Church communication has changed…have you?

mobile church


A look back at the not-so-distant past shows us that communication methods are constantly changing.

  • In 1844, the telegraph made its debut.
  • From there, the Pony Express revolutionized mail delivery in 1860.
  • Real-time, long-distance communication started with the telephone in 1876.
  • And in 1971, Ray Tomlinson sent the first email.

Nowadays, how many people do you know who can’t stand voicemails?  Perhaps you wonder why people can’t send you a text message instead.

The pace of changing communication methods has only increased since these major milestones.  For example: Social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have also made a significant difference in how we communicate on a daily basis.

A recent impact player in the communications world is chat (otherwise known as messaging apps).  In fact, in a recent report from Business Insider they found that “The combined user base of the top four chat apps is larger than the combined user base of the top four social networks.”  In other words, chat is bigger than social.  They also note that the majority of chat users are young, which means chat is a great tool for reaching the next generation.

Combine this with the fact that, according to a study by Pew Research Center, nearly 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and you can easily see how mobile communications are an important tool in reaching people with the Gospel and making disciples.

How does this impact my church?

First off, don’t view chat as yet one more thing to manage.  Instead, look at it as a shift in how communication happens – it’s real time, organic, and unpolished.

There are several benefits to using chat functionality:

  • You can easily provide safe, private chat rooms for your youth group with a few approved moderators.
  • Small group members can quickly communicate last minute details. “My babysitter just cancelled.” “Oh, bring your kids to our house, our sitter won’t mind.”
  • Elders can continue the conversation after a meeting concludes. If your elders travel frequently or have to miss a meeting, they can still weigh in.
  • Staff members don’t have to manage chat. Instead, members can shift from being “an audience that receives content” to engaged and active participants.

How do we start using chat?

One easy way is to use a mobile app that includes chat functionality.  This allows people to have one central location for all connection points with their church.  Rather than managing dozens of communication platforms (social media pages, separate messenger app, Bible app, notes app, church website, bulletin, etc.), these can all exist within a single mobile app.


mobile churchSean Buchanan is the Chief Strategy Officer for Aware3, a company that builds branded mobile apps for churches. He has a wealth of experience to draw from in serving churches, including 12 years in the banking industry, seven years at a church management software company, and positions as an elder, stewardship director, and college pastor within his own church. He resides in Colorado with his wife, five children, and what amounts to a small petting zoo.



Telegraph – 1844

Pony Express – 1860

Telephone – 1876

Email – 1971

Business Insider Report

Pew Research Center Report


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