Church uses smartphone app to engage congregation

Church uses smartphone app to engage congregation

Projector screen shows 'word cloud' of prayers from congregation. Image: Mike Fitt/Mentimeter/PA

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A church is trialling the use of a live voting smartphone app during sermons to improve the engagement of the congregation.

Those attending Aylsham Parish Church in Norfolk are asked to take their phones to services and use them to answer questions.

The questions will be displayed behind the vicar on a projector screen.

They can also rate hymns they like or dislike to improve future services, and the app has also been used to create a “word cloud” of things the congregation is praying for.

The more the people ask for a particular word, the larger the word will appear on the screen.


'It is pioneering'

Reverend Canon Andrew Beane during a service at his church in Norfolk. Image: Mike Fitt/Mentimeter/PA

Reverend Canon Andrew Beane said: "It has given us an opportunity to be much more interactive in our worship".

"I would like to think it's pioneering," he said. "We're holding on to the traditional but embracing new technology to make it more relevant to society today."

The church already offers its congregation free internet access through a scheme called WiSpire, and has TripAdvisor, Facebook and Twitter pages.

The app has currently been used in three services and plans to do so for future special events.

Reverend Beane said: "Sometimes you can ask a question and people are shy, but by using the app, everybody joins in."

He said it had not brought extra people into the church, but encouraged greater interaction between older and younger members of the congregation.

He added that he has already had inquiries from other churches about the technology.