Church Production

iOS 7’s Impact on Churches

Adding AirDrop to iOS 7 could change the way churches distribute announcements, and dramatically reduce weekly budgets.

By Austin Blackmore
July 5, 2013 12:06 pm EST

Topics: Tech Buzz,
Tags: apple, budgets, communication, iOS7, training,

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The recent beta release of Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 7, has users scrambling at ways to get their hands on a copy. Why? Well, besides the fact that it's just plain gorgeous, there are legions of new features that could have an incredible impact on the way modern churches operate.

In this age of technology, one of the main goals of most tech geeks is to reduce waste. Whenever I walk into my so called mega-church’s auditorium, I’m handed a piece of paper, usually with fancy artwork on the front, and some information about the church on the inside, as well as a few announcements about what’s going on these days in the church. I take the bulletin, just to be nice, and not seem like an antisocial first-timer. I then proceed to walk to my seat, set the aforementioned bulletin under my seat, and then completely forget about it. Due to the many other bulletins I see under and around the pews as I shuffle out after the service, I am not the only one who follows this routine.

Some churches attempt to counter this by recycling bulletins throughout services, but they still end up printing new ones every week.

How about a different approach? What if the greeters at your modern day church didn’t hand you a piece of paper every week, but instead, your pastor, or one of the backstage producers made the weekly announcements appear on your iPhone, or iPad?

One of Apple’s newest claims is that AirDrop will be available on iOS devices starting in September, when iOS 7 will be released to the public. AirDrop is Apple’s utilization of cloud sharing, which allows for files such as pictures and text documents to be shared wirelessly to anyone in the relative vicinity. Using AirDrop, churches could wirelessly send information bulletins to anyone in the room with an iOS 7 device. If even half of the churches attendees had a device running iOS 7, this would drastically reduce the amount of bulletins a church would need to print, allowing them to direct printing funds to more important areas.

To go a step further, and reach virtually all smartphone users, churches could develop apps like the Hope Community Church (Raleigh, NC) app, with access to all the weekly church news, small group locations, and information about other ministries. While the creation of an app requires more initiative, it will target a much greater audience and possibly eliminate the need for bulletins entirely.

Financial management is a huge part of any church’s mission. Since churches are non-profit organizations, they must be good stewards of the funds they are provided. AirDrop, as a new feature in iOS 7, provides an extremely simple and free way for churches to distribute information to their congregation.


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I wonder if video content is also game for this application, or soon will be.

By Neal Browne | July 17, 2013

I think this great. Could you please give a little more insight to include all smartphones?

By Alondio Hill | July 15, 2013

Before bulletins people brought themselves and heard announcements and relied on personal memory. Then came bulletins to serve as reminders, first using a gel, then those purple ink machines, then mimeographs printed from stencils, then finally came printers. Notice in all of these high-tech progressions, the individual didn't have to bring anything to church other than a Bible. Today few bring a Bible, but instead should we actually encourage/require people to bring devices with them, just to get the news?

By Lee Menningen | July 15, 2013

Great article and I love to hear about forward thinking. We need to remember this IS cutting edge stuff, we are seeing the beginning stages of a digital emergence within ALL churches. This is how it begins and we as tech geeks have a way to shape how information will be disseminated to member and guests. I think it's great!

By Jeff Whitley | July 13, 2013

People are over complicating this. Simply, have a website with some sort of live feeder using some (really pretty basic) ajax. Get the A/V team ready with just the admin panel for the page, push it out as the pastor/person giving the notices reads them out. Don't need the newest OS, or device. Just a web page open. Then works cross platform, for those with iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets, Windows phones -- even windows laptops, netbooks, older blackberry devices, kids with their iPod touches who are connected to the (hopefully monitored/restricted wireless network). So long as they have an internet connection (and even then you could do a local copy internally on the church's network if you really wanted to be rough about it), they can access the page. Internet is more cross platform than an app.

By Zac Bruce | July 11, 2013

A great, forward thinking idea, but if you don't have an iphone? and even if a church creates its own app, if you don't have a smart phone? Kind of leaves out a bunch of people, and leaving out people should not happen in a church.

By sue | July 10, 2013

Living in the production world of IT, the worst thing I see happen is the early adoption of any new technology enhancement. The thought of jumping on a version 1.0 of a product and advertising it to your customers is a path to disaster. And I also concur with the other comments here on what you do for the other 85 % of the congregation.

By David | July 10, 2013

Reaching people digitally requires their concent. I agree that people are definatly going to receive content different ways because not everyone is going to or wants to get a iOS device or technology intrusion at all. Plus you would have to identify every device and push the data to them for authorization. I have an android phone and an ipad, I think the NFC tags are really a great idea because you are getting consent and not requiring a security wall to be let downtown a network device. But not all people have that technology. I think until there is more unity between device intake formats we won't see large scale acceptance without an central app or mobile site to access. Plus imagine that many people on your church's wifi while you trying to stream or communicate with your equipment. Just that for some churchs could make direct wifi communication prohibitive.

By Brian Bauer | July 10, 2013

Seems like a lot of work to reach the 15% of the congregation that has the latest and greatest Apple products. Maybe a simpler and further reaching solution would be to email the weekly program as a PDF to a subscription list and then everyone, including people like me with my Android phone and tablet can take part.

By Scott | July 09, 2013

Awesome possibility, and perfect timing with release in September.

By Darrell Marlow | July 09, 2013

Although I agree we are heading in the digital direction, I still think most people need to receive information multiple times and in multiple ways. I predict the church will simply ADD things like AirDrop to the list of ways they communicate along with email, twitter, texting, facebook, vimeo, youtube, websites/blogs, phone calls, iOSApps, postcards/snail-mail, flyers, posters, banners, video, human announcements, paper, A congregation with members ranging from birth to 100 isn't becoming more unified in how they recieve information, they seem to be getting more diversified.

By Alan | July 09, 2013

Air drop is only going to work on the newer iPhone 5, ipad and ipad mini. It won't work on older devices like the 4s and older iPads.

By Nathan Jourdan | July 09, 2013



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