This church is located anywhere you are — and it has Justin Bieber’s blessing.
Developed by celebrity pastors Judah and Chelsea Smith, the Churchome Global app aims to be a worldwide digital church, the latest innovation to religion in the digital age.
Previously established physical Churchome locations in Seattle and Los Angeles — Kendall Jenner and Kanye West were among recent attendees — paired with the couple’s social following and co-signs from celebrity friends like Bieber, Russell Wilson and Bubba Watson have the potential to propel the app to Judah’s lofty goal of millions of users.
The app already has around 50,000 active users in more than 100 countries around the world — a far bigger audience than the church’s weekly services at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles, which seats less than 2,000 people.
Users have access to an encouraging video post each day called the “Daily Spark,” live services on Tuesday and Sunday, a prayer request section and the option to connect with subgroups of people within the app to discuss lessons and meet up in person.
Judah’s parents started Churchome, formerly the City Church, in Seattle in 1992, which he and his wife took over as lead pastors in 2009.
The physical limitations of traditional church buildings, coupled with the realization that their three children are increasingly connected to the world through technology, inspired them to adapt Churchome to a digital platform.
“We realized that as churches were getting bigger, people were somehow getting less connected,” Chelsea told the Daily News. “It’s just so easy to slip in and slip out. To us, church isn’t about coming and watching an event, it’s being a part of a community with friends and relationships.”
The app is naturally targeted to reach a younger audience, with 65% of users under the age of 44 and a quarter of users between the age of 25 and 34 — the same Millennial demographic that have integrated their lives with social media and feed into the trends celebrities and influencers share directly with their followers.
So naturally, it doesn’t hurt that Judah is a good friend and counselor to celebrities, too — reaching believers and Beliebers. He’s been at Bieber’s side during sold-out stadium shows, with Watson as he won the Masters in 2012 and 2014, and watched Wilson win the Super Bowl in 2013.
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SOURCE: NY Daily News, Blake Alsup