Why It’s Important to Personalize the Journey for Your Congregation

Why It’s Important to Personalize the Journey for Your Congregation

For years now, my wife and I have been visiting the same restaurant. The owner knows us by name and gives us an impeccably personalized experience each time we visit. He knows our preferences and what to recommend to us from the specials list. Over the years, we’ve noticed other regulars who dine there also get the same warmth and hospitality, but the restaurant serves them based on their preferences.

The restaurant owner’s ability to read our preferences makes for a personalized experience, and we always come away feeling known and appreciated.  

Nowadays, an organization’s success depends on its ability to personalize experiences and products for their customers. And a church organization is really no different.

Some may feel squeamish about putting consumer experience expectations side by side with a church’s community participation. But here are the facts: If you fail to personalize the experience for would-be members, they will attend another church and give to different causes.

One of the key ways you can ensure that your members have a seamless journey into the life of your church is to provide them with a customized experience through a church app.
Enter today’s personalization journey. 

How Pushpay Can Help You Move People through the Journey

Today’s church member journey centers on mobile apps. Why? That’s where people are. Nearly five hours a day, every day, they’re pecking away on their mobile devices.

According to Pew Research, 77 percent of Americans own smartphones. And that statistic is up from just 35 percent from a similar surveys conducted in 2011. And if you think smartphone usage is just a trend among younger generations, think again. 73 percent of Americans 50–64 own smartphones and 46 percent of seniors 65 and older do too.

It’s a forgone conclusion that smartphones have simply transformed how people engage with one another. Their experience in the life of the church community should be no different. Your attendees and members are accustomed to getting personalized information at each step of their journey.

Open up your Amazon mobile app and you’ll see recommendations based upon what you’ve bought before. If you’re a young parent, you’ll likely see some toys on your homescreen. If you’re a gamer, you’ll see the hottest new video games as you open your app. If you’re a pastor, you may see new theology books on your list.

Frankly, you likely don’t even notice this anymore. It’s what you expect. Pushpay leans on this expectation to help your community members move through a journey.

Today’s journey is a series of baby steps that community members typically make on their way to church participation—and generous giving. Sometimes, these baby steps happen in a few months. Sometimes, they take years. But look closely, and you’ll see how technology and your ability to provide targeted, personalized content helps community members take these steps.

The one-size-fits-all product models just don’t work anymore. People have come to expect seamless, personalized experiences, and the same should be true for your giving and church engagement solution.  

Personalizing the Community Member Journey with the Right App

Pushpay has designed its mobile platform to help you smoothly move people through the stages of their journey in a way that’s unique to them. Here’s how our personalized journey makes it easier for people to take their next step into the life of your church:

1. Dynamic Homescreen

We make it easier for people to engage your church through the same mobile experience they’re used to using the rest of their week on Amazon, eBay, and Uber. When you open up our custom mobile app experience, you’ll get a dynamic homescreen, which means you’ll have a media experience that’s tailored to you. For example, you’ll be able to deliver content on your homescreen that fits your member’s stage of life. A 35-year-old father of three will get different content than a 19-year-old single woman or a 55-year-old empty nester.  

2. Custom Branded App

Pushpay helps you provide a completely branded experience for your users. They won’t see five different logos or names as they engage through the app. Your church’s logo, name, and brand will instead be front and center throughout the whole process. They won’t see Pushpay’s name and logo throughout. They’ll see yours.

3. Push Notifications

You’ll also have the opportunity to regularly communicate with your members in a personalized way through push notifications designed to fit their needs. Send one notification to parents to remind them about camp signup and another one to seniors to tell them about a new Bible study starting. Each of them experiences your app and your communication in a way unique to their stage of life. (Again, it’s what they’ve learned to expect from the key apps already on their smartphones, like Amazon, eBay, etc.) That helps you build a communication strategy that fosters an ongoing relationship with your community members.

4. A Personalized Giving Experience

Because we know how powerful mobile giving is, we’re always driving givers to your mobile app to give. Whether they give through text, your website, or via check, we’ll send your donors a link to download your mobile app. Mobile givers on the Pushpay platform give $17 for every $10 given by non-Pushpay givers, according to 2018 Digital Giving Trends in the Church. Becoming a mobile app user doesn’t just give users access to mobile giving, but it also helps your church engage with them through your app content—which is personalized content designed to draw them more fully into the life of your church.

A Community Member’s Journey Takes More Than Technology—but Not Less

Technology alone can’t turn an occasional church attendee into an active participant in your church. But when a community member has choices to personalize their own experience with the communications that are relevant to their life, you’ll be actively removing hurdles for them. That means more community engagement, and participation.   

You believe in the mission of your church, otherwise you wouldn’t be there. Your community is counting on you to remove hurdles so they can more easily participate in the life of the church. They expect personalization in every other aspect of their lives, so don’t let them down with a second rate, one-size-fits all app.

Tobin Perry
Writer at Pushpay | tobin@tobinperry.com |

Tobin Perry has been a writer and editor in Christian media for almost 20 years. He has worked for the North American Mission Board, Saddleback Church and the International Mission Board in a variety of editorial capacities. An ordained minister, he has also served as a lead pastor at a church in Southern Indiana. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Gateway Seminary. Tobin currently lives in Evansville, IN with his wife, Charissa, and three children.