New Banner App Aims to Reach Wider Audience

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The Banner has seen many changes since its humble beginnings in 1866. Now, in addition to the monthly print publication and regularly refreshed online content, the official magazine of the Christian Reformed Church is available as a mobile app for Apple and Android devices. Banner readers may find and download the free app for iPhone here and Android here or by searching “CRCNA Banner” in the App Store or Google Play Store.

Shiao Chong, Banner editor-in-chief, presented his vision for developing a mobile app during his interview for the position last summer. “I was thinking about how we could reach a younger audience, and one of the ways to do that was distribution method,” Chong said. “This is just one of those efforts among many others that we at The Banner are trying to improve our services for readers and churches,” he said.

“We wanted an app that is dynamic and linked to the website,” said Tim Postuma of CRC Ministry Support Services. “We thought, if we could do it at a pretty low cost, we might as well put it out there.”

Postuma also hopes that by adding this distribution method, The Banner will reach a wider audience. “I think the way people consume content has changed,” he said. “Rather than looking through 48 pages when the magazine comes to you, you can read an article anytime when you have a few minutes.”

News articles are posted online and to the app continuously throughout each week, allowing readers to stay up to date on CRC news rather than waiting for the print issue when stories may not be as current. All other articles can be accessed through the app as well. A pdf version of the print issue is available for download.

Other notable features include the ability to mark favorite articles, change font size, and follow Banner social media posts. The app provides links to other CRC sources, such as the CRCNA website, Think Christian Blog, Today Devotional and a tool to find a nearby Christian Reformed Church.

About the Author

Lori Dykstra is a freelance writer.

See comments (3)


I'm reading the Banner right now, this article even, and I'm posting a comment to boot.  All while using my Android OS smartphone, and an old fashioned "app" called "Chrome."

And I have all the advantages, plus more I expect, than I would have if I had a shiny new "smartphone app" to do this with.

In my experience, most "apps" aren't as handy as accessing a well designed website with an html browser.  And the Banner is pretty well designed, including when being browsed by a smartphone using Chrome.

Sometime I think we reinvent the same thing over and over and over again merely that we can keep up with technology fashion -- and by that "appeal to the younger audience."

As well, I thought the CRCNA was short on money?  My two cents: the online Banner is well enough designed as a site accessible by a browser, via smartphone or computer.  Lets instead apply the app development funds to that curriculum the BOT said it liked but decided we had no money for.



Dear Doug,

The Banner app costs are only about $300 per year. We had been stewardly in our financial resources, and this is a very cost effective way for us to potentially reach a wider audience. 

Thank you.

Shiao Chong

Editor in Chief

Thanks for that response, Shiao.  I assume the $300 is software leasing, and that is a low price.  At the same time, when all is said and done, the costs of everything will be well above the $300.