Let me be straight-forward here. Nine times out of 10, I’m likely to be against a church creating, promoting, and using a mobile app. Oftentimes this is because there is not a clear vision for the app. Churches see something “new” and want to use it, which is great, except that they don’t think through how to best utilize this new technology for the cause of the Gospel. Another reason I’m often against mobile apps for churches is because the return on investment just usually isn’t there. Churches spend a lot of money creating mobile apps, promoting it hard week after week, and see very few downloads and even less engagement. Many churches also poorly execute their church app. They go with a company that allows them to semi-customize a template (which, by the way, Apple isn’t allowing anymore).
Churches build their mobile app thinking it will be a great outreach tool — but it’s not. Visitors aren’t going to download an app without already having some investment in the church. And without the right vision, upkeep, and real understanding about what an app should be, the lackluster performance, with high costs, usually make a church app a bad decision. So, when I first heard about The Bridge, the CRCNA’s mobile app (now going live for all congregations in Canada), I was afraid it was going to fall into these common app development traps. I came to the table thinking The Bridge was going to be a mediocre effort by the denomination to help churches use this cool, newer, technology. But, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that The Bridge is different. Honestly.
Although a skeptic at first, as I began to learn more about The Bridge app, and use it, I began to see how this could be a great tool for many churches. The Bridge provides a well thought out and executed app that churches across the denomination (in Canada, for now) can fine-tune and execute for their church. The creators of the app went about things the right way and created an app that CRCNA churches can use, for little cost, to drive deeper engagement and disciple-making, effectively bridging the gap between Sunday gatherings.
The goal of The Bridge makes it clear — this is an app designed for your congregation to use; existing to “empower local churches, local believers, and ministry for Christ by offering tailored content for disciples of Christ.” In fact, the focus is on your congregation. The Bridge provides your church a way to be more effective in doing ministry, by providing devotional content, event updates, contact information, and more all throughout the week.
When you create a version of the app for your own local congregation, you also gain access to certain denomination-wide resources. For example, the widely-read Today devotional is built right into the app, so users can access and read the day’s devotion on-the-go. For your local context, The Bridge allows the use of a church directory, helping members interact with and grow together. The app allows your church to upload and host sermons or other video and audio content, or you can simply link to wherever you may already host your content (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.). The app makes it easy for your church to continuously pray for each other with the ability to directly post prayer requests. An option for online giving is also done simply and integrated nicely. Even the Bible is built into the app! All of these features make The Bridge a one stop shop for all of your church-related needs.
Is your church considering a mobile app? If you have thought about it, before looking at the cookie-cutter template companies, I strongly encourage you to take a deeper look at The Bridge. It’s a church app, done well, specifically for CRCNA churches, and may be an incredible opportunity for your church. Want to talk more about the app, or to see if an app is right for your church? Feel free to contact me. I’m here to help you energize your church communications.