In the advent of the information age and early days of the Internet, churches scrambled to have some sort of web presence. Any church with even a rudimentary web site was on the cutting edge of the age.
As website development became more user-friendly and cost-effective through WYSIWYG software and improved skill sets, more churches were able to have their own webmasters. Church websites became more sophisticated. Churches that had the basic, stock site became passe. In order to be on the cutting edge of communication, Shockwave Flash sites were the way to go.
Churches have since followed technological developments such as blogging, social networking to include Facebook and Twitter, and mass text messaging for church news. Online Bible studies and social groups have developed. Simply having a website now is about as effective as having a Yellow Pages ad.
The question ten years ago may have been, “Does your church have a website?” Now, the question seems to be rapidly heading toward, “Does your church have an app?” Those unfamiliar with the wide range of iOS, Android, and Blackberry apps may wonder why a church would want a game. Apps, however, are becoming the new wave of website development. Apps can be downloaded and then run to direct the user to websites and social networking sites. They can also be updated regularly to provide current information on meeting times, events, special needs … the list can go on. What was once dedicated to a church newsletter and mailed out in print can now be done in a flash via an app in various operating systems and received by church members as developments and changes occur.
Crossway church in Melbourne, Australia, has a link to download its app on the front page of its website as well as in the Apple and Android stores. Crossway’s app includes recent sermons, calendar and events, and links for a map, donations, following on Twitter/Facebook, and the church’s website. Having a website is still necessary, but it seems that each technological development has become a new layer in the party dip of relevance. (see full story at http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/happy-clappy-app…)
Searching the Google play store with the term “church” comes up with over 1,000 app results. Each has a description including something akin to “welcome to the official app of you-pick-it church.” A web search for “church iPhone app” discovers multiples sources for creating an app for your church.
One might well wonder if all of this is worth it. Does maintaining a presence on the technological cutting edge equate to effectiveness in delivering the Gospel of Christ? In Jesus’ day, he delivered a sermon on a mount. In 2012, it seems that same sermon needs to be delivered in every form of communication possible to reach those “with ears to hear.”