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How to Make a Church App: Reasons to Build One and Features It May Have

Updated 30 Nov 2021

Published 13 Oct 2018

16 Min

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The mobile development industry has been growing so quickly, and now smartphones are an integral part of every person’s day-to-day activities. The unprecedented demands for mobile devices have pushed religious faiths to build a church app to keep up with the current trend and access a broader audience. In fact, about 47% of American citizens belong to a church. So you run the risk of missing out on more than 120 million potential customers. And that is just the US audience.

A mobile application would bring church an opportunity to conduct online sermons and receive donations. However, there are plenty of things to learn before looking for mobile app development services.

This article will help you learn how to develop a church app, its benefits, challenges, features to implement, and cost estimate in detail.

Why Custom Church Apps?

Out-of-the-box solutions and applications created with app builders cannot guarantee either stability of work either rich functionality. The development of a custom app is the only way to keep user experience on a high level and provide users with required features.

Let’s take a look at benefits mobile church solutions are able to bring.

Next Level of Communication

Church app development is an excellent decision if church ministers want to stay in touch with parishioners and parishioners want to communicate with each other. The application can inform users about the latest church news and deliver them invitations on events.

In addition, such applications unite parishioners into an active online community. They may give an opportunity to chat both in the application or jump to a person’s social media profile and continue there.

Broad Reach

Church applications provide users with 24/7 access to sermons, videos, sacred books like Holy Bible, and other religious material with just a few clicks. As for the clerics and spiritual leaders, they can deliver the word of the Lord among the people around the world by applying modern OTT solutions with superior streaming quality.

Secure Access

The post-pandemic reality shows the need to make churches more flexible and get online. Church applications allow priests and pastors to hold religious practices and meetings remotely without being limited to specific places and times.

Donations

A mobile app is a convenient way to make donations. So church app solutions may have a donation opportunity and let parishioners share the donation link in social networks.

Live streaming

The opportunity to stream videos can be very important since there is always somebody who cannot visit sermons and other events. Moreover, statistics show that 54% of Christian millennials watch videos related to faith and spirituality.

Charity and Volunteering

Building a church app allows reminding parishioners about the forthcoming charity or volunteering events. Push notifications can be great helpers in involving more people to an event. Also, it’s reasonable to add a photo library for events, let people comment them on, as well as make charity donations.

Overcoming Challenges Online

The parishioners often discuss their difficulties and support each other in difficult situations. The presence of a mobile application can greatly facilitate this. According to Christian Web Trends, a social element in religious apps was recognized as very important by 57% of the respondents, while 75% found that push notifications are one of the most important features.

Those were only several reasons why custom church apps are useful. Except for everything mentioned above, it’s also possible to keep church records, develop interactive features for children, etc.

Types of Church Applications

Also, the app can perform one single feature. For example, notifying about news or allowing to read the Gospel or other religious texts.

There are three main types of church applications to single out: for parishioners, spiritual leaders, and clerics. Let’s consider how different they are.

For Parishioners

First, it becomes easier to spread the God Book among parishioners if you create a church app for them. Second, you can broadcast important events with the help of platforms like YouTube or Vimeo.

The members of your church can register on events, propose podcasts, make records of preaching, donate through the application. For big churches, it’s reasonable to include there a map of campus as well as events taking place in different rooms or classes of the church.

For Spiritual Leaders

This kind of apps is focused on managing groups of parishioners of the church. It can be capable of tracking the attendance and allow spiritual leaders making notes about participants of different groups.

The application should be protected by authorization so that no one could access personal data of parishioners.

For Clerics

If you create a church app of this type, it will allow church leaders and clerics to interact with each other and have single access to the church database.

For instance, if a leader enters the attendance data along with some notes they are automatically updated and synchronized so that clerics could see the changes through their personal profiles. That also gives clerics an opportunity to make the attendance reports, evaluate the level of participation in different events, etc.

For Children

Applications for children differ from those focused on adults. There are lots of peculiarities on how to create a church app for children.

You should take into account the fact children should not be bored when using the app. That’s why the best way for similar children apps is to entertain them by giving an opportunity to play games and solve interesting tasks. Don’t forget about the rewards!

Here is how we form project teams at Cleveroad to deliver an innovational application for you

In addition, it’s a good idea to include videos and other interactive content. To build a church app that’d be interesting for children, you can also consider adding interactive Bible chapters for reading and, let’s say, add a quiz at the end of each chapter.

Also, different cartoons related to spiritual development, pictures of Biblical characters, artifacts, holy places along with a description of them are a good fit. The main thing is to present information in an easy and educative way.

Example of a religious application for children

Example of religious app for children (Source: Google Play)

Now, let’s consider the real example of church application to learn from their concept and features included.

Church Times

The Church Times is an iOS-based app that allows users to know about the latest church news and trends worldwide. The information is published weekly on Fridays and includes cartoons, articles, interviews, book reviews, and current church vacancies. Among the exciting features are:

  • Download each week’s publish to read offline
  • Read the latest news stories posted throughout the week
  • Listen to the podcasts that come every week
  • Look for specific information (news, podcasts, appointments, etc.).
  • Share articles via social media

Churchme

Churchme is a church social community that allows members to interact and share testimonies, prayer requests, devotionals, and more. The application provides users with the following features:

  • Share church journals and announcements
  • Making donations
  • Look through the church member directory
  • Share pictures from church service with the rest of the participants
  • View upcoming events via an in-built calendar
  • Receive push notification alerts

E-zekiel Church Management

E-zekiel ChMS enables spiritual leaders to view and handle the information about the groups of parishioners from mobile devices. Among the valuable functionality provided are:

  • Self-check-in for parishioners to skip the lines
  • Create participants’ profiles, search, and update them
  • Make families’ profiles, search, and update them
  • Contact entire congregation
  • Reach to specific groups
  • View church list
  • Record visits
  • Make notes about engaging with people

Thinking to build a church app?

Get a custom estimate of your project for free

Challenges in Building Church Apps

Despite the advantages for parishioners and clerics, church app development has some pitfalls you should be ready to deal with. Strict security requirements and some limitations are discouraging entrepreneurs from getting into this niche.

Let’s figure out the main problems.

Cost

Despite the benefits of bespoke solutions, many churches are hesitant about creating a unique church application because of its cost. But how to reduce the development costs while delivering a top-notch product? The answer is to build a Flutter-based church application.

Cross-platform projects can decrease the estimated development time by up to 50 percent, thus reducing the price. The point is that native projects include the development time for both platforms. In turn, the Flutter framework allows software engineers to come with a single codebase for iOS and Android. At Cleveroad, we provide cross-platform app development services on Flutter to help our clients reduce time to market, faster release, and deliver high-performance, scalable mobile apps on time and within their budget.

Additionally, you can consider outsourcing app development to one of the popular outsourcing destinations like Eastern Europe and get a high-quality product for an affordable price. With average rates of $25-$50/hour, the final cost of making a church app will be significantly lower.

Security

Security issues are an essential part of any business, and ministries aren’t excluded. It’s critical to combat increased cyber risks to guarantee parishioners’ data security. There are several ways on how to secure your church app:

  • Use multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data.
  • Apply an SSL certificate to encrypt communications and provide the highest security environment to your clients.
  • Don't store confidential information on user devices, encrypt it with special algorithms like AES-256 or RSA.

Additionally, you have to conduct security self-evaluation and monitor new vulnerabilities after each update to provide complete protection. If the company neglects the security demands, the application might be blocked from App Stores or even get a fine of €20 million if there is a potential breach of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Read our step-by-step guide to learn how to prepare your business to GDPR

Necessity in Updates

The majority of users abandon the application if they see nothing change or improve. The only way to retain your customers is to regularly check your church app for possible issues to keep it upgraded and relevant. If your platform doesn’t generate enough value for users, they may just end up deleting it. But bear in mind that the renewed version of the app will be available for users once it’s verified by App Stores. It takes, on average, two days for Apple’s Store and two hours for Google Play.

Promotion

After the release, you need to grow your user base actively. But how to get customers to see your app? The correct answer is marketing.

Ensure you start a marketing campaign long before you launch your application. This approach makes it easier to engage new users and increase trust to your church platform. For example, you can make a pre-launch landing page to collect users’ emails, participate in online communities, deal with famous personalities, or create your own blog on social media. A well-prepared pre-launch stage will help you to get an initial boost and continue working on creating a loyal community.

Church App Features

To create a custom church app you should first decide on the required features. Once it’s done, write down every idea you have to be able to provide clear requirements for the company that’ll be building your application. It’ll fasten the app development process and help bear everything in mind.

Now let’s talk about features.

Basic Church App Features

Let’s consider some basic features needed to create a church app that will be helpful for parishioners:

Information about a church

That’s probably the first thing the app should contain. You may provide members with detailed information on church history, goals, clerics, and ministry programs.

News

The feed will allow parishioners to be aware of all the forthcoming events. Church app developers can build a push notification system.

Push notifications

Deliver important information to parishioners in an instance. Besides, GEO fencing can be used to adjust notifications depending on the area of living.

Sacred books

A variety of users read religious books like the Bible on their mobile devices. So, you can provide them with such an opportunity within your custom church app. Besides, it’s a good idea to add the opportunity for writing personal notes.

Donations

Donations are important for any non-commercial organization. Some churches collect donations during events. In order to organize it conveniently for parishioners, you can send them notifications to remind about the possibility to make donations.

Social networks integration

This step will provide you and your users with an opportunity to share different events on social networks using your church app solution.

Media library

You can connect websites like YouTube or Vimeo for placing/adding videos to your media library. You can also integrate audio sermons from iTunes or other audio stores, as well as create own podcasts and downloadable audio files.

Streaming

By means of services like Live Stream or Ustream, you are able to conduct live broadcasts from your church app. This feature will help to keep up with events for those parishioners who cannot physically attend church services or certain events.

Contact feature

You may allow your app's users to ask questions in chat, make calls or contact the representatives of the church in any other convenient way.

Advanced Church App Features

You may include several more additional points to your list of features for church mobile app development.

For example:

Gallery

Having a built-in gallery, users get the possibility to upload their photos from church events, make a selection of pictures with life-affirming quotes or quotations from the Gospel.

Map

This feature is an essential option for large church campuses to navigate users through big churches. It’s not sufficient to just put an address. People should be able to identify their location concerning your building.

In-app camera

This feature will allow users to take pictures from the in-app camera and save them right in the app. Thus, customers can easily exchange the images from prayer meetings with other participants.

Live analytics

This feature will help the app’s owner monitor customers’ behavior and provide an improved user experience. Analytics also allows you to track the application’s success and its worldwide reach.

Got lost in features?

Our experienced business analysts can help with the feature list for your app

How to Develop a Church App in Five Steps

So, it's time to consider the main stages of creating a church app. We split the whole process into several steps to discuss each point in detail to make it easier.

First Contact

You contact the company and leave a request on the vendor's website. Once the Business development manager processes the request, the company reaches you to schedule a meeting and discuss the details of your application.

Discovery Phase

The Discovery phase consists of meetings where a business analyst collects information about your business, goals, and project idea to understand the app's requirements thoroughly. When all information is analyzed, the business analyst creates a project specification that details all the features and tech stack. Besides that, UI/UX designers create wireframes for each app screen.

UI/UX Design

UI/UX designers use wireframes made in the past phase, project requirements, and modern UI/UX design techniques to create full-fledged app mockups that reflect the final look of the app.

Keep in mind that the look of your church app should associate with your community. You can customize it with your church’s branding, and here are some branding elements that can be included:

  • Your name and logo
  • Any graphics your church has made
  • Some Belief statements
  • Your sermons and other multimedia
  • Bible reading plans, etc.

You should make your church app users feel like they’re interacting with your organization, not a template church application.

Development

Developers convert mockups into a working social media website. The development workflow is split into sprints (2-week periods), during which the programmers need to develop an agreed part of the website functionality. There are different methodologies that can be applied during this stage.

For instance, at Cleveroad, we use Agile methodologies and work with the Scrum framework on our projects. Scrum helps our clients stay flexible and easily make changes to their projects.

Quality Assurance

In order to provide a great user experience, your application must be bug-free. Therefore, QA engineers conduct quality tests to ensure the church app runs as expected and meets the testing plan. If bugs appear, they put them into the bug report and send it to developers to fix the issues.

Release

The software developers make final edits and polish the project to ensure the church app is ready to release. After refining is done, developers hand the product over to the client with all project materials.

Tech Stack for a Church Application

There are a bunch of powerful tools that can be used for church app development. If you want to create a native mobile app, you will need to apply a programming language — Swift (iOS) and Kotlin (Android). In the case of cross-platform development, programmers use Flutter.

Note: You should consult with professionals to choose the tech stack for your educational app. The final toolset always depends on your technical needs and project requirements.

To give you a hint, we’ve listed the required technologies to make a church app.

iOS app

  • Programming language: Swift
  • Networking: Alamofire

Android app

  • Programming language: Kotlin
  • Networking: OkHttp 3

Flutter-based app

  • Programming language: Dart
  • Networking: Chopper

Back-end development

  • Programming language: Node.js
  • Framework: Express 4
  • Database: MySQL
  • API: Swagger

Tools

  • Signup: Amazon SES, Amazon SNS
  • Emails: Elastic Email
  • Search: Elastic search
  • Payment: Braintree
  • Push notifications: FCM
  • Storage: Amazon S3

How Much Does It Cost To Develop a Church App?

There are a lot of factors affecting the final price such as platform, features, design, integrations, and developers’ rates. However, if you consider all of them, the average cost to build a church app will vary between $64,000 and $182,000+.

As we mentioned earlier, cross-platform solutions are more budget-friendly than native app development. That’s why our analysts have calculated the approximate cost of developing a church app with Flutter based on the basic features. The price is based on the average hourly rate in our region (Ukraine), which is equal to $50/h.

Time to create a church app (development only)

ModuleCore MVP featuresApprox time, Flutter (hours)Approx time, Backend (hours)

Register screen

  • Register by Email
  • Register using Google
  • Terms and conditions

39

32

Login screen

  • Login by Email + password
  • Login using Google
  • Forgot password

44

20

Complete profile screen

  • Upload photo
  • Set region
  • Add additional info

23

13

Profile screen

  • Edit profile
  • Change password
  • Delete account

54

33

Settings screen

  • On/off notifications
  • Terms & Conditions
  • About Us

20

3

Home screen

  • LIst of broadcasts

16

8

Streaming

  • Video calls

30

25

Posts

  • List of posts
  • Filter
  • List of comments

63

36

Mobile Bible

  • Bible reading

40

35

Push notifications

  • Notifications

16

15

Total development time

345

220

All church apps require a thoughtful admin panel for managing users' contents and money transactions. Keep that in mind to accurately calculate church app development costs.

Admin panel development time

ModuleCore MVP featuresApprox time, Backend (hours)Approx time, Frontend (hours)

Authorization

  • Sign in
  • Sign out

5

5

Users management

  • List of users
  • Search user

36

36

Contents management

  • List of items
  • Search items

31

31

Payments management

  • List of transactions

20

20

Settings page

  • Change my password
  • On/off notifications

5

5

Notifications page

  • List of notifications
  • Receive email notifications

12

12

Blog management

  • List of articles
  • Create article
  • Comments management

28

28

Stream screen

  • Start broadcast
  • Stop broadcast
  • View broadcast

24

24

PAGE 404

  • Page Not Found

-

3

Total development time

161

164

Given the amount of work, it'll cost you approximately $90,850 to create your own church app with Flutter. The estimation above doesn't include UI/UX design services and estimates only features described in the article. Meaning those are approximate numbers.

Additionally, the final price can vary depending on the team’s location. To give you a hint, we’ve estimated the approximate cost to build a church app in different regions:

  • Eastern Europe. $90,850 (based on $50/h)
  • North America. $181,700 (based on $100/h)
  • Western Europe. $163,530 (based on $90/h)
  • Australia. $181,700 (based on $100/h)

Feel free to contact our experts and get a custom cost estimation of your application for FREE!

Cleveroad Expertise in Making Church App

Cleveroad is a skillful software development company with headquarters in Eastern Europe, Ukraine. Since 2011, we have been helping startups, SMBs, and enterprises to get custom native apps for iOS and Android and provide cross-platform app development services on Flutter that fit your needs and budget requirements.

We offer a variety of benefits for every client to deliver your own church application:

  • A free consultation on your project from our Business Analysts
  • An experienced team that quickly adjusts to new requirements and changes and integrates into existing workflows
  • All required specialists available — mobile and web developers, DevOps, designers, PMs, QA engineers, analysts.
  • A team of high-skilled and certified QA engineers ensuring the high-quality of mobile solution
  • Fast development process meeting all the deadlines
  • Innovative tech stack and development approaches

Cleveroad has already delivered custom church apps for our clients before. Manna for the Morning is one of such apps.

Manna for the Morning app on iTunes
Manna for the Morning app on iTunes

It’s equipped with the following features:

  • Daily Bible reading with tracking of the studying progress.
  • Brief comments to make Bible study more convenient.
  • Maps and graphics.
  • A personal journal where users are able to make notes.
  • Original illustrations to help users visualize various stories they will face.
  • Additional studies like "Manna for parents", "Manna for children", "Manna for couples" with daily updates.
  • In-app purchases allowing users to purchase books inside the app.
Religious app Cleveroad team built for client

Church app design by Cleveroad

Frequently Asked Questions

A mobile application would bring the church an opportunity to conduct online sermons and receive donations. However, there are plenty of things to learn before looking for mobile app development services.

  • Donations
  • Live streaming
  • Charity and volunteering
  • Overcoming challenges online

To create a custom church app you should first decide on the required features. Once it’s done, write down every idea you have to be able to provide clear requirements for the company that’ll be building your application. It’ll fasten the app development process and help bear everything in mind.

  • For parishioners. it becomes easier to spread the God Book among parishioners if you create a church app for them. You can broadcast important events with the help of platforms like YouTube or Vimeo.
  • For spiritual leaders. It can be capable of tracking the attendance and allow spiritual leaders to make notes about participants of different groups.
  • For clerics. Charch apps allow church leaders and clerics to interact with each other and have single access to the church database.
  • For children. To build a church app that’d be interesting for children, you can also consider adding interactive Bible chapters for reading and, let’s say, add a quiz at the end of each chapter.
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