Client Spotlight: Grace Christian School


How do you keep busy parents up to date on everything that’s happening at their children’s schools? For Grace Christian School, a private K-12 school in Alaska, the answer was simple: with an app!

The app is simply a great connection tool,” explains Shannon Dow, the school’s Publications Coordinator. The Grace Christian School app includes school announcements, calendars, lunch schedules, blog entries, forms and other tools for parents.

In addition to schools, Subsplash powers apps for radio stations, businesses and a broad variety of organizations. “Our platform is incredibly versatile and can accommodate a wide range of needs,” says Chris Sharpe, Director of Marketing at Subsplash.

Dow and her team first became acquainted with Subsplash when a local church created an app with Subsplash. “We knew we wanted an app as a tool for our families.  We wanted to be up-to-date and put all the information they needed right in the palm of their hands in a very accessible way,” says Dow.

In addition to providing parents with all the information they need in one consolidated place, Dow notes that the app also provides a connection point for parents who don’t use social media. “Not everybody is into Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  So when they don’t have an account for one of those social media sites, they usually don’t get to see the content we are sharing there,” Dow explains. “The app bridges this gap for us.”

With close to 1,000 downloads, Dow and her team are thrilled with the app. “We saw the download numbers grow quickly.  It was exciting to see our vision play out and to know that we were giving our families the connection point they had been looking for.”

Dow plans to continue to expand the app’s offerings. This school year, she plans to add weekly chapel sermons so that parents can listen to the messages and discuss them with their kids. “It’s all about connecting,” says Dow.  ”Connecting our parents to the information they need, as well as giving them an opportunity to connect more deeply with their kids about what is going on during their day, and ultimately it makes them feel more connected to the school,” she explains.

If you’re interested in creating an app for your school or organization, contact us!

Download the Grace Christian School app here.

What Constitutes a "Good" App?


I consider myself to be a relatively social person. However, there are plenty of times that I find myself stuck in awkward small talk with strangers. Generic weather comment, generic sports team comment, what do you do? This question more often than not leads itself to a slightly more entertaining back and forth. When I reveal that I work for a company that “creates mobile apps” the response I usually receive is “I have a great idea for an app!”.  The entrepreneurial culture of the US today leads everyone to believe that the next big idea is just around the corner. It is this kind of thinking, combined with ingenuity, that has started some of the world’s most profitable businesses. However, this thinking does not always lend itself to the best ideas. There is such a thing as a bad  app. Whether that means it is completely useless, devoid of interesting content, or poorly made and maintained, they are certainly out there.

What is it that makes an app successful? What is it that makes an app effective? There are several factors that should be taken into consideration when rating an app. First and foremost, does it bring anything new to the table? Is there something that is unique and sets it apart from other apps? With over 600,000 apps in the Apple App Store alone, this is very critical. If you can get the same content somewhere else and it’s easier to navigate, or more visually appealing, the app will lose its competitive edge.

The user experience of the app is of utmost importance. Using applications should be a delightful experience and should require minimal effort. Giving your audience the opportunity to access your content in a beautiful and simple way on their mobile device is the ultimate goal. Often times, mobile-friendly websites just don’t cut it, and that’s where the app steps in.

Lastly, it is incredibly important to have fresh new content being added and updated on a regular basis. You must give your user a reason to keep coming back to the app. There are countless times that I have downloaded an app that seemed interesting, only to realize that I would never actually use it. No one wants to suffer the fate of a being downloaded and subsequently being deleted right away. Games and news are the most popular app categories - news apps are constantly being updated with new articles and content, and games are just plain fun.

Everyone is beginning to take notice of mobile - and it’s here to stay. With each product launch, it is evident that one of the most significant and growing markets is the smartphone industry. Although there are plenty of ideas out there, a really good one can fall through the cracks sometimes without proper execution.

Here at Subsplash, we want everyone to keep dreaming and exercising their creativity. Do you have a great idea for an app? We’d love to hear it.

WWJD – What Would Jesus Develop? Part 1: Interview with Mark Driscoll

At Mars Hill Church, it’s all about Jesus. From blog posts to sermons, the ministry is always working to be on mission for Christ. The Church App for iPhone began a little over a year ago as a dream to serve this Seattle-based, Bible-loving, culturally savvy church we call home. In April 2009, Subsplash teamed up with their tech team to create the Mars Hill Church iPhone app. At the time, we didn’t realize that it would change the way members listen to sermons and rock out to worship music. It’s been almost a year since the release of the Mars Hill Church iPhone app, and we’ve found ourselves wondering how the Church is using this technology to spread the Gospel. In this interview—first in a three part series—we spotlight Pastor Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church’s use of this new medium.

Subsplash: Mars Hill Church was among the first to publish a church iPhone app almost a year ago. You, Pastor Mark, have been one of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes. Considering that Mars Hill Church is at the forefront of utilizing mobile technology, in what ways has mobile tech impacted your ministry?

Pastor Mark: Without the Internet, my ministry is completely different. In God’s providence we started our church about the same time that the Internet went public, near Microsoft, and have ridden that wave ever since.

Subsplash: Some churches might want to use new technology simply because it’s cutting-edge…how do think the church has embraced technology well? How do think it has embraced technology poorly?

Pastor Mark: The key is to have biblically rooted Jesus-centered content and lots of it. It’s great to speak to a wide audience, but only if the content advances the cause of Christ. Ministries fail both in having poor content that is widely delivered, and conversely good content that is not widely delivered.

Subsplash: What is the theological reasoning behind Mars Hill Church’s use of technology to forward the Gospel?

Pastor Mark: Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9 that he became all things to all men so that by “all means” he might save as many people as possible. It’s that simple. We use whatever we can to tell as many as we can about Jesus. Technology is simply a tool or an idol depending upon whether it helps or hinders the forward progress of the gospel.

Subsplash: Do you believe all churches are candidates for cutting-edge, technological advancements like podcasting or an iPhone app? Why or why not?

Pastor Mark: Any church that believes the Bible is taught well with Jesus as the hero should attempt to do all they can to get the word out more broadly. If we love Jesus and people, we want to get his truth and love to them as cheaply, effectively, and responsibly as we can.

Thanks Pastor Mark!  We are so thankful that God blessed us with the chance to work with your ministry.