Community of Hope Church, a Grace Brethren congregation in Surrey, B.C., has a unique means of communicating with their congregation…with a smartphone app (application).
The surprising part? Community of Hope is a church of about 100 people.
“What we discovered is that email reaches about 30 percent of our congregation, and Facebook reaches about 30 percent,” said Community of Hope pastor Phil Bryant. “The bulletin communicates but is limited in it’s impact. There was no one tool that reached out to everybody.” But almost everyone has a smartphone or a tablet.
The app was launched about nine months ago, and Bryant reports that about 70 percent of the people in the church have installed the app on their devices. Community of Hope started brainstorming the project around the same time as The Village Church in Milton, Ontario. “We were all talking about it together,” recalls Bryant.
The app is intentionally simple and streamlined, including information about the church, sermon archives, and a “push notification” feature, which reminds people of important events in the church.
Bryant hopes to expand the functions of the app in the future, and is pleased with the results so far.
“We feel like it’s been a good tool to get the word out and communicate. We put a lot of energy developing it and a decent amount of time perfecting it, and I think it was worth the investment. But we still have a lot to learn.”
Bryant recommends a tool such as an app for other small churches. “For a small church in an urban area, an app would be a powerful mechanism [for good communication]. I’ve had several people really appreciate the app…often they are the people who are really keen to reach out to others. Sharing an upcoming event is so simple and accessible for people.”
“You just need to be ready to inform, train and excite your people towards whatever tool you’re using,” he stresses. “You can have a great communication tool, but if no one it accessing it then it won’t be used…and that takes time, energy and creativity.”
For a preview of the app or to contact the church for more information, click here.
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.