Whenever we are in trouble, we seek the blessings of the almighty. This is something that comes naturally. Today, when the world is in great despair due to the COVID crisis, prayers have become more meaningful than ever before.
Amid the pandemic times, news broke out in different parts of the world related to corona spread in religious gatherings. The question which arises here is, “Is faith more important than health?”.
We hold no intention to make any of our readers to believe that faith is above health or health is above faith. But as technologists, Sparx IT Solutions does support the utilization of Online Prayer Platforms to balance faith and health.
It is the need of the hour to start using technology as a utility and stop using it as a tool for innovation. During the stressful times of slowdown in the global economy along with physical distancing, faith in technology is the only way to keep ourselves honest to our religion as well as fitness.
It seems unlikely to get a lawful green signal for religious gatherings in the near future. Putting a halt to group prayer meetings until the world overcomes the virus is not a smart decision. Online prayer platforms can become a support for our religious beliefs.
What is the Impact of COVID on Online Prayer Platforms?
From grocery delivery apps to telemedicine apps, we have seen huge increases in their downloads due to the ‘new normal’ norms. Being one of the very private affairs of a devotee and his/her belief, entities are doubtful whether they will receive acceptance for their online prayer platforms or not.
Some of the people have always accepted these platforms with wide arms. But many people have preferred to visit religious places physically. This does not show that they are firmly reluctant to these platforms even during the times when the world is witnessing fear of coronavirus spread in the community meetings.
According to the report of an American analytics and advisory company, Gallup:
“the most dramatic result (in religion) has been the exceedingly quick shift of religious services from in-person to online worship.”
To give greater insight, let us understand the journey of an online prayer platform Churchome. It was initially established for non-churchgoers but later the administration found out that most of the ardent users of the platform are regular churchgoers.
You will be shocked to know that from 3000 users per week, Churchome witnessed a rise of 150% in the number of people using its app. On this sudden growth in demand, the CEO of Churchome, David Kroll, says:
“The hunger for that content is unlike anything I’ve ever seen (and) I think church will never be the same”
Undoubtedly, this is not the only growing online prayer platform. Online worship has become an indispensable part of “new normal”. This gradual shift of people from in-person to online worship is going to see a remarkable increase in Church App Development.
Do Religious Entities Support Online Prayer Meetings?
The practice of religions has seen a drastic change during the pandemic around the globe. Religious services are reached out to the masses via various platforms, from radio to smart TV apps. Various churches around the globe have moved to online platforms.
Do you know, a legal firm in the USA, First Liberty Institute, issued guidelines on the suspension of religious institutions’ activities during the pandemic 2020?
According to Pew Research, every 6 in 10 people who used to visit the church in pre-COVID times have started watching church services on the internet or TV. The general public has safeguarded their religious sentiments by taking ways of digital platforms.
As we all know, the views of official religious entities have a great impact on any changes in the ways of worship. There are many Episcopal and Catholic dioceses who have recommended people to stay home and join church services through online mediums.
The Anglican priest Jonathan Warren Pagán who is the Christian doctrine of the Body of Christ write this statement on “Spiritual Communion During the COVID–19 Pandemic”:
“We should suspend our gathered worship during this season and move to online formats so as to do our part for the common good, to “flatten the curve” of this pandemic.”
Apart from Christianity, various other religious entities have advised the suspension of the physical presence of devotees for religious gatherings. With the support of these widely accepted entities, millions of churches around the world are ready to meet the churchgoers through a Church App Development.
What are the Types of Online Prayer Platforms?
Whenever anyone decides to bring something over the online platform, technology offers them multiple ways. Here are some of the types of online prayer platforms, you can choose from:
Smart TV Prayer Apps
These apps are basically used for the live streaming of religious activities. People use this type of app to view the Church services with the help of a smart TV. Hundreds of people around the globe can access their regular religious services at the same time.
These live streaming are done by the Church administration to fulfill the religious needs of the people. The Smart TV prayer app not only helps the people to conduct prayer in regular formats but also encourages the non-churchgoers to utilize digital platforms. Creating a Smart TV prayer app is the most viable idea in the times of COVID.
eChurch Mobile Apps
These apps are quite similar to smart TV apps but they are specific to one religion, that is, Christianity. These apps are available for Churchgoers and non-goers to access church services through the apps.
The church administration can create such apps to stay connected to their visitors online. There are many church mobile apps that provide users with quick access to church services and bridge the physical gap between them.
Prayer Mobile Apps
We have everything for our comfort on our smartphones. Why abandon the peace of fetching any prayer in a few clicks? Prayer mobile apps are like a library of religious prayers. You can register on these platforms to get access to the prayers. This helps people to pray in peace with the help of a mobile app.
Video Chat Apps
The video chat apps like HouseParty are gaining immense importance for entertainment and professional purposes. COVID has given them an extended purpose that finds its roots in the religious sentiments of the general public.
People are organizing video conference calls using platforms like skype, google meets, zoom calls, etc. to gather for religious purposes. Although there is not a specific app for prayers’ purpose. Hence, you can create one to become the pioneer in this mobile app development category.
Almost all religious entities have their well-maintained websites. During COVID times, the websites have been getting more importance. It has become a new point of contact for religious activities.
Many websites have also started COVID prayers and support plans to help corona patients or the ones in dire need of food and shelter. By integrating social media, they have started live sessions on social networking sites. If you have a similar website then do get a redesign or web development services to revamp their performance and reach.
What are the Features of Online Prayer Platforms?
Every app must have a few features to attract the right audience and retain them for a long time period. As we have seen there are different types of online prayer platforms, one list of features cannot work for all. Here are some common features of online prayer platforms:
Registration of users on every online platform is important for the administration to serve them for a long period. You can use Google API for better authentication of the users. Most prayer platforms have a detailed form for registration. Generally, family and faith details are asked in these registration forms.
Live Video Streaming
This is one of the most crucial features to let users get in touch with the daily prayers conducted at Church from the homes. Live video streaming of Church sessions keep the users safe as well as connected with their religious places. It is the perfect way to maintain a balance between physical distancing and regular prayers.
Most of the religious entities have non-profit approaches and ask for donations for their regular maintenance. During COVID times, such entities have also started collecting funds to help the people in need. After all, religions are the main backing source for humanity! Isn’t it right in your perception? The payment integration with a reliable gateway will let you raise funds for noble causes effortlessly.
This feature will keep your users in touch with you always. Notifications give alerts about new updates, next video streaming, online prayer meeting, etc. This feature increases the engagement of the users with your online prayer platform.
Social Media Integration
Similar to what Churchome is doing, you can also connect with the users of your apps on social media. The social networking platforms allow the option for live sessions which you can utilize to conduct prayer meetings. Hence, if you are aiming to increase your network then social media integration is a must.
Artificial intelligence has changed the ways in which customer support services were provided. With a multi-purpose prayer app, many situations are generated when you have to talk with your users promptly. During such time, modern solutions for user interaction; chatbots are used. They are perfect for human-like and real-time conversations with a bot.
How will you know if the users are happy with your app or not? Feedback options after every live video streaming or donations will make your users feel valuable. Moreover, the users’ suggestions in the feedback forms will let your administration improve their practices. This will open gateways for the improvement of your services.
What is the Church App Development Cost?
The mobile development cost is majorly dependent on your decisions. If you want to develop a cost-effective online prayer platform then you will have to make certain informed decisions. Here are the factors that will impact the cost of online prayer platform:
Choice of mobile app development platform:
There are different types of mobile app development platforms. Choosing the one among them is totally dependent on your target audience. If you want to target the users of Apple devices then you must choose to avail of the iOS development cost.
On the other hand, if you want to target the users of Android devices then choose an efficient android app development company. Both platforms have a severe impact on the overall cost of the development as well as the testing of mobile apps.
Apart from the native app development, you can choose to avail of the cross-platform or hybrid app development. Services like react-native app development or flutter app development can create apps that will seamlessly run on various mobile app platforms.
Basic feature integration:
Some of the features are basic in nature. Some of them are a library of prayers, registration, feedback, etc. You cannot create the minimum viable product of an online prayer platform without these primary features. In a nutshell, the cost of integrating such features in your apps is the basic or fixed cost that cannot be avoided.
Advanced feature integration:
Basic features will help you serve the main purpose of your app but never make your app competitive. It is important to integrate the latest technologies with your app to make it stand out. You can leverage modern technologies like AR, VR, IoT, AI or blockchain, etc.
GPS tracking, location sensing, or Google maps Integration will also add to the cost. You can also say that the advanced features decide the variable cost of the church app development. The more budget you have, the more features you can add!
Development process and contract:
The mobile app development processes have an immense impact on cost. For example, if a mobile app development company will follow an agile approach to develop your eChurch app then their team will communicate with you regularly.
The constant reports of project managers and feedback from clients can eliminate the chances of creating blunders at the end of the complete development of a mobile app. Another factor is the terms of the contract between you and your partner mobile app development company.
When we hire mobile app developers, there are various choices of hiring models. Choosing the right one among weekly, hourly, yearly, or fixed cost models is important to save yourself from unnecessary expenditures.
What is Next?
Most of the points, facts, and statistics covered in this blog give a green signal for the development of an online prayer platform. The religious communities accept existing online prayer platforms and expect many more to fulfill their growing demands.
The noble initiative should not be delayed. It is important to adapt to the new normal and encourage others as well for the same. There is no point in waiting more for changing your online prayer platform development vision into perfect execution.
Sparx IT Solutions holds sufficient experience in creating innovative and competitive mobile apps. Consult with our experts to decide the features and tech-stack for your online prayer mobile app development. We hope everyone gets peace during these tough times. Amen.