The Facts About the Apple App Store

There have been a lot of people commenting about Apple’s recent App Store policy changes. Subsplash has a long-standing developer relationship with Apple going back to 2008, and we have spoken with them in great detail on this topic. We’d like to share the info with you. Here are the facts:

What changes did Apple make to the App Store policy?

Apple changed the policy for the App Store with the advent of iOS 11 back at the World Wide Developer Conference in June. One of the the most notable changes causing a stir was found in rule 4.2.6. The new guideline states this: “Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.” Apple has made it clear in the follow ups from this announcement that they will no longer be allowing these types of apps in the app store through these services.

Will my existing app built by Subsplash remain and continue to be updated in the App Store?

Yes. As a Subsplash client, if you already have your own branded app in the app stores, it will continue being updated. Apple has confirmed that Subsplash will be able to continue updating our current apps on iOS and we have not been given any kind of deadline for these apps. This means Subsplash will continue pushing updates for new features and bug fixes. No company can guarantee an app will exist forever as Apple can always change their policy, but we can assure you that your app is in good standing and is not included in the current deadlines given to some other companies in our industry. At Subsplash, we build everything from the ground up: design, development, support, consulting, and working directly with Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon to comply with their app store guidelines.

I’ve heard that all church apps are going to be removed from the Apple App Store. Is that true?

No. Apple has announced new policies that affect companies offering apps. Some of these companies are claiming that all church apps will no longer be supported in the App Store and will be removed. While this may be true for other companies, this is not true for Subsplash apps and for Subsplash clients. Some companies that offer apps may be affected more broadly by these changes because they have rented, white-labeled, or re-sold templates to build apps. Again, apps built by Subsplash are Apple App Store approved and will continue to be supported into the future. If Apple were to ever change their policy in a way that will affect your service with Subsplash, we will always communicate with you directly and keep you posted on how it would affect you. 

What new tools will be coming available for Subsplash clients?

With Subsplash, ministries continue to have their app in the major app stores and have it regularly updated going forward without an end date, and they will also benefit from being a founding member of The Church App. Check out The Church App® in the iOS App Store or Google Play. Thousands of leading churches and ministries are in The Church App such as The Village Church, Eaglebrook Church, Fresh Life Church, North Point Community Church, Harvest: Greg Laurie, and many more. This app allows each church to have their own mobile presence within The Church App for their community to call home with all the rich benefits of the Subsplash platform. This app will greatly increase discoverability for Christian churches by allowing end users to have an incredible search tool at their fingertips. Using geo-locations, maps, and name search, people can find churches nearby and jump right in to check it out. That means more opportunities for Gospel-centered content to be shared and great discoverability for the greater community. Subsplash is committed to equipping Jesus-focused churches and ministries around the world with mobile technology. We work hard to make it powerful and simple for you! Get ready for the next level in church mobile engagement!

What about churches that don’t have an app yet?

For new Subsplash clients who signup today and into the future, they will have two options: 1.) Be part of The Church App and/or 2.) Create an enterprise-level, custom, stand-alone app. Subsplash is here to offer both. By God’s grace, we’ve been building custom and platform software for thousands of leading ministries and have created software experiences for several Fortune 500 companies for years––even before the original iPhone was even announced. We’ve worked with Apple from day-one, have developed some of the most downloaded apps of all time, and are looking forward to what God has in store for the future!

What to look for

We’ll be keeping you posted as we roll out updates. We welcome your feedback and input. We are thankful for the churches and ministries around the world we get to serve and can’t wait to see what God will do next!

In Christ,

Tim Turner, CEO

updated 11/10/17

3 Ways to Utilize Subsplash Web Tools

Our newest addition to the Platform - Subsplash Web Tools - is finally here! We've been working hard on this new feature set and we are excited for you to start diving into it. In the wake of this product release, here are three ideas (complete with examples!) of how you can utilize some of the new features in Subsplash Web Tools:

 

Media Library Embed

Remember when using the Subsplash Web Player meant that users who clicked "Sermons" or "Media" would be taken to a new page outside of your website? Those days are gone. With the Media Library embed, you can now embed your entire sermon library inside your current website. Embedding your entire media library inside your website benefits both you and your users. You'll be able to save time by uploading each week's sermon just once. By simply uploading your file to the Subsplash Dashboard and clicking "publish", that sermon will automatically populate your website, app, and podcast. With the new embed feature, your users will be able to engage with your entire library without leaving your website or going to a new unfamiliar page. We've also added a "search" feature for those of you who have more extensive libraries, so your users can easily locate any content. To see an example of the Media Library Embed, check out Desert Vineyard Church

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Giving Embed

Giving is an act of worship, and one of the best ways to encourage that act of worship is by making it simple. Forcing your congregation to click a link on your website that opens a third-party donation portal has the potential to deter some people from completing their tithe online. With our brand new Giving Embed, you can now embed the entire giving experience right inside your current website. The Giving Embed can be adjusted to fit many different website dimensions, so whether you want a banner, big, small, or full page experience, we've got you covered. The user experience will be the same as it is in your app, which will help build trust amongst your congregation. To see an example of the new Giving Embed, check out A Seattle Church

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Most Recent Media Embed

Want to highlight your most recent media item? Good news: all you have to do is set up one embed on your site one time. After that, your website will be automatically updated with your most recent sermon each week. This gives you the flexibility to feature your latest media on other website pages. Check out Reach Church's website (scroll to the bottom) to see an example of the Most Recent Media Embed. 

 

These are just a few ideas of different ways you can use Subsplash Web Tools. There are many other options and many exciting things in this new feature set, and our team would love to help you make the most of it! If you would like to have one of our Client Success Managers help walk you through the best strategies for your ministry give us a call at 206-965-8090 or drop us an email at hello@subsplash.com.

 

Introducing Subsplash Web Tools

You asked for it. We told you it was coming. And now it is here! Subsplash's brand new Web Tools are officially available and have been added to your Dashboard. There has been a lot of hype surrounding this new product, and we couldn't be more excited to release it. Check out this video and keep reading to learn more about what's new with Web Tools and how you can use these products to simplify your workflow:

So What's New?

If you've been using the Subsplash Platform at any point over the last few years, you've probably known about our Web Player and the ability to publish media to your app, website, and podcast with just one click. We wanted to keep that one-click experience, but add even more customization and flexibility, creating an easier and more engaging experience for both you and your users. Here are a few highlights of what is now possible with Subsplash Web Tools:

  • Media Library Embed. What if you could embed your entire sermon library into your website with just a few clicks? And what if that library on your website automatically updated each time you uploaded a new sermon to the Subsplash Dashboard? Good news: the Media Library Embed is designed to do exactly that! Now your entire library can live inside of your current website, and you can still update it with just a few clicks. Users can now browse your media library 
  • Most Recent Media Item Embed. This embed allows you to plug in your latest sermon or media item right into your website. Whenever you add another sermon to the Dashboard, your embed will instantly show the latest media item, no maintenance required.
  • Search Feature. Do you have a pretty extensive media library? Are there quite a few different sermon series you want to feature on your website? No worries. Users can now search your media library for specific content and easily find the sermon they're looking for.
  • Giving Embed. The new giving embed enables your community to give quickly and easily to your cause. It’s fully responsive, so it will automatically resize to fit the context it is being viewed, whether it’s a mobile phone screen or on a desktop computer. It also pulls in your brand color so that the embed will blend in seamlessly with your website.
  • Redesigned Web App. We've rebuilt the Subsplash Web Player from the ground up, giving both you and your users a fresh experience for engaging with media content. Get ready for a refreshed interface, the ability to search and donate, and the option to use videos in your page banners. We've also added even more customization options, so you can make the Web Player look exactly how you want it to. To accurately reflect these improvements, we’ve renamed the Web Player to “Web App”. 

Are you excited yet? We certainly are! Web Tools has been one of our most-requested feature updates since we announced it in our Keynote earlier this year. Our Product Team has been hard at working building this feature, and we are so excited to be able to share it with you. If you'd like to try out some of these new features, simply head over to the Dashboard and navigate to Builder -> Web App. And if you have questions about implementing these new features, our team would love to help you! Drop us a line at hello@subsplash.com or give us a call at 206-965-8090.

Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship: Building Full-Time Disciples

We just got back from our second trip to Texas this year, which saw us trade our raincoats for t-shirts, experience the Texas State Fair for the first time, and spend lots of time with some of the awesome churches we serve in the Dallas area. 

One of those awesome churches is Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. Led by Senior Pastor Dr. Tony Evans, OCBF started as a Bible study back in 1976 and has grown to be a large, influential church both in Dallas and beyond. Much has changed since 1976, but one thing that has remained the same is Dr. Evans' zeal and passion to preach the Bible in a bold, yet loving way.

"This is not a time for weak leadership," says Dr. Evans. "God has spoken and he has not stuttered. There are two answers to every question - God's answer and everyone else's, and everyone else is wrong. So we need to communicate that in a heart of love, but with authenticity and clarity." 

We loved getting some time to chat with Dr. Evans and his team at OCBF....they are some of the friendliest people we have met in our travels this year! Check out the video above to see the full interview with Dr. Evans (trust us, you're definitely going to want to watch the whole thing). If you are ever in the Dallas area and looking for a church to check out, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship should be on your radar. And if you're not in Dallas, you can download their app to learn more about their ministry. 

Happy Pastor's Appreciation Month!

October is Pastor's Appreciation Month! If you are a pastor or church leader and you are reading this, know that our team here at Subsplash loves and appreciates you! And if you aren't a pastor, we still love you, but we wanted to take a few minutes to share some encouragement for our friends who find themselves working in pastoral ministry. 

 

Keep preaching the gospel

The question of "How do we get more people in the seats on Sundays?" seems to be one that many churches are constantly wrestling with. In order to accomplish this, it can be tempting to water down the gospel, only teach "less offensive" parts of scripture, or create other gimmicks to draw people in. But even the most elaborate, "culturally relevant" event cannot save people. Only Jesus can do that. If you want to reach more people for him, simply [lovingly, faithfully, and unapologetically] preach the gospel and love the people in your city. Even if you find yourself amidst a culture that is hostile toward Christianity, know that you have the most powerful, life-giving narrative on your side. Check out this video about our friends at Downtown Cornerstone Church to see how God is working amidst their commitment to teach the scriptures.

 

Lean on the Holy Spirit

In a culture where pragmatism rules, it can be easy to look at what other churches are doing and try to fit that into your model. There is certainly wisdom to be gained from the successes and failures of others, but don't forget that your particular context is unique, and so is the story God is writing for your ministry! There will always be tough decisions in ministry, and there will always be people who have opinions about those tough decisions, but the wisdom of the Holy Spirit is infallible. In every decision, lean in to the wisdom of the Spirit and move forward with boldness, knowing that God's direction is always best.

 

Treat yourself!

We all know someone who has been burned out from ministry. Maybe you feel that way right now. Your hard work as a pastor is important, but so is taking time to rest! Make sure you are spending time with your family, taking regular vacations, and ultimately, feeding yourself spiritually. God delights in our enjoyment of the blessings he's given to us, and that includes a relaxing week at the beach with your family. Don't deprive yourself of these blessings! 

 

We know that your job isn't easy. It often requires long hours, hard conversations, and tough decisions. But take heart! God is working through you to spread his gospel to the ends of the earth, and that is the best mission in the world to be a part of. Know that you are loved, your work matters, and our team here at Subsplash is so thankful for you! Happy Pastor's Appreciation Month!

P.S. If you are reading this as someone who is a church member, make sure to encourage your pastors this month! Take their family out to dinner, buy them coffee, or simply say a kind word. Your encouragement will mean a lot!