New App Layouts Coming Soon

You asked for it. We told you we were building it. And now it’s here! We are excited to announce that new app layouts will soon be available to all Subsplash clients. We know you’ve been eagerly awaiting this new feature, and we are excited to provide you with even more options for customizing your app. Here’s a sneak peek of what will be possible with these new layouts:

layout mockup.jpg

What's new?

We know that you go through great efforts to create awesome content, and these new layouts will give you more options to present that content in a fresh, inviting way, creating a more unique experience for your community. You now have the ability to customize your experience on a deeper level, as these new list layouts can be set up in many ways....each item displayed on the screens above could be configured to house a media item, event, list, giving page, you name it! 

Want to change your app's layout? No problem. You can easily toggle between each layout option in the dashboard. Just one click gives your app a fresh new look. And if you want to change it back to one of the classic designs, that can happen in just one click, too! Check out Passion Movement's app to see this new update in action.

 

It's all in the details

We're taking customization to the next level, providing you with the ability to control even the smallest details in your app. Want to choose what image size is presented? Wish you could edit the side margins? Want to decide whether your text is displayed over your image, below your image, or not at all? Good news: you can do all of those things. Your app will be uniquely yours, and you can make it that way with just a few clicks.

We'll be going live with this feature update very soon... be on the lookout for a dashboard update letting you know that your new layouts are ready. We can't wait to provide you with more ways to customize your content!

Custom Branded Church Apps Are Back!

As you have probably heard, Apple has made some major changes to their App Store policy in recent months. We wrote about those changes here, and now we are writing again because Apple has since updated that policy. If you are a current Subsplash client, you can rest easy and you don’t have to bother reading the rest of this blog, as Apple’s update affects new clients only. We always want to be quick to provide you with honest and clear information about anything involving the Subsplash Platform, and this is no exception. Subsplash has been blessed to work alongside Apple over the past nine years, and we have developed a great relationship with them. This update will help us provide a full spectrum of options for any organization looking to build an app, and we are excited to share it with you.  So what’s going on? Well, let’s dive in!

 

What’s going on?

In recent weeks, Apple has revised its App Store Review Guidelines. The original 4.2.6 App Store policy stated that “Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.” As of December 2017, Apple has updated the 4.2.6 policy, which now states, “Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app’s content.” The new addendum to this policy is huge, as it allows Subsplash to continue publishing standalone custom-branded apps for clients with no deadline. We have been in close communication with Apple about this, and can confirm with you that this is indeed the case. Simply put, standalone custom apps are back!

 

This is great news! Will anything be different than before?

There is one slight difference. In order for Apple to approve your standalone app, your organization must acquire your own Apple developer account. This simply means that if your organization is wanting to build a custom-branded app on the Subsplash Platform, then you must also use or sign up for your own developer account. But don’t fret! Subsplash makes this process simple and attainable for you. With a quick invite to your account, we’ll take care of all the app publishing details so you don’t have to worry about it. We’ve developed and published thousands of apps over the years, so we know a thing or two about the process.

 

What are your plans for The Church App?

We still believe The Church App® is the future of mobile church engagement, and we will continue to build and innovate on that app. Apple’s new update simply provides us with the ability to offer churches a full spectrum of options when deciding which app solution works best for their ministry. Moving forward, Subsplash will offer churches the ability to have a presence within The Church App and build a custom-branded app. Many churches will have both! Each of these options will also include all the extra features and abilities available on the Subsplash Platform, such as Subsplash Web Tools and Subsplash Giving. We’ve built some of the most widely-used custom apps for the last nine years, and we are excited to offer you that option in conjunction with The Church App.

 

I have some questions.

Great, we have answers! And if we don’t, we’ll make sure we find the right answer for you. Subsplash Consultants would love to talk with you about these new updates and help you find the best solution for your organization. If you would like to learn more about the resurrection of custom-branded apps, give us a call at 206-965-8090.

2017: A Year for the Books

Can you believe that we are already nearing the end of 2017?! It seems like just yesterday we were getting ready to share all of our big plans for the year in our 2017 Keynote. This year has gone by fast, but as we reflect on all that’s happened over the last 12 months, we can’t help but be thankful for so many things. And we thought we’d share some of those reflections with you. Here are a few highlights from 2017:

 

New features.

2017 was a busy year for our Software Development team, as many new features and products were added to the Subsplash Platform. Some of the big highlights included Subsplash NotesSubsplash Web ToolsSubsplash Giving Embeds, new ChMS integrations, numerous Dashboard and software updates, and of course, our release of The Church App. We’ve been able to add highly impactful features to our platform at a faster rate than ever before thanks to the amazing people on our Development team. There are some big things in store for 2018, and we can’t wait to share them with you! In the meantime, if any of those features listed above sound unfamiliar to you, click on the links and check them out!  

 

New content.

One of our big focuses of 2017 was creating more content to help you - our partnering ministries - get the most out of the Subsplash Platform. Thanks to the hard work of our team (and some valuable feedback from you!), we produced a handful of webinars, added dozens of new articles to the Knowledge Center, released our first-ever eBook, started our bi-weekly newsletter, and created quite a few new blogsvideos, and emails to help serve you better. We hope you found these resources to be valuable, and we can’t wait to take it up a notch in 2018!

 

More people, more learning, more fun.

2017 saw the Subsplash family grow by 20%, as we added some amazing new people to our team. We didn’t just grow in number, though. Thanks to our People Operations team, 2017 was also a year of growing in knowledge, both of ourselves and our local community. Every Subsplash employee completed a "challenge course" day this past summer, which consisted of numerous team-building activities designed to inform the ways we communicate, plan, and implement new ideas at the office. We also had the chance to partner with Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission this year. They joined us each quarter for a lunch & learn, teaching us about homelessness, addiction, and mental illness. As we continue to grow in our education, we will be able to partner with UGM on a deeper level and serve alongside them as they bring hope to some of the darkest corners in our city. And of course, we had lots of fun. 2017 saw it’s share of many team retreats, adventures, and parties. Check out a few of the highlights below!

As you can see, we have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to be excited about. All of this would not be possible without you - our awesome partnering ministries! It is truly an honor to work alongside you and build software that helps you reach the ends of the earth with the good news of Jesus. We never get tired of hearing about how God is working through your ministry, and we can’t wait to share with you what’s in store for 2018! Happy New Year!

Remembering R.C. Sproul

We were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of R.C. Sproul this week. If you are reading this, then chances are that you share that same sentiment. R.C. was a true builder of the Christian faith - a faithful pastor, teacher, leader, and brother in Christ. His chief aim as a pastor and teacher was for as many people to know Jesus as possible, and his sharp, bold approach helped awaken many souls to the truths of classical Christianity. To say that God used his ministry to build the global church would certainly be an understatement.  

We have been incredibly thankful to partner with R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries over the years, as many on our team here at Subsplash have been personally impacted by R.C.’s teaching. Jon Crabtree, one of our Ministry Consultants, says, “Ten years ago, I was a recent college graduate struggling with the intellectual foundations of my faith. Listening to R.C.’s podcast on a daily basis was a gift to me at that time, as it helped strengthen my understanding of the truth of Christianity.”  

Although R.C. is no longer with us here on this earth, his legacy and teaching will continue to live on for generations. And more importantly, he now gets to experience the riches of Jesus face to face, and a new life void of pain, suffering, and strife. While we, along with his family, friends, and many others, will miss his presence and teaching, we rejoice that he is at rest with his Savior and we look forward to the day when the Church is united together with Christ.

Keep Your Christmas Visitors Coming Back

Don’t look now, but Christmas Eve is in less than two weeks! If you are a pastor or church leader, your schedule is probably filled with staff meetings surrounding this momentous weekend. And for good reason, too! Not only is Christmas the day we celebrate Jesus coming into the world to save us from sin and death, but the Christmas weekend is also one of the highest-attended church services around the world each year. These visitors who come through your doors do not merely represent a number or statistic, but an opportunity to spread the gospel throughout your community. We know that you’ve probably spent many days planning out how to best engage with your Christmas visitors, so we won’t try to unravel those plans. But we do want to give just a few tips on how you can use the Subsplash Platform to capitalize on this opportunity to engage with your local community this Christmas season:

Announce your app from the stage.

There is a very high likelihood that each person who comes through your doors next weekend owns a smartphone or tablet (according to Pew Research, 77% of American adults own a smartphone). So why not share with them one of the easiest ways to stay connected to your church? Even a quick 30-second plug will do wonders for post-Christmas engagement. Now every person who is sitting in the audience knows where to go to find all of your church’s content, and they can even do it right there from their seat! Additionally, you can create an “I’m New” push notification group and encourage visitors to opt into that group to receive more information about your church. We’ll touch on that again shortly.

Go digital.

Going to church on Christmas Eve may be overwhelming for some who are first-time visitors. You probably have a strategy in place to connect with new folks, but let’s face it….your staff and greeting team can’t meet every new person who comes through your doors, especially if you have a larger ministry. The unfortunate reality is that even with a robust plan in place, some people who enjoyed your service or would like more information about your church may slip through the cracks. This is where technology can help fill that void. By adding your connect card, a welcome message, and any other relevant signup forms or information to your app, you can make it easy for everyone to get connected, even after church is over. Your printed bulletin and connect card may end up in the trash, but your digital connect card will be in everyone’s pocket at all times. There will probably be people who forget to stop by your connect desk, throw your Sunday bulletin away, or feel compelled to get in touch after stewing on the message for a few days. Since you’ve announced the app from the stage, they now have it on their phone, and since you have your connect card and welcome materials in the app, they can easily get in touch with your church.

Use push notifications.

Remember how you announced your app from the stage and encouraged visitors to join the new push notification group during the service? Now it’s time to follow up! Send out a push notification to the “I’m New” group thanking them for attending and offering any follow up information that you think would be helpful. This could include your connect card, a welcome video, information about how to get in touch with a pastor, or even just an encouraging passage of scripture. Unlike most emails, push notifications get extremely high open rates, and this will add a nice personal touch to your follow up process. On top of that, push notifications have a much lower barrier to entry when it comes to connecting with people. Not everyone is going to be immediately comfortable with providing their personal information (email, home address, phone, etc) to you - especially if they are a first-timer, and no personal information is required to receive a push notification. If you’d like some visuals that show users how to subscribe to push notification groups, we’ve got a video for you here.

Download The Church App.

With so many people traveling to visit friends and families over the holidays, chances are that some of your visitors may not be staying in your town for long. Good news: helping them find a church in their hometown doesn’t have to be hard! In fact, it can happen in a matter of seconds, right on their phone. The new search tools available in The Church App allow any user to quickly find a church based on name or location, and engage with that church’s content in a matter of seconds. Check out The Church App today to see for yourself!

 

Want some more tips and ideas? Check out this webinar from our Client Success team! They’ve compiled a list of creative ways to boost engagement before, during, and after your Christmas Eve services. We are praying that God would use all of your hard work and preparation to draw people to himself, and we can’t wait to hear stories of all the amazing things he does through your ministry! Merry Christmas to all!