If you’ve worked in ministry for the past 10 years, you’ve seen a rise in the number of hand-held electronic devices in the pews. And it’s not just millennials heavily using smartphones—older parishioners are too, with four-in-ten seniors owning a smartphone as of 2017.
Whether they’re inside or outside the church, people are living an increasingly digital lifestyle.
And they expect their churches to keep up with them. That’s why many churches are turning to mobile church apps to better connect with their parishioners. And they’re taking it a step further by using digital tools that are specifically built for the church to help prepare their congregants for church events like Lent and Christmas.
With Holy Week just around the corner, here are some ways your church can use excellent mobile technology to help your parishioners prepare their minds and hearts for the upcoming celebration.
Share Holy Week Messages
If your church has recorded past Holy Week messages, the weeks leading up to end of Lent is the perfect time to share them. Each day of Holy Week is significant. In fact, the majority of the text in the Gospels pertains to the events that Holy Week commemorates. Since this is such a spiritually-rich time and your parishioners are still fasting, it’s a great time to remind them of why the celebration is significant and encourage them to stay reverent until the end.
Whether you have audio files or videos of previous Holy Week-related messages, your church can upload them to its mobile app. These messages will help remind parishioners of what you’ve talked about in previous years and encourages them to remain steadfast during this season. Leading up to Holy Week, identify the sermons you’d like to disseminate and queue them up to share in your app.
If your church doesn’t yet have a mobile app yet, don’t worry. Talk to an expert at Pushpay to see how you can get a custom church app in time for Holy Week. Our mobile technology experts will be happy to walk through how an app can help your church drive participation and help your parishioners prepare for the upcoming season.
Update Your App Homepage
Your church app home screen is the first place parishioners will land when they open the app. It’s typically where churches post updates about events coming up, guide people to recently recorded sermons, and even host church news.
It’s also a great place to host Holy Week content so that it’s easily accessible for app users. Your church can create a Holy Week devotional, videos, or even promote community groups on the app’s home screen so it’s easier for your parishioners to find Holy Week-related content.
With the Dynamic Homescreen within the Pushpay custom mobile app, it’s easy for your church to update the home page and make sure that the right seasonal content is visible to your parishioners. This is just another way your church can ramp up to Holy Week and support the season’s observers.
If you’re on a time crunch, you can access free Holy Week messages and devotionals in our free ebook, Holy Week. The ebook is also filled with other great content about how your church can prepare parishioners for this season of the year.
Push notifications are an effective communication and promotion tool and can be used any time of the year. But notifications are especially useful leading up to church events. Before Holy Week, your church can send out custom push notifications that do a number of things. You can use them to encourage people to pray, remain steadfast during the fast, follow along with the devotional, join a group, or simply encourage people to attend a homily.
You can even use geotargeting features to target people with push notifications if they’re not at one of your services. For instance, you can target people 30 miles or more outside of the church radius with a message that motivates them to arrive at the sermon on time.
Push notifications are an extremely effective tool for driving participation in seasonal observances. Be sure to create them early and send one or two each week leading up to Holy Week.
Holy Week isn’t necessarily known for a huge influx of first-time visitors, but it will inherently draw in a few extra people. That makes this season a great opportunity to connect newcomers with your parish or church. Be sure to encourage your regular attendees to invite their friends and family members to your homilies and events. You can make the announcement from the stage, send out push notifications, or even send occasional emails to that effect.
For your next step, get your connect cards ready. They’re a church staple, but many parishes are going beyond traditional paper cards. Instead, they’re using digital connect cards within their church app, making it extremely easy to identify visitors and follow up with them after the service or Lenten season. In preparation for Holy Week, make sure your connect card is ready to go in your app.
The Pushpay custom church app has a connect card feature that allows newcomers to enter their information in, then church leaders access to that information. At some point during one of your Holy Week homilies, take some time to direct people to your app and encourage newcomers to fill out a connect card. Be sure to ask for their telephone number, zip code, and email address. This way, you know exactly where your visitors are coming from and can plan some outreach events around those areas. Plus, you’ll then have contact information you can use to send them a thank you email or give them next steps ton getting involved at your church.
Almsgiving Using A Digital App
Apart from prayer and fasting, almsgiving is one of the pillars of Holy Week and a spiritual discipline that can be easy for parishioners to forget about or ignore. But even when homilies are preached about the importance of charity, people can simply forget to bring cash with them to a service. And the donation plate gets passed to people who simply can’t give in that moment.
That’s where the importance of an online giving platform comes into play. Intuitive giving tools like Pushpay make giving easy for your parishioners and for your admins that work on the church’s finances. Setting up a specific alms fund in the platform is easy, and parishioners can simply open the app and donate within 10 seconds. It streamlines generosity and encourages charitable giving among your congregants.
Click here to talk to a Pushpay expert to see how mobile giving can organically encourage charity within your parish.
Don’t have a Holy Week plan in place yet? The free ebook, Holy Week, is an excellent resource for churches to use as they approach this season. Download it today to get free devotional plans you can share with your parishioners and discover how your church can drive more engagement, almsgiving, and participation through this season.
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