Why we built a church communicator
About 4 years ago I wanted to give something back to my church but we didn’t have much in the way of spare funds so I thought the best way would be to offer our skillset as app developers.
At that stage we were focused on custom app development and had no products of our own. I decided to go meet with the pastor of Bryanston Methodist Church to try understand their environment and see if we could identify any problem areas. After only a few minutes’ worth of discussions, it became apparent that their biggest issues were getting congregation members to attend events and volunteer for ministries. After breaking this down I soon realised that it wasn’t due to the congregation not wanting to participate, but rather due to a poor communication system where they made use of e-mail alone. Needless to say, their bulk e-mails were being over-looked and never grabbed their member’s attention as they were simply being bombarded by hundreds a day.
The general trend world-wide was that fewer people were attending church and more and more were looking online to access the message and encouragement they needed. Having said that, they were still looking to have the same feeling of community they had when attending an actual service. This made me realise that we couldn’t simply provide another portal where people could watch the service and read scriptures, we had to think of ways that the church could engage and connect with their members in a more modern format. I knew that we had to differentiate ourselves if we wanted to achieve this.
It was at this stage that I realised we could make use of app push notifications to immediately draw their member’s attention to important information in the palm of their hands.
As this was not our core business at that stage, it took us roughly 3 years to build the proposed Church Communicator app. We soon realised that the platform we had built could be used by almost any church to help them better engage and communicate with their members and a decision was made to pursue things on a more permanent basis and develop a Church Communicator offering.
In our current Church Communicator you can now not access video recordings of services but also rate them and provide comments and feedback. Members can constantly be engaged with push notifications to draw their attention to important messages in real-time. Feedback can be gathered through polls and surveys and bookings made for facilities. Full event management allows users to R.S.V.P, navigate to the event with google maps and understand the full context of the event. The church can even link into an existing YouTube channel, create an image gallery and house any important documents such as small group material.
These are just some of the enhancements we included to ensure our platform became a useful administration tool and not just another media platform. Not only does it significantly improve communication and engagement but it also helps drive down printing and communication costs drastically to free up funds for important ministries.
This was to become the starting point of what we today call our PeppaComm Community Engagement and Communication Platform.
While writing this article I just realised that the whole formation of the PeppaComm business we today operate, was due to divine intervention. Had I not listened to the inner voice telling me to do good and give back, none of what we have today achieved could have been possible. I’d call that a modern-day miracle and blessing if I ever saw one!
Blessings to all