With post-pandemic church life gradually returning to ‘normal’, the congregation at New Life CRC (Guelph, Ontario) felt this was the right opportunity to ensure that the new normal was a better version of the old normal.
In addition to making it easier to donate toward the church budget and other ministry causes, New Life was looking for ways to improve regular communication with members, offer an electronic membership directory, and make greater use of technology that had become more familiar to members during the pandemic.
This combination of reasons led New Life to choose The Bridge App, developed in partnership between the CRCNA in Canada and app developer Extreme Technology.
“We went with The Bridge App because it offered a number of solutions,” explained Ron Mak, a New Life deacon who helped persuade fellow leaders to support using the app. “Our directory was out of date, the software we were using was old and difficult to use, and during COVID we had made changes to the ways donations were processed, but it put a lot of workload on our treasurer and wasn’t overly convenient for our members.”
“The Bridge App could replace our church management software, provide members with an up to date electronic directory, and could be easily used for members to manage their giving. And we are just starting to appreciate all the other features it offers.”
While most congregations that adopted The Bridge App provided members with some basic information through bulletins, newsletters, and announcements, New Life went much further, organizing a ‘Launch Campaign’ that included a humorous presentation. The church assisted members after the Sunday service with installing the app and connecting to their ‘home’ church. They even gave out a few random prizes for those who downloaded the app and uploaded their photo!
Suzanne Duiker Kroon, who coordinated the launch campaign, not only drew upon her experience in literary advocacy as a former librarian, but also recruited her husband Dirk to help with a series of Sunday morning presentations. “The idea behind the campaign is that we wanted to catch people’s interest, and help them to see how using the app will benefit them, that it was non-threatening and that it was helpful to our congregation.”
“Setting up The Bridge App was pretty easy,” said Hester de Groot, New Life’s office and ministry coordinator. “The focus was on setting up the Give function and inputting the Directory information. It’s great that people can also update their own information in the directory, and I get notified when people make changes. That makes it much easier to keep our church records up to date.”
Hester also took advantage of the app’s ‘custom buttons’ feature to add easy access to New Life’s social media accounts and to create a members-only link to the church’s weekly newsletter.
Paul Adema, a past chair of New Life’s council, said "from a community perspective, The Bridge App is a great way to connect to others at New Life and the CRC denomination. No more searching at home to find the old paper directory. It is also a great tool for accessing the weekly newsletter and making donations."
The Bridge App is currently being used by 139 CRCs, including being supported by classis for all member churches in classes Alberta North, BC-Southeast, Hamilton, Huron, Niagara, and Ontario Southwest.
In addition to having nearly 11,000 active users, The Bridge App processed $6.8M (CDN) in donations toward the budget and ministries of the local churches in 2022.
To learn more about The Bridge App, please visit www.crcna.org/resources/church-resources/bridge-app or contact [email protected].