How do you build and support a community of Christ-followers during a global pandemic?
In March of 2020, Alex Ackerman and his wife Donna planned to launch a brand-new church plant in Longmont, Colorado. But when the COVID-19 pandemic descended in the United States the very same month, their vision had to pivot from offering exclusive in-person services to digital church.
In other words, the Ackermans needed technology to help them disciple and support church members from a distance.
“How do we start a new church when people aren't allowed to go out in public?” asks Alex. “We wanted to connect with people online since we were limited in our person to person connection.”
“Even our little church plant needed a digital platform,” says Donna.
When Alex and Donna turned to Tithe.ly, they found more than a tool that could help them weather the storm of 2020. They found a partner that could help them digitally disciple their church members, save time on manual labor, and run online services. Most of all, they found a technological partner that could help them thrive.
Churches are called to encourage members to dive deeper into the Word of God. But when churches rely on regular live teaching and small group discipleship, helping others to study the Bible at home can feel logistically difficult.
To meet this challenge, the Ackerman family daily used Tithe.ly to upload and text short teaching videos to their church members.
“They’re short and sweet, but they give you a little bit of meat to chew on for the day,” says one church member.
“It's helped get me into the Word,” agrees another member.
To achieve this kind of personal and interactive relationship, the Ackermans used Tithe.ly’s Group Messaging feature to schedule text blasts with their uploaded YouTube videos.
“Because it’s on their phone, they can listen to the video at any time,” says Donna. “It takes just a couple clicks of a button.”
Most importantly, the videos helped church members to keep learning and growing with the Lord.
“I'm learning about Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and now we're on Daniel,” says one church member. “I’m really enjoying it.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent communication was especially critical. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders created a new need for sending church members regular updates and resources.
But anyone who has ever planted a church knows that communicating with members can be time-consuming. Managing contact information and scheduling communications takes time and effort, especially when done manually.
By using Tithe.ly’s People feature, the Ackermans were able to skip the task of inputting contact information and instead blast communications to everyone with just a couple of clicks.
“It eliminates the arduous task of putting everybody's name in,” explains Donna.
Ultimately, that helped the new church plant save time on admin–and instead focus on creating great content and discipling church members.
“They were getting connected to us faster and they were growing in their relationship with the Lord faster because they were getting a touch from us via these texts,” says Donna.
Having just launched in March, Easter Sunday was an especially important event for the Ackermans’ church. But when they ran into a technical glitch, running a live online service looked like it may not be possible.
To address the problem, Donna got onto Tithe.ly’s Facebook support group that weekend. She quickly received an email from Frank Barry–Tithe.ly’s COO and co-founder–who told her that they would be up and running for Easter Sunday.
“It was midnight our time, so I don’t even know what time it was for him,” says Donna. “He won our appreciation that day.”
At the end of the day, Tithe.ly’s above-and-beyond support showed their commitment to helping church planters focus on what’s really important.
Donna explains, “We're church planters. Our time is valuable and Tithe.ly makes [running a church] quick. I love that.”
For the Ackermans’ church plant in Longmont, Colorado Tithe.ly’s Group Messaging and People feature were critical. To launch a church during the peak of the pandemic, the Ackermans needed tools to help them digitally disciple their church members, automate communication, and run online services. Tithe.ly helped them rise to the challenge, and most importantly, pastor and support their people.
No matter what kind of logistical challenge your church plant is facing, Tithe.ly’s suite of tools can help you overcome and thrive. To learn more about what Tithe.ly offers, click here.