When the coronavirus pandemic forced many churches throughout the world to take worship gatherings online, Bridge Church—a new CRC church plant in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta—didn’t have the equipment.
Pastor Ryan Pedde and his team bought the equipment they needed to keep their church connected, but they were unsure how they were going to pay for it.
Then Pedde and his team got an email from Resonate Global Mission offering grants for technology support for church plants throughout Canada and the United States
The Coronavirus Wasn’t in the Budget
“We needed to upgrade our technology to engage people in the middle of COVID-19,” said Pedde.
But like many CRC church plants, Bridge Church works with tight finances. The unexpected shift to church online was not in the budget.
Trusting that they would be able to pay for equipment someday, somehow, Pedde and his team purchased a camera, audio gear, and a license for an online video platform.
Just a few days later, the church plant received an email from Resonate’s church-planting team with a list of CRCNA resources available to help support church plants during the coronavirus pandemic—among that list was a “COVID-19 Support Grant” offering up to $1,200 for equipment that would help keep church plants connected during the pandemic.
“Talk about a God thing!” said Pedde. “[Financial giving in our church plant] is uncertain, and to have this cost taken by Resonate is a big deal.”
The Need for Technology
Cornerstone Church, a CRC church plant in New York City, also applied for and received the COVID-19 Support Grant from Resonate.
“We moved everything online—prayer, Bible study, discipleship, community groups,” said Pastor Brian Na. “We needed to buy a lot of tech equipment to accommodate that.”
Cornerstone Church launched in January, and many people who have been plugged into the church plant are new Christians or people who are interested in learning more about Christ. Na said that staying connected online is essential for their growth and understanding.
“[They need] to know that church doesn’t stop because of physical distance, but we are the church,” said Na.
New Opportunities to Connect with Communities
Na also said that the church plant’s online ministry opens up new possibilities to connect with people in their community—especially during a time when many people are anxious, stressed, or lonely as they stay home and physically distance themselves from family, friends, and neighbors. New York City is one of the cities in the United States, and even in the world, that has been hit hardest by the coronavirus.
“This will help our church plant to spread the word in our communities that we are here and everyone can still be connected,” said Na.
Bridge Church can already testify that technology has helped them reach more people. “We usually have 150 in attendance [on a Sunday morning],” said Pedde. “Through live streaming, we had 1,800 people tune in last Sunday!”
Resonate staff and the CRCNA are working hard to support CRC church plants during COVID-19 as church plants support their own communities. Other resources that are available to church plants include grants from the CRCNA’s Financial Shalom Project, resources for worship during physical distancing from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, financial counseling, and other COVID-19 resources.
“This was just a unique time where there was a very clear need that spanned many church plants, so I’m thankful we were able to provide some support,” said Kevin Schutte, a church planter who leads Resonate’s church-planting initiative. “We will continue to evaluate how we can best support church plants during this time.”
Thank you for partnering with Resonate to support church plants during this challenging time!
This article was originally published on crcna.org.