Church App Platforms vs. Custom Church Apps

Churches are constantly looking to find new ways to connect with their congregation and increase communication with them. Chances are if you’re here, you are interested in getting a church app solution for your congregation. The app industry is constantly growing, and there are always two options: pay for a custom, branded church app, or choose an app platform that offers a pre-built, ready to go experience.

Custom branded church apps

A custom branded church app is developed just for your church. You will pay a developer to make the app to your specifications, leaving you responsible for the entire cost of development.

Pros

  • Custom church apps are made just for you, so you have the opportunity to play a role in the design of the app. You can determine the exact layout you want and find a developer to make it possible.
  • Custom church apps are optimal for branding, making sure your church name and logo are on the user’s home screen. This is essentially creating an “ad” for your church right on the user’s apps screen.

Cons

  • Developing an app is expensive. With custom church apps, you’ll have to pay a setup fee and many options require maintenance contracts.
  • Maintenance costs are required, and you’ll also have to pay for the app to be re-designed as technology changes and user interfaces evolve.
Custom church apps are great if you want a completely custom experience, but they come at a high cost.

App platforms

Church app platforms take a different approach: they have already invested in research and development so you don’t have to. Instead, you pay an affordable subscription fee to join and be part of the platform.

Pros

  • App platforms are highly affordable. Some are available for a low monthly cost and do not have setup fees.
  • App platforms have powerful features that would be expensive to create in a custom church app. Features such as interactive fill-in-the-blank notes, events with responses, and connection cards all work directly in the app with no links or other services.
  • App platforms are updated constantly, being optimized for new iOS and Android versions as they are released. Additionally, app platforms are constantly thinking about new, innovative features to bring to your church experience.
  • App platforms are familiar. When new members join your church, they will already be familiar with app platforms they used at previous churches, and the transition is seamless. Notes taken on app platforms will stick with the user forever in their personal notes section, even if they move and have to change churches.

Cons

  • App platforms feature “semi-branding,” meaning your church name and logo will appear when the user launches the app, but your church’s logo and name will not appear on the app icon. Instead, it will be the app platform’s branding.
  • If there are features you want missing in a particular app platform, you have to submit your idea to their development team and wait patiently for their decision to implement it. There are no guarantees that the feature you want will get added, so you have to live with their current feature set.
App platforms are a fantastic option if you are looking for an intuitive, affordable app experience for your congregation regardless of your church size.

Which solution is right for you?

There are pros and cons to both solutions, so it’s important to ask yourself which option is right for you. Giant mega-churches may choose a custom app for branding purposes. Small and large churches might be more likely to choose an app platform to get the best value for their money. You also have to ask yourself, are you in the business of app development or the business of ministry? App platforms can take the weight off of managing a custom app and give you more time to focus on your ministry. If you are considering an app platform, consider My Sermon Notes. Our platform offers features like fill-in-the-blank notes, interactive prayer requests, customizable connection cards, events with responses, ministry team management, and more. If you decide that an app platform is right for your church, get our 30-day free trial here.
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