What’s better: In-N-Out or Five Guys?
You could ask thousands of people around the country and you would get a split evenly down the middle. Out here in California, we are a little biased. Here in San Diego, we are especially biased. In-N-Out is by far the better burger, of course. Five Guys is good and all, but nothing beats the classic Double Double with cheese and grilled onions, with extra crispy homemade fries.
The thing is: you can’t really compare the two; it’s not fair to either one. The restaurants are completely different. The vibe is no where near the same, the burgers are night and day different, the fries and style are either thin or thick, and then there’s the menu. The menu is the thing that separates the two. While In-N-Out has a condensed menu, only offering their tried and true selections, Five Guys will give you anything and everything on your burger. If you can find it on the menu, then you can put it on your burger.
You cannot compare the two products. They are not the same. Different company. Different style. Different menu. Different clientele. Just. Plain. Different.
The same thing can be said for the church app marketplace. Just like everyone loves a good burger, everyone loves a good app. Almost the entire American population is connected to the internet and over 90% of their activity is done via apps. But the offering of those apps is different across the board.
Some churches throw absolutely everything at their audience (Five Guys), while others offer only a limited sampling of their menu (In-N-Out). We’ve done our best to inform our audience that apps are for your internal audience, websites are for your external audience. The two platforms are not the same and should be treated with distinction.
Today, there are dozens of solid app providers in the church app marketplace. If you were to do a simple google search, your results would turn in hundreds of pages on the subject, from app providers, to insightful tips on how to succeed with your church app. There is not a lack of information to be found. But that is also an issue we need to weed through.
Because there is so much information out there for the consumer (churches), the task to find the right church app provider becomes almost unbearable. Every church app provider thinks they are the best, and most will have some sort of data to back that statement up. Here’s the thing: not everyone can be the best. Some will be good, others will be great. There will be those that rise to the top and others that fizzle out after a year in business.
We call ourselves agnostic reviewers. While we do have our favorite app providers, we also want to make sure that you can trust us exclusively because we are doing the on-the-ground research, in order to provide you the best church app experience. In essence, our research and testing of the market allows you to filter through the fluff, choose the right app partner, and launch with confidence.
While there are over a dozen highly reputable companies out there that can serve your needs and help you launch your app effectively, we have narrowed our scope to four tried, true, and tested church app providers. We have worked with each company personally: from concept to launch of a new church app, to ongoing customer service, to technical errors in the system that need immediate attention. We stand behind these companies, not because we are their affiliates (we are not, and have in fact turned down affiliation deals multiple times from many companies), but because we trust them exclusively. We know that at the end of the day, you can select any one of the four church app providers with full confidence, knowing that your audience will be highly engaged in your app, that your administration will be able to easily navigate and keep up with ongoing updates, and that the customer service each company provides will be the best in the business.
Why do we trust and recommend these four companies?
- People over profit. Each company has the initial right mindset that you want to work with. They all are heavily invested in their own local churches, contribute in big ways to growing the Kingdom, and have a workplace atmosphere where Jesus is first. We can tell you firsthand that this value is clearly evident across the board. We would not recommend a company to you if they didn’t share this common value. Like us, they start and end with the church in mind, and when you are doing everything you can to effectively accomplish your mission, you need someone in your corner who believes that as strongly as you do. As a sidenote: When your focus is on the church and not your company, profit growth will almost always rise accordingly.
- Customer service. Outside of our shared common interest in growing healthy churches, each company presents and stands by their dedicated customer service team. We have dealt with each team personally, know some of the teams on a first name basis, and can tell you from experience that each one of them is willing and able to get on the phone with you at a moment’s notice. Perhaps more than anything else, we value customer service above all. While app providers can have amazing technology and beyond gorgeous interfaces, if their customer service lacks, we will never recommend them (We’ve had to remove vendors from our site because of this issue before; that’s never fun). On the flip-side, if the tech and interface is lacking, we can recommend a company if their team is willing to work with you in order to achieve your objectives. Working with a partner is so much more valuable than working with someone who makes pretty things.
- User dashboard. Let’s face it: No one will use anything if the learning curve is too steep, if it takes hours to train (have you ever self-taught yourself at any church management platform), and it takes a single dedicated staff member to consistently update anything. No amount of hand-holding will help you succeed if it is not simple and reproducible. That is why we place such a strong emphasis on back-end user interface. If the layout, application, and interface is simple enough for the part-time volunteer at the church, then we can stand behind it. If it is more complicated than that, then it is just not worth it. You could be thinking, “But this one company has features and a feel we really like. Why should we look elsewhere?” The answer is all about simplicity and reproduction in training. People have enough complication in their lives that we do not need to bog them down with the unneeded weight of an overly complicated platform. We don’t have the time, energy, or resources to waste on something that is not going to work out over the long run. Not to mention the scenario of what if, meaning, what happens if you ever decide to move away from an overly complicated platform years down the road? Then you have wasted untold hours of training and volunteer resources, time that could have been spent doing other productive ministry related things. In short, these companies spend vast time and energy curating the right admin dashboard for you and your team, so anyone can easily update anything at any time.
- Value. Have you bought a car recently? There is no other experience like it. You walk into the lot after hours of searching vehicle models online, finding the right price point, the features you want, and then the usual happens: your salesperson says they need to go in the back and talk to the manager once you start talking final prices. No one likes to be treated like that, let alone find out that what they signed up for is not what they will be getting a year or two down the road. We want to know the bottom line cost up-front, before we ever sign on the dotted line. The four companies we trust and recommend are value-based companies who like us, start and end with the church in mind. Their prices are clear up front with no hidden fees. Their cost-breakdowns are clearly evident from their websites and discussions with their sales team. Everything they have is up close and personal. Because we live in a Google and Amazon world, we know prices before purchase. This is a good thing, as the market has demanded honesty up-front. And when it comes to managing your church’s finances from start to finish, you want to know that you are in good, trustworthy hands.
- Giving integration. The conversation used to be two-fold: Do you have mobile giving and do you have an app? That conversation is antiquated now. The conversation must be one in the same. Your app needs to be able to allow your users (think: recurring givers) the option to give online, fast – Open the app, select give, enter the amount, submit, done. This is the process every user is looking for. Don’t make them navigate to another platform, open a Safari browser on their phone, or use a completely different giving platform. Each of these apps is currently set-up for success in this mode or is a development stage away from getting there. They all offer an app with giving built in, a streamlined process for users too give, and one-click integrations with most church management software. In the end, this ends up with happy givers and joyful bookkeepers. Trust us, you want both.
- Feature sets. The market has changed a lot over the last few years. What one company excelled at doing four years ago, is now something everyone is doing with excellence. It used to cost an arm and a leg to get the features you wanted, but now everything is available for a reasonable price. We are living in an exponentially growing technological age, where leaps and bounds are made every day, and these massive growth steps are passed onto us as consumers, made accessible by the vast adoption of every major platform who seeks to be around next year (that was a mouthful). There are very few features that separate one app platform from the other, so your final decision about which partner to roll with must ultimately come down to the other five factors we have listed above. After all, market demands shift production. If you are looking for a common feature that one platform does not have, give it a quarter and it will be there. Doubt it? Just ask them.
Do we have a favorite? We absolutely do: the one that works for you. For real. We want you to succeed in reaching those near and far from God, in order to grow His church now and into the future. Any one of the four app platforms we are recommending could be the right fit for you. What can you do about it? Check out the church app platform feature set and cost breakdown we have curated directly from each company’s representatives, discuss it with your in-house team, call each company up, and pull the trigger. Need more help than that? We can help there too. We work closely with each company, which is why we are able to stand firmly behind each one. Let us work with you to find the right church app platform, so you can relax and focus on what makes you great: accomplishing your God-given mission.
Your next right step?
You can visit our four recommended church app platforms by clicking on the images below. As a reminder, we get absolutely nothing in return for our recommendation, other than the knowledge that no matter which four of the options you choose, you will be set up for success.
About the church app features and cost comparisons chart:
- The information included in the chart is done to the best of our knowledge.
- All information was submitted by the app providers via online secure form.
- We used each platform’s most feature-rich option to create an even field.
- Because of this, we did not include any special rates or sales for any platforms.
- Some platforms increase in cost, according to scale of service.
- Pricing was done on a month to month basis. Some have better yearly options.