One of the questions heard from time to time as MMM gets around various groups is “what kind of applications make sense for minsitry/religions?” Applications and services which share one’s faith, engage the reading of texts/codexes, and maybe the entertainment section where there are variations on the previously mentioned types are the norm. But, I think its not that difficult to see where the opportunity lies for other types of applications and services. You just need to look at what else religion does that makes sense in the context of an app or service.
For example, while reading some news from TechCrunch, I noticed that they highlighted an applcation called Wedding Party. Wedding Party is an online service tied to an application that attendees to a wedding can all use to take pictures, and then upload them to a single online album. Given that many weddings happen at a church, or are at least facilitated by one, this would seem to have been an easy grab for some of the larger churches that have those really beautiful sanctuaries, and are frequently asked “do you know anyone who can take photos/video of our special day?”
Tomi Ahonen talked some weeks ago about the mBillionth awards and highlighted several applications that not just make sense for those who developed and voted for them there, but also for churches who might be looking for innovative ways to leave an imprint on their missional efforts that works a bit different than the norm. One of the apps Ahonen highlighted was an SMS dictionary… that’s something that should so easily be purposed for teaching languages and reading in oral-centric cultures. Don’t leave the oral tradition, just accent it with the tech in one’s hand and teach generations to be bi-modal in a different sense.
A few weeks ago, I was in an area of Virgina with a auto that had some mechanical issues. As I waited for the diagnosis of things in the car dealership, I started to wonder a bit about the town that I was in. So I did what I normally do, go get something to eat and ask the locals (if they are friendly). Now, the locals were able to tell me a little, but not really much in terms about what they liked or was something to visit while (unintentionally) in town. What would have been really good is if the deonminations that were present in that town had something of an AR (augmented reality) or web pointer on their signs that would provoke me to pull out my mobile and start to investigate the ways that faith has been exercised in that town. Just something as simple as pointing me to a website, or having a website on the sign with the church name would have been helpful, and at least gave me something of a scavenger hunt towards engaging the city. I’m sure business leaders in small towns would love an idea like that, especially if it could be easily monetized and tracked with something like Layar Creator Pro.
All I’m saying is that you don’t need to stop your mobile thinking at the apps and services that are logical. There’s plenty of room out there to do more. Its not really that hard even. Just think about what happens in and around your church, and if having an app or service along with it would make sense, how about making some plans to do something just a little bit different than the norm?