By Charlotte Mona Roi
The Orchard church in Oxford has embraced technology in its worship services and programming by developing a smartphone app.
The Orchard church in Oxford now has an app that members can use to stream sermons and use as a Bible with reading plans included on their Apple or Android devices.
The app has been available since early February.
“People may not always have a Bible on them, but these days people always have their smartphones on them,” Orchard member Taylor Sams said.
The app is not intended to be the main resource for worship. Orchard Pastor Pat Ward said it is an aid to enhance the fellowship of his congregation by keeping subscribers up to date on events, prayer lists and movements within the church.
“We also love technology and think that if it can be used in a responsible way, it can really help bring people closer to God,” Ward said. “On the flip side, we do have to keep reminding people that technology and podcasts can never replace the deep value that sincere community can have in the life of a Christian.”
Ward worked with the app’s designers to ensure a disclaimer was included regarding the app’s place in the worship experience.
Users of The Orchard’s app can access the full-text English Standard Version Bible with scripture references for each Sunday and information on how to connect with the church through its website and Facebook pages.
This Easter, song lyrics and scripture references will be posted for use at the morning services in the Grove.
Ward said he hopes a tithing feature will be added to the app in the near future.
Development of the app required two weeks to load the desired content, which included the past two year’s sermons, the church’s personal graphics and a short waiting period for app store approvals.
One Orchard member said he is delighted with the app.
“(The app is) very well put together and easy to use,” member Billy Canale said.
“It’s great to have all the podcasts and other church info in the same place.”