By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
3 ways smartphone apps can change the way churches do business
Faith-related apps could affect how people give money to churches and serve the poor. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
Smartphone apps are already changing the way people consume the news, form relationships and order coffee. Soon, they could be an integral part of faith communities.

Here are three aspects of church life that apps could revolutionize:

1. Collecting money

Worried that modern churchgoers are less likely to carry cash, some faith communities have turned to digital collection plates. Apps such as and Pushpay, which operate like the popular money-transferring apps PayPal and Venmo, allow people of faith to give on the go.

"Churches using tithing apps report they see more donations, more often, from more people," Bloomberg Business reported earlier this month.

The Bloomberg article noted that these apps are particularly attractive to young church members, who are used to using their smartphone like a wallet.

More than 9 in 10 millennials (91 percent) use their phone to buy something at least once a month, Bloomberg reported.

2. Funeral planning

Another millennial-focused group of apps aim to help young people plan their funerals. Although most people in their 20s and 30s expect to live for at least a few more decades, these programs help people ensure their end-of-life wishes are known.

"Death apps promise to help a person organize his or her entire online life into a bundle of digital living wills, funeral plans, multimedia memorial portfolios and digital estate arrangements. It could be the mother of all personal media accounts, designed to store all of a person's online passwords in one spot for a successor to retrieve," The Guardian reported.

These apps, including Everest, Cake and SafeBeyond, don't focus on members' faith-related wishes, but they could be valuable for churches that navigate a changing landscape of grieving practices.

"Religious (communities) have joined in a seismic revolution of Americans taking ownership of their public grieving," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

3. Serving the poor

Some tithing apps allow donors to direct their money to specific church programs. Christian developers continue to look for ways in which app technology could boost a church's charitable impact.

Participants in a conference, "The Code for the Kingdom Hackathon," in London in October, creatively combined faith and technology to develop the initial versions of apps that could allow people to reach out to people in need.

In its coverage of the event, the Church Times, an Anglican newspaper in the U.K., highlighted two different apps with this potential power: Homely and My Refuge.

Homely would allow people to send donations to homeless men and women, enabling them to save money for their own apartment, Church Times reported. My Refuge would connect refugee families with people who are willing to host them.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters