Submitted by Scott Vander Ploeg, Sunlight Community Church
This year COVID has led us to reimagine organization, communication, assimilation, and how to help people not only grow in their faith but also how to help them interact with their church. One problem we were facing as we started gathering together again was that it no longer seemed like a good idea to pass out a weekly bulletin. Nor did it seem like a good idea to have sign up sheets for new members classes, community groups, etc. So we decided to create for the first time our own Sunlight Church app–available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. (We know that other churches have done this before, but it is a new experiment for us). The app we created has each week’s “digital bulletin,” an online giving portal, the ability to sign up for new members classes, community groups, bible studies, etc. It also has a way for new visitors to connect to us, quickly learn important information about our church, and see our ministry calendar. It is also a portal to video sermons and other media resources. Most importantly, though, in the process of creating the App, we spent significant time clarifying our ‘discipleship pathway’ to which we have now given the name the “Multiply Method.”
It has also spurred on connecting people to our one-on-one discipleship ministry (check out www.222disciple.com).
Creating the App has helped us become more clear ourselves about vision and mission and how best to communicate. So I believe the process was incredibly valuable for us as church leaders. One challenge now is that of increasing the number of people who are downloading and using the app–especially among some of our older members who consider themselves technologically challenged. We have developed several “helps” (like creating QR codes that automatically direct people to download the app). We are now experimenting with more personal touches.