A growing number of people are going to church with a smartphone app. In fact, hundreds of churches across North America already offer apps that let parishioners catch up on sermons, read a pastor’s blog, or get a Jewish blessing for your meal. Other “church apps” let members request and offer prayers to each other - or even offer confessions – from anywhere in the world, at any time or day of the week.

Matt McKee is a former pastor who’s now one of North America’s leading developers of custom-made church apps. He says the main goal is to help churches spread their message beyond the church walls. That’s why the apps have been especially popular with smaller churches, whose members may live too far away to attend every week.

McKee says church apps are also very popular with younger worshippers, whose entire world seems to revolve around technology. In fact, he says many teens today think that if they can’t access it in an app, then it doesn’t exist! So, the hope is that as more churches offer new apps for smartphones or tablets, more people will be able to stay religiously involved at all times - not just on Sunday.

App developers say more than 150 churches across North America have had customized smartphone and tablet apps created to connect with their members. And they're reaching far beyond the local congregation. For example, at Redeemer Church in New York, only 1,700 people attend services – but their app has been downloaded nearly 4,000 times.

Looking for a church app to try? Just go to your app store and type “church” in the search bar.