You have already made the decision that you will use mobile as the first channel that you will broadcast and engage your community. You have not settled on applications, websites, or any kinds of marketing tools, but you are certain that you want to use the most that you can with mobile.
Sounds good to me. Here are the characteristics of mobile then you want to keep in mind:
Mobile is the first (and most prevalent) personal mass media
It’s not just that mobile is where markets are focusing, it is where people are focusing on individual levels. And they are actively filtering content and the context of their personal, professional, and spiritual lives thru several mobile devices and services.
Get over the fact that people will not make you their priority, or their authority. You will be one of several streams. But, you can (and should) play a significant role in helping them to manage those streams.
Mobile is permanently carried
A mobile device is seemingly carried by everyone. If it isn’t a phone, it’s a personal media player, game system, music player, and sometimes even a voice recorder. Whatever it is, the device is closer to them than your application or service is. Learn the moments when your mobile effort will best be used, and use the fact that something is carried as part of the reason to be present for that moment.
Mobile is always-on
Always on doesn’t necessarily mean always having a signal. It means that there is power flowing to a device that can garner secondary attention from a primary event. This means that your application or service doesn’t have to sit front and center to their attention, but it should be available in those moments where someone is defaulting to considering something outside of an event going on immediately around them.
And what about those people who aren’t on because a device has lost power. Considering being the point where they power the device back up, and draw a solution for broadcasting or engagement to that point (not necessarily to the mobile device).
Mobile has a built-in payment mechanism
First things that ring in the pocket here are tithes and offerings. Get over it. Unless you are making your online giving systems as efficient as Amazon and iTunes, this won’t gain much traction. Doesn’t mean that people won’t give, but that they will have expectations. Slow services, countless clicks, and an unoptimized experience will simply merit the same responses that giving kiosks have had.
You can, and should, partner with those organizations whom are doing mobile/online giving. Use this as a teaching point for money management and information security. Yes, you are qualified to do so, and this is relevant not only to mobile, but any terminal where payments can be collected.
Mobile is available at the point of creative inspiration
Just because you cannot draw or produce award winning videos on your mobile doesn’t mean that it is impossible. Encourage the creative members of your communities to create and upload to the shared church/organization website the products they create. To those of you already using drama and painting arts in worship services, extend that to those things created dynamically during the service as well. I am sure that sketchbooks and sketchnotes could be really interesting in this wise.
Don’t dismiss the written language. Yes, SMS is only worth about 140 characters, and that’s a good thing. Teach people to pray or write psalms in that space. Again, encourage sharing and broadcasting a specific points in community life. Then, let creative life happen.
Mobile has the most accurate audience measurement
Some of you have justified fears about people tweeting or texting during sermons. You also what that response just as soon as they have it. Consider setting up a Google Voice account where voice and text messages can be set during a service, and then as a leadership team, pray and vet thru the responses for a followup in the next meeting.
Mobile captures the social context of media consumption
If your members are on Facebook more than they are in the Word, consider using those social networks that connect to Facebook as a means to get their eyes in front of the text. And if they are on Facebook and other social networks, are you there with them? What are they talking about? What are the pictures most about? Does your conceptualization of the Gospel meet the, where they live, or where you would like them to live (implying that their lives are meaningless because they don’t follow your pattern of faith)?
Mobile allows augmented reality to be used in media
Augmented reality (and virtual reality) means that you are placing a layer of content, usually online, on top of the real world. Sometimes, this looks like making sure that you are listed in Google Maps so that people can find you using Street View. This can also be the using of QR Codes so that people are accessing their mobile device, and making a shorter step to keeping mind of important information that in just hearing it.
This can also be done in geo-games between churches/groups. This can be a photo mashup compiled from the mobile devices and cameras of several in your community, but layered into the existing web presence your church/org offers.
There are a lot of ways to take mobile and make it work for you. It’s not all about applications, mobile web, or text messaging either. Using the unique qualities of mobile, where you go with it becomes up to your community, not market trends.