As local churches have sought ways to stay engaged with members during the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of congregations have found The Bridge App to be an effective solution.
Operating on Android and Apple mobile devices, The Bridge App offers a full suite of functions, including announcements, prayers, an events calendar, a membership directory, a Bible, devotions, and electronic giving toward the budget and other causes from a donor’s credit card or bank account.
Launched by the Christian Reformed Church in North America about three years ago in partnership with Extreme Technology, The Bridge App was originally designed to give churches new ways to connect. And now, with the COVID-19 pandemic creating the need to maintain physical distancing, the app has become helpful in ways that weren’t anticipated. Especially popular now are the “WATCH” capability, which allows churches to stream services, and the “GIVE” function through which members can give online.
Sunnyslope Church in Salem, Ore., introduced The Bridge App several months prior to the pandemic.
“When we were scrambling to announce service cancellations and share prayer requests, The Bridge App became an invaluable way to communicate with our members,” pastor Rob Toornstra said. “The GIVE function allowed us to introduce online giving seamlessly so members could continue to give even when we were not meeting in person. The Bridge App has been a fantastic tool and great blessing to Sunnyslope Church.”
Sonya Wagenaar, church administrator for First CRC Red Deer (Alta.), said use of the GIVE function more than doubled during the first two months of the pandemic.
That pattern was evident in other congregations too, as giving through The Bridge App in 2020 facilitated donations to local churches in excess of $2 million.
Ancaster (Ont.) CRC, an early adopter of The Bridge App, began by uploading its membership data into the app’s directory and encouraging members to look to the app particularly for announcements and prayers.
“The GIVE feature has been a blessing for our church, especially during COVID-19,” says Dick Kranendonk, app administrator for Ancaster CRC. “The amount of time needed to administer The Bridge App is minimal, communication in our church has greatly improved, and members very much appreciate this service.”
The Bridge App is made available and supported for CRCs in Canada through Ministry in Canada and is available to U.S. congregations directly through the app developer, Extreme Technology.