When Elevation Church decided to add a mobile app to its digital experience, it found a third-party provider that specialized in working with churches. The company offered one core product that could be customized to suit the needs of an individual organization — but only to an extent.
There were limits to what the app company could provide, and for an organization as nimble as Elevation, those limitations quickly became a real problem, said Cherish Rush, communications director at Elevation.
The live experience wasn’t functioning properly, and that was a priority for the organization. Making changes or getting updates took too long. Customer service was limited on Saturdays and Sundays — important days for a church. And the app provided limited data, meaning Elevation couldn’t see what was resonating with users and what wasn’t, Cherish explained.
“We were just ready to have more custom capabilities. We wanted to create something we could update whenever we needed to and to build it in way that would work as our online experience continues to grow,” she said.
Elevation isn’t just looking to digitize its core content offerings. Like most brands out there, the organization wants to build engaged digital communities. That requires constant analysis of user data and an agile approach to technology development — neither of which was possible with the mobile application the church was using.
“We want people to have the connection to a local church, and we want the same thing for those people who attend online. They’re not just consuming content. They want the resources to grow in their faith,” she said. “The end game is really letting people build community right where they’re at because we understand that church may just look different in the next 10 or 20 years.”
Elevation has a robust internal development team, with front- and back-end developers on staff. But building a mobile application presented a different challenge — one Elevation wasn’t yet ready to tackle in house. Instead, the organization wanted to bring in an outside expert to custom-build the app. Then, it would hire someone to manage and update the app going forward.