, artwork, and the content of their apps. You can make changes any time you want! If you ever have questions about Subsplash, The Church App, or technology in general, we are here to help!
In the realm of technology there are a lot of terms and acronyms, it can get confusing. One fairly common question that we get is; "what is a CMS?". Well, that is a really good question. CMS stands for Content Management System and there can actually be a few different types. But for our purposes here at Subsplash, when we talk about a CMS, we are referring to online software that acts as one central place where you can control the content, publishing, and editing of your websites, apps, etc. Even something like Facebook is a limited CMS, a place to control your content on a page online. The beauty of a CMS is that it makes managing your end user software incredibly easy and you don’t have to know any code – which is a good thing!
Here at Subsplash, we have created a CMS from the ground up to help churches and ministries very easily control the content, layout, features, and artwork of their mobile apps. You don’t have to deal with Apple or Android, you don’t have to know code, yet you still have complete control of your apps by simply plugging and playing online! We’ve built our system to give our users control of layout, features, artwork, and the content of their apps. You can make changes any time you want!
If you ever have questions about Subsplash, The Church App, or technology in general, we are here to help!
It’s easy to be a consumer. It’s easy to be selfish. No one’s perfect, right?
As a Christian it’s all too easy to take our Lord and Savior for granted. Finding new life in Christ has filled my heart with joy that I can share. Jesus laid down his life for me and it changed everything. It’s so incredible that I get to be in relationship with the maker of the universe who loves me, forgives me, and walks with me every moment of my life. But, none the less, it’s easy to find myself pursuing my own self interest before the Lord’s. We are called by the great commission to share the Lord’s name to the ends of the Earth. When’s the last time that you really took this to heart?
“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.” – Mark 16:15
Evangelizing can be uncomfortable. Being a child of Christ means that there are going to be people that dislike you (and your lifestyle). You can’t worship the Lord and also worship the world. If a question with a friend leads to awkwardness, what’s the worst that could happen? Awkward moments certainly won’t kill you, but sometimes it’s harder to live for Christ than to deny him. God puts us in people’s lives for a reason. If breaking through possible rejection to honor Jesus leads to them finding life in Christ, that’s absolutely worth it. Ultimately, we need to be Spirit-led and be open to see what Jesus sees.
What are some simple ways you can incorporate this commission into your everyday life? First off, you can pray about it. Pray that the Lord will give you the opportunity to share his good name with fellow Christians and unbelievers alike. This takes a little bit of courage, but that’s simply another opportunity where the Lord will provide.
The next step you can take is to practice, practice, practice! Step out of your comfort zone and put yourself in front of people that might benefit from your insight and your witness. Whether it’s by sharing some scripture that resonated with you, some praises you have for the Lord, or anything Gospel related, don’t be afraid to share!
“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” – Luke 12:8-12
So invite your neighbor to church, engage with a stranger on the bus, or just be available to answer questions for troubled minds. If you find your joy and delight in the Lord, wouldn’t you want everyone to have that same opportunity?
I’ve heard a number of baby-boomers mention how difficult it is to learn technology. They look at the younger generations, and seeing how familiar they are with new technology, they decide they must be wired differently. “It’s easy for kids because they’re born with the chip,” I’ve heard them say.
Being a member of this younger generation, I’ve had a lot of experience with technology; I’ve built computers, written software, and spent the past year working on the Support team at Subsplash (which means I answer lots of tech questions). I’m also aspiring to be a university physics teacher someday, so I eagerly look for better ways to explain difficult concepts, whether they’re in physics, technology, or elsewhere.
I recently read an article by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman in which he outlined what he considered to be the main difficulties students have in learning math. As I read, I noticed some interesting parallels between people I know who have difficulties with technology.
Have you ever found yourself trying to remember how you used to do things before you had your latest gizmo or piece of technology? For example, 95% of the news I read is through a mobile app on my phone. Before the app, I would visit websites every day and before that?… well, I guess I never was a big fan of printed newspaper or waiting around for the 11 o’clock local news. I’m amazed at how fast technology changes the way we do simple things. I’m sure my kids will laugh when I tell them about CDs, land line phones or even laptops!
Technology changes our daily life so quickly that we can’t remember the change even occurred. I’ve had computers around since I was in middle school, so I can’t really relate to working without email or the web, but somehow people got stuff done for thousands of years before that. I’m actually quite fascinated with how people used to do stuff, from keeping foods preserved to doing international business, and how we got to the place we are today.
The way we watch the Olympics has changed drastically over the last few years. Immediate satisfaction and consumption have become so commonplace in our culture that the element of surprise is hardly attainable anymore. If you were hoping to find out the results of an Olympic event while tuning in during prime time broadcasting you’d better hold your breath. Well, hold your breath, delete your Twitter and Facebook, and avoid the internet and people altogether.
The Olympics has been an event celebrated worldwide since its origin – an incredible display of patriotism, athleticism, and the perseverance of the human spirit. Advances in technology have made the Olympic games more accessible than ever. This accessibility is both incredible and a target for criticism.
This year’s Olympic broadcasting has received a considerable amount of criticism for NBC producers. Several issues involving time-delays have put the studio under fire – and their reactions to these criticisms have been less than favorable. From a US perspective, the 7-9 hour time difference has been less than ideal. This was evident almost immediately with their decision to time delay and edit the opening ceremonies. Fans were expecting to be able to see big events as they were happening, in addition to during the primetime spots, but it appears that the sentiment is not shared. Numerous outlets and individuals have mentioned their disappointment in NBC, but it’s also gone as far as reporter Guy Adams being suspended from his Twitter account for expressing unfavorable opinions about NBC (along with a head exec’s email address).
Remember when you had to follow a map to get where you were going? Remember when mobile phones were for actually making phone calls? Advances in technology have totally changed the way we do everyday life. Case in point: crowdfunding platforms i.e. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and many more. Although we don’t give these commonplace websites much thought or concern, it really is incredible what they’ve been able to accomplish. Going back to old ways of doing business, it used to be that funding was all about who you know, and now it’s quite literally who you’ve never met.
Regardless of your orientation as a journalist, entrepreneur, investor, artist, or educator, there is absolutely a project near and dear to your heart that just needs a little boost to get off the ground! These sites provide fundraising that help turn ideas and visions into realities. Not only is financial support provided, but also a community of supporters rooting on your cause and watching you achieve your goals!
The projects being created are incredibly diverse and range from bands fundraising to release an album, new inventions and products that need funding to get started on production, to worthwhile charitable causes, and much more. These websites are an incredible tool for raising awareness and bringing great ideas into the public eye.
This is part 5 in a series that highlights the added value of doing an iPhone/Android/iPad app for your church or ministry.
5: Sharing the Gospel
The most important aspect of The Church App, and the single reason that drives what we do, is bringing people closer to Jesus. Technology does not replace the personal connection aspect that is so needed in evangelism and discipleship, but it can be used as a tool to connect with people wherever they may be. It truly is incredible to have a tool that beautifully illustrates the Truth of Jesus and is easily accessible anywhere, anytime.
This is part 4 in a series that highlights the added value of doing an iPhone/Android/iPad app for your church or ministry.
4: Increasing Ease of Giving
Tithing is critical to a church’s health and well being. Using The Church App platform gives opportunity for giving in more ways than one. Since you can count on people bringing their smartphone to church and not always their check book, you can easily integrate with your current online giving solution via The Church App.
This is part 3 in a series that highlights the added value of doing an iPhone/Android/iPad app for your church or ministry.
3: Reducing Costs
Budgets are always difficult to deal with. Any opportunity for a church to cut expenses is a valuable one. Printing costs can be huge for churches, whether by printing out hundreds of bulletins, or the waste of brochures that may go unused. Being able to refer your congregation to your mobile application is not only a money saver, but much more convenient – and they can take it with them!
Here’s a quick review of the most measurable and attainable benefits of using The Church App: serving your current audience and community by making your content incredibly accessible, increasing reach and viewership, reducing costs, increasing donations, and most importantly helping people meet and grow with Jesus. Below* are real examples of these benefits from ministries that have experienced them.
Qualifying reasons abound for why your church can benefit from The Church App, but we’d like to share with you some quantitative info as well. We have been blessed to have the opportunity to build apps for some of the most influential churches and ministries out there. It’s exciting to see how God is using this technology for His Kingdom and we can’t help but want to share!
The most measurable and attainable benefits of using The Church App include: serving your current audience and community by making your content incredibly accessible, increasing reach and viewership, reducing costs, increasing donations, and most importantly helping people meet and grow with Jesus. Below* are real examples of these benefits from ministries that have experienced them.
If you couldn’t tell from my slightly skewed voice on all issues Apple (unintentionally), I am an avid iPhone user. I have nothing against Android in any way, what it comes down to is that iPhone is all I’ve ever known. I can FaceTime, I had Instagram before it was cool, and of course – I’m part of the elite iOS club. I think everyone in this club can agree that we’re all waiting on the edge of our seats for a glimpse at the next iPhone – presumably iPhone 5? I have read a slew of rumors from a titanium case, to a USB port, to telepathic qualities (okay not really), to a 4 inch super screen.
So what feature would you appreciate most in the new iPhone? What’s your stance on the screen debacle? Do you think it’s just fine, or could you readily support a bigger screen? Steve Jobs will most likely be rolling over in his grave, as he decided that the current 3.5” screen was the perfect and only acceptable size for the iPhone. He even went as far as to say that some Androids look like skateboards – the guy was not only a genius but quite the joker.
Another prominent rumor is that the black gloss body will be no longer. Instead it is rumored that a titanium-type case will take its place – similar to the bodies of most Apple laptops being produced currently. This would be an incredible new option as it would make the iPhone itself sturdier and less vulnerable to drops and tumbles (which I’ve never done by the way).
The dock connector may finally be out. Although the improvement may make more sense, for the sake of convenience it is going to be a hard adopter. There are countless devices and chargers that currently use the dock connector, and if you own one of these you are going to be straight outta luck.
A welcomed addition would be an improvement in Siri. At this point, Siri is hardly a valuable feature on the iPhone. Something that could certainly improve the experience of using Siri is being able to use Siri within applications. Applications are becoming the preferred experience with mobile users and Siri is not currently able to access content from within them.
When it comes down to it, Apple knows what they’re doing. Any improvements at all will be welcomed with open arms and 24-hour groupies camping outside the Apple store. C’mon, we’re ready for a new iPhone!
Are you a hipster? Are you a techie? Are you both? There are different personas that align themselves with different brand categories. So what qualifies someone as an Android or iOS fan? There are several defining factors that make someone loyal to one platform as opposed to another.
There’s something to be said about a hand-written letter. Then again, there’s something to be said about convenience. As technology has evolved over the last few decades there are certain practices in business that have shifted significantly. Where filing cabinets, faxes, and legal pads used to be mainstream, they have now all been replaced with PCs, smartphones, iPads and servers. Is this a good thing, bad thing, or just a necessary evil?
As our culture has evolved it seems that technology rules our life more than ever. There are so many tasks that can be completed faster and more efficiently by utilizing technology. Long gone are the days of typewriters, calligraphy, and even hand-written letters. It’s really a shame though, there are certain aspects of these things that are not easily translated through the use of technology.
There is absolutely nothing more sincere than a hand-written thank you note. To know that someone took the time out of their day to not text or email, but to actually express their gratitude in a tangible form is really something. Whenever we can, we try to take that same warmth and apply it to our products. Those same qualities that we love about the personal connection through pen and paper, can be brought into technology, but it takes focus. We don’t ever want to lose that human connection through our software, but rather enhance that ability to be relational.
The core offering of our product is an outlet to present media on. Not only is the majority of content accessed through technology, but websites aren’t cutting it – mobile devices are more commonplace than ever. That’s why we always try to encourage users to integrate some of the same qualities into technology. When it comes down to it, we are just a bunch of creatives, using the the outlet that we have been given. Where it may not be as utilitarian as it once was, there will always be a special place in my heart for paper and print.
There’s always going to be new technology coming out that is the latest and greatest and has the ability to make a significant difference in your life. I encourage you to embrace this – but please, don’t throw away your pens. Print can be really powerful.
As mobile changes the technology industry, much like the shift caused by social networking or the dot.com bubble, entrepreneurs and people of all sorts are diving in head first to develop their own apps and make a quick $billion (thanks Instagram). Apps are clearly the popular choice, but how do you know if it’s right for you and what should you do to make sure it’s relevant?
There are many great ideas for custom apps, but it’s likely not realistic for ministries to create their own custom app. As a church or non-profit, how would you go about creating an app that adds value to your mission?
There truly isn’t one key ingredient to making a successful app for your organization, but there certainly are some important strategies that go into it. First and foremost, your app must serve a purpose that keeps people coming back. Let’s hope that’s an obvious conclusion. Apps such as Starbucks, Pulse, and ESPN serve as great tools that keep people engaged because they make something more convenient, are easy to use, and they just work correctly. Since those are all custom apps or highly recognizable brands, how can we learn from their successes?
We are proud to announce our newest app, The Village Church App! A lot of hard work and collaboration have gone into this project and we can’t wait to share it with all of you. Listen to sermons from highly respected pastor, Matt Chandler, listen to music, check out blog posts, be aware of events – and much more!
Download here and check out what The Village Church is all about.
Available on iPhone, iPad and Android.
I consider myself to be a relatively social person. However, there are plenty of times that I find myself stuck in awkward small talk with strangers. Generic weather comment, generic sports team comment, what do you do? This question more often than not leads itself to a slightly more entertaining back and forth. When I reveal that I work for a company that “creates mobile apps” the response I usually receive is “I have a great idea for an app!”. The entrepreneurial culture of the US today leads everyone to believe that the next big idea is just around the corner. It is this kind of thinking, combined with ingenuity, that has started some of the world’s most profitable businesses. However, this thinking does not always lend itself to the best ideas. There is such a thing as a bad app. Whether that means it is completely useless, devoid of interesting content, or poorly made and maintained, they are certainly out there.
Our very own Chris Sharpe was recently interviewed by ChurchNext about the benefit of creating an app for your organization. Check out the full interview here.
There’s an app for that. Chances are you’ve heard this catchphrase, and chances are it won’t be going away any time soon. Mobile technology and smartphones are here to stay. With 6.8 Billion people in the world, there are an astonishing 4.6 Billion mobile phones – that’s almost as many phones as there are people! In fact, there are four times more smartphones activated daily than there are births!
Mobile is blowing up, and we are too! Check out these recent mobile stats:
- 1.3 Million Android and iOS devices are activated daily.
- Predicted 2.5 Billion smartphones sold between 2010-2015.
- iPhone and Android app users spend 80 mins/day using apps.
- People on average spend 30 minutes per launch of a Subsplash App.
- Over 50% of video traffic is now on mobile.
- There are 91.4 Million smartphones in the United States alone.
- Smartphone sales are up 73% since the start of 2011.
- 9 out of 10 smartphone users use their phone on a daily basis.
- Estimated $15.9 Billion in expected end-user spending with smartphones in 2012.
We’re feeling pretty good about these stats here at Subsplash. Smart phones and tablets have slowly but surely edged out PC’s with more sales and daily web consumption in 2011. It seems that we’re right on the cusp of this mobile web explosion – making anywhere, anytime technology pocketable.
We feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the mobile movement with The Church App. Included in the uprise of mobile web use is the frequency of application use and downloads. Mobile applications are setting the bar for user experience, and staying innovative is essential to having a competitive edge. We are ecstatic to share that there are roughly 500,000 page views a day on The Church App platform! We can only anticipate these numbers growing significantly as we go live with new applications everyday. As we like to say, “When it comes to mobile, it’s not if but when,” and that “when” is now.
*Stats and estimates found at ITU-D Measuring the Information Society 2010, Flurry Analytics, The Coda Research Consultancy, and AdMob, Google.
“Do we need an app?” That’s one of the primary tech related questions being asked today by organizations of all sizes. There are a number of reasons to consider taking your message and offerings mobile, but how do you know if it’s right for you?
Today, people are consuming data nearly as much on their mobile devices as they are on their computers. In fact, mobile is projected to become the dominant source for data consumption in the near future. Just two short years ago, app development was largely reserved for game creators or huge corporations with substantial budgets for custom development. Today, apps are being created daily for anyone looking to connect with their audience in a new way. It’s no longer a conversation for the Fortune 500 or tech elite, it’s now mainstream.
It all started with a little company called Apple, you know, the world’s most valuable company (http://bit.ly/pcSTu4). Or you could say it started with Palm in the late 90′s, but we’ll just start with Apple when they created the iPhone and subsequently the App Store, which then started a revolution of mobile mania that created a new industry and attracted competition from other humble companies such as Google and their Android Platform and Marketplace. When the iPhone first came out, mobile websites were the first to break ground. These mobile friendly sites made navigating easy on a tiny screen. But soon, the incredible features and overall experience of apps began to seize control. These days, apps are by far the preferred choice by mobile users. In fact, people spend an average of 81 minutes per day using apps. Apps give users the ability to do things that still aren’t possible with mobile websites such as bluetooth, camera, and GPS. Apps have the edge in the overall speed, performance, and user experience because they are designed specifically for your device. Now, with HTML5 on the scene, mobile sites are growing in feature capabilities and experience, but will likely always be a step behind. Furthermore, to have an app in the App Store is a big deal. It’s more than just having something that works with a mobile phone, it’s about making it incredibly available. The App Store, as well as the Android Marketplace, are today’s storefronts. It’s the market and it’s where the mobile generation shops!
So, do you need an app? Well, it really depends on what you want to do. We’ve seen two primary keys to having a successful mobile app; content and experience. First and foremost, you have to have the content. If you are creating an app as a novelty, you are probably wasting your time and money. But, if you are giving your audience a reason to use your app and to return to your app, then you should think about mobile. It’s just where people are! Why not make your content easier than ever to access? Second, you need to make sure that your mobile app is good, really good. If people download an app and it just doesn’t look good or work right, they will likely delete it immediately or never open it again. Be very cautious with how you proceed. You need to make sure your app is high quality and you need to have a plan to keep it up to date. If you focus on keeping your content fresh and having a high quality experience for your audience, you should have a very positive response.
The final piece of the puzzle is to figure out how to get your app developed and then published. There are a few options to consider and they couldn’t be more different.
You can work with work with a consulting firm like us to help you build an incredible custom app across multiple platforms. This will result in the best possible end product and you can really do anything you want. It will truly be a brilliant bit of software, but it will cost much more and will take time.
The second option is to try to do it yourself or work with an individual developer. This process is often the longest and the end result will vary largely depending on what you are trying to accomplish. It may also end up costing more money than you bargained for.
The third option is to use a native app platform to create a high quality mobile app at a fraction of the cost of custom development. Using an app platform like ours, the Subsplash App Platform, gives you complete control of your content and helps you offer a variety of features without having to break the bank. You would use our App Builder to control all aspects of your app from layout and branding to new content. This is also the best option for keeping your app up to date. We take care of OS updates, bug fixes, analytics, add in new features, give full tech support, and more. It is really the simplest option if you have content that you want to present to your audience. With these apps you have a number of robust features for content presentation such as videos, audio, blogs, calendars, news, maps, social sharing, and more.
I hope this has helped you answer some questions about mobile. It’s an amazing new world where people can access content from anywhere, anytime. We want you to be a part of it!
What is The Church App? It’s an incredibly flexible platform that helps you develop mobile apps for your ministry!
Every single week, churches and ministries create incredible Gospel-centered content that needs to be shared with the world. Sadly, this content is often never published or is simply trapped within undesirable, clunky technology. So, the big question is; how do we get this incredible content into people’s hands? Here at Subsplash, we want to see the Gospel proclaimed to the ends of the earth. With that vision in mind, we brought our team of world class developers and UX designers together and created The Church App platform. This cutting edge platform allows churches and ministries to very easily create their own mobile applications (apps) for iPhone, Android, iPad, Windows Phone 7, and web. With rich features designed specifically for the presentation of the Gospel through an app, ministries can present full length audio and video messages, share blogs and articles, keep people connected with calendar events and social networks, integrate with online giving, and much more! With the growth of mobile technology, it only makes sense that the Church needs to be at the forefront of this tremendous tech revolution. Today, people actually consume as much data on their mobile device as they do on desktop computers. It’s an incredible cultural shift being led by mobile apps. We truly believe we can help churches and ministries get their Jesus-driven content into the palm of your hand.
We’ve been blessed to work with some incredible ministries who are all about using technology to share the truth of Jesus Christ. We’ve worked with Billy Graham, Saddleback Church, Mars Hill Church, IHOP, Harvest: Greg Laurie, and many more. We’ve even worked with several churches that have less than 50 members who are using the apps as an outreach tool. How cool is that? The Church App is a tool built and designed for churches of all sizes who want to have their own custom app in the App Store and Android Marketplace to present the Gospel and keep people connected to their community.
Interesting facts about mobile and the Church
Things you can do inside of The Church App that you can’t do on your website
Other cool features of The Church App
We are excited to continue to dream and develop for the future of mobile technology and hope to see it used more and more for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. If you have any questions at all, we’d be happy to help!
For more than 35 years, Harvest and Pastor Greg Laurie have been committed to “Knowing God and making Him known” through relevant communication. It has always been their goal to accomplish this by showing how God’s Word and faith in Him are applicable and relevant to everyday life. Now the incredible tools of this ministry are accessible anytime in the palm of your hand with the new Harvest iPhone App..
When you download this app you will have access to the latest audio and video content from Greg Laurie which include his popular A New Beginning radio broadcasts. You will also have instant access to daily devotions, answers to frequently asked questions on faith, social network connections, and tools to help you effectively share your faith with others. The Evangelism Tools section has quickly become one of the most popular features of the app. Once you learn and grow from the content within the app, you can share it with your friends, family, and church via Twitter, Facebook, or email.
It is always exciting for us here at the Church App to announce another church iPhone App like this! Check it out and stay tuned for more great Church iPhone Apps to come!
At Mars Hill Church, it’s all about Jesus. From blog posts to sermons, the ministry is always working to be on mission for Christ. The Church App for iPhone began a little over a year ago as a dream to serve this Seattle-based, Bible-loving, culturally savvy church we call home. In April 2009, Subsplash teamed up with their tech team to create the Mars Hill Church iPhone app. At the time, we didn’t realize that it would change the way members listen to sermons and rock out to worship music. It’s been almost a year since the release of the Mars Hill Church iPhone app, and we’ve found ourselves wondering how the Church is using this technology to spread the Gospel. In this interview—first in a three part series—we spotlight Pastor Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church’s use of this new medium.
Subsplash: Mars Hill Church was among the first to publish a church iPhone app almost a year ago. You, Pastor Mark, have been one of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes. Considering that Mars Hill Church is at the forefront of utilizing mobile technology, in what ways has mobile tech impacted your ministry?
Pastor Mark: Without the Internet, my ministry is completely different. In God’s providence we started our church about the same time that the Internet went public, near Microsoft, and have ridden that wave ever since.
Subsplash: Some churches might want to use new technology simply because it’s cutting-edge…how do think the church has embraced technology well? How do think it has embraced technology poorly?
Pastor Mark: The key is to have biblically rooted Jesus-centered content and lots of it. It’s great to speak to a wide audience, but only if the content advances the cause of Christ. Ministries fail both in having poor content that is widely delivered, and conversely good content that is not widely delivered.
Subsplash: What is the theological reasoning behind Mars Hill Church’s use of technology to forward the Gospel?
Pastor Mark: Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9 that he became all things to all men so that by “all means” he might save as many people as possible. It’s that simple. We use whatever we can to tell as many as we can about Jesus. Technology is simply a tool or an idol depending upon whether it helps or hinders the forward progress of the gospel.
Subsplash: Do you believe all churches are candidates for cutting-edge, technological advancements like podcasting or an iPhone app? Why or why not?
Pastor Mark: Any church that believes the Bible is taught well with Jesus as the hero should attempt to do all they can to get the word out more broadly. If we love Jesus and people, we want to get his truth and love to them as cheaply, effectively, and responsibly as we can.
Thanks Pastor Mark! We are so thankful that God blessed us with the chance to work with your ministry.
R.C. Sproul was a freshman in college buying Lucky cigarettes from a vending machine when God decided to change his life. Behind him sat the captain of the college football team, who would proceed to share with Sproul the wisdom of the word of God. After a three hour conversation, Sproul was struck by the verse Ecclesiates 11:13.
In an interview with Christianity Today, Sproul stated that, “I just feel certain I’m the only person in church history that was converted by that verse. God just took that verse and struck my soul with it. I saw myself as a log that was rotting in the woods. And I was going nowhere.” That day, God transformed his life and Sproul began an incredible journey of faithful ministry. Over the course of the next forty years, Sproul would found Ligonier Ministries, the Reformed Bible College, author over 60 books and serve as a faithful minister on the radio and to his church.
At Subsplash, we love talking about technology and how it can help the church spread the Gospel. More specifically, we get excited about building apps for Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, God-fearing ministries. But for us, the completion of the Ligonier app is something special. Scrolling through years of content and articles that dissect complex doctrine and theology has brought us to a humble realization that our iPhone apps are small in comparison to the work of Christ through his faithful servants. The Ligonier app is simply a showcase of the amazing wisdom of God as explained by great teachers like R.C. Sproul, C.J. Mahaney, Alistair Begg, D.A. Carson, Ligon Duncan, and Ravi Zacharias. This app provides a daily Bible devotion, the ability to listen or watch Renewing Your Mind daily broadcast, free articles, and other resources grouped by topic, teacher, scripture or type. We hope that you are strengthened and encouraged by this new free resource.
Hello from the Subsplash Team!
Recently, we received a request from one of our fans for more “behind the scenes information” about our company. Now, while we can’t reveal all of the exciting magic that happens behind the closed doors of our development studio, we aren’t on super secret lock-down like Apple. You won’t find our iPads strapped to our wrists (although that would be cool). And you are always free to pop us a question via email or phone and expect a response, design@subsplash is always there to help.
But for those of you who have always wondered about the “guys from Seattle with the funny name”…here’s our attempt to “formally” introduce ourselves.
Meet the Team
We have a fabulous team of developers, designers and customer support people at Subsplash. All of us are working hard to serve our clients, iPhone users and help spread the Truth of Jesus.
We Love our Clients
We love serving clients both here in the Seattle area and throughout the United States. On occasion, we have a chance to travel down to meet some of our more distant clients face to face. From Left to Right: Matt Turner, Tim Turner, Matt Repucci, and our buddy Rick Warren. We have truly enjoyed working with all of our clients!
Hello from Subsplash!
Just wanted to give a shout out to Alex Murashko-a friend from Saddleback and a writer for Assist News outlet. For the last couple of weeks, Alex has been researching ways for churches to use mobile apps as a means to reach a greater audience. We had a chance to talk with Alex about how we thought apps were changing the church tech landscape. It was an awesome conversation, and we wanted to share the article with you. It has some great insights from Chris Ediger, over at Giant Impact, and David Charzan, Executive Pastor at Saddleback Church. We hope you find this article helpful. Thanks Alex!
Mobile technology is certainly changing the way society ingests information, and it’s important for churches to be aware of this revolution. In fact, AdMob Mobile recently reported that “smartphones accounted for 48% of worldwide traffic, up from 35% last year. In absolute terms, smartphone traffic increased 193% over the last year.” Furthermore, with the launch of the iPad, the use of mobile apps will not only solidify but skyrocket. Thus, churches should carefully consider the impact this technology will have on their ministry.
For any church considering developing with any type of mobile technology, here are a few points to consider:
1. iPhone app or mobile version of your website: Churches often wonder if they should build a mobile version of their website or a dedicated iPhone app for their church. A mobile version of your site is great to have. Most mobile browsers can handle full websites but the drawback is that most church content is Flash-based. Having a landing place for mobile visitors makes a ton of sense especially when paired with a more immersive and engaging native iPhone or Android app. With a mobile app, there is potential for richer user interface, higher quality animations, and offline interaction. All of these aspects enhance the personal connection, user affinity, and the likelihood that people will continually engage with the church’s content. That is what we like to call, in Web 2.0 terms, a “sticky” experience.
2. Developing an iPhone app in-house or using a third party: Developing in-house offers flexibility and can seem free… however it often comes with a cost. You can customize your app to meet the needs of your church and develop it to embody certain functions of the website. However, there are two downsides.
First, you need an expert on-site. Objective C is unlike most other programming languages and working with Apple provisioning, testing and submitting to the App Store is enough to make a grown man cry. Additionally, the lack of standardization amongst platforms like Android, iPhone and Windows Phone 7 increases overhead and is ultimately less economical for one church to produce across all platforms.
Second, companies like Apple are notorious for changing standards and imposing new restrictions on their platforms. Basically, tech support doesn’t exist, good luck talking with a real person, and lastly, they retain the right to reject your app for many reasons. In general, Apple is extremely close-handed about the developing platform.
We love developing for Apple, but they can present many challenges for any developer. Apple makes things appear very easy from a user standpoint, but when you become an iPhone developer, the whole game is changed. Most recently, Apple has changed it’s SDK agreement to eliminate cross platform technologies like Adobe Flash. Thus, using a third party can mitigate some risk associated with developing on these platforms.
If you are a church considering a third party developer, here are some red flags to watch for:
1. If a company offers to build your church an iPhone app for free or “almost free,” be weary. You usually get what you pay for. Support may be spotty or the apps may contain ads—both of which may be out of your control.
2. If a third party doesn’t have any examples of previous work, strongly consider other development shops. If you are using a third party, you want to ensure that they can deliver the quality you want. With over 150,000 apps available, many are third rate, sub-par apps that only contribute to the white noise of the store-both in terms of stability, usability and design.
3. Make sure that your content remains yours. Steer clear of people who want to own or sell your content, but it’s common for a third party to maintain ownership of their code. Software as a service is a great option and that would include services like Basecamp from 37 signals, Dropbox, and Beanstalk.
In summary, mobile technology will significantly impact the Church. For churches who are ready to adopt the new technology today, they should carefully consider the the costs and benefits of building a mobile version of their site compared with those of an app. Churches should also be aware of the challenges of developing iPhone apps in house and potential red flags when considering third party developers. For churches who are still on the fence, please consider engaging in the mobile dialogue. Understanding the importance of mobile technology is imperative for remaining culturally and technologically relevant.
Andy Stanley speaking at the Catalyst Conference
Andy Stanley, lead pastor at North Pointe Community Church, and several other influential thought leaders founded Catalyst in 1999. Catalyst’s purpose is to ignite and unite next generation leaders by providing solid leadership resources.
On the iPhone App, you can listen to messages from Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia; Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church; Rick Warren, pastor or Saddleback Church; Malcolm Gladwell, best selling author and writer for the New Yorker Magazine; and much more. The app also enables you to read leadership articles and follow the Catalyst blog while on the go.
We had the awesome opportunity to watch the app go live at the Catalyst West Coast Conference. The conference, which is being held at Mariners Church, has attracted over 3000 people. During the conference, we had the chance to hear Mark Driscoll speak about The 10 Things God does for Leaders. We also had the chance to hear an awesome leadership message from Catalyst’s founder, Andy Stanley. Couldn’t make it to the Catalyst conference? Go to the app store and get your free Catalyst Leadership app.
-Available on iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad
-Read Catalyst leadership articles or blog
-Listen to Catalyst podcast-audio continues playing while you use the app, so you can listen while you read the latest Catalyst articles.
-View Videos from Catalyst events
-Fully integrated with Twitter, Facebook and Email, the Catalyst iPhone app also let’s you connect Catalyst with your social circle! Share content with others, even if they don’t own an iPhone.
How did you celebrate Christ’s resurrection this year?
Easter Sunday is always a great time to share about Jesus with family members and friends who might not usually hear about God’s unfailing grace. This year, Saddleback Church hosted their service at Angel Stadium and the Jonas Brothers sang the worship! The awesome opportunity to hear Rick Warren and worship with the Jonas Brothers was a huge hit and tickets were sold out weeks in advance. However, this year the Saddleback Church iPhone app made watching this event live more easily accessible through live streaming to iPhones and iPods across the globe.
Churches like Saddleback aren’t the only types of churches who can benefit from this technology. The Church App has been used by traditional ministries like John MacArthur’s Grace to You and more local community churches like The Church of South Las Vegas and Watermark Community Church. iPhone technology can help maximize the impact of any church or ministry that desires to share the Truth of Jesus to a mobile audience.
Here are some screenshots taken from the Saddleback iPhone app during Easter services at Angel Stadium.