To maximize the ministry impact of CRC-produced resources throughout the denomination, today the Christian Reformed Church announced the launch of a new Digital Library and print discount for its churches and members.
“This is a one-year pilot project, but we hope it continues far beyond that,” said CRC Executive Director Steve Timmermans in a video announcement posted to the CRC’s Facebook page. “The launch of the Digital Library represents a big shift in how we equip our churches and members to grow in their faith, and to impact lives for Christ.”
The Digital Library aims to make it easier and more cost-effective for churches and members to access resources to support their local ministries. People can access it any time of the day or night, from anywhere, on any device connected to the web.
“Digital access to these resources will be very convenient—whether you’re scrambling last-minute for a resource or you want to have the entire library at your fingertips,” said Timmermans.
The Digital Library will include the majority of Faith Alive’s products, including Bible studies, children’s ministry curricula, worship resources, small group studies, and youth resources. There will be some exclusions, however, such as hymnals, due to copyright restrictions and song royalties.
While many other denominations also purchase Faith Alive’s resources, only Christian Reformed churches and members will have access to the Digital Library. The reason for this is that only Christian Reformed churches make contributions toward Ministry Shares, which make possible much of the CRCNA’s domestic and global ministry, including resource development.
“The creation of the Digital Library recognizes the special way we partner together through Ministry Shares,” says Colin Watson, CRC Director of Ministries and Administration. “Equipping our churches is the number-one priority.”
As a former business executive, Watson knows the importance of selling product. “But ministry is different,” he says. “Selling is a means, but not the only means of achieving our goal of resourcing churches. We need to be open to other delivery methods, and to follow the lead of our churches in how they’d like to access these products.”
For situations where digital access isn’t convenient, there also will be a new CRC discount for purchases of printed products. Beginning in June, Christian Reformed churches will automatically receive a 20% discount off print copies of most Faith Alive products. The new discount will apply to purchases for any church use, including small groups and other programs.
“We hope that the CRC discount allows members and churches to more widely use these resources without price as a barrier,” says Timmermans. “These resources were created by the CRC for the CRC. We want to make it easier and less expensive for our churches to use them.”
When the Board of Trustees first discussed the project over a year ago, member Chris VanSpronson was excited about what it could mean for churches. “As a general contractor, a lot of my business is run on my smart phone. Now my church will have that same service.” says VanSpronson. “I hope everyone will go click around and see the wealth of resources available to us as we serve God’s Kingdom in our own contexts.”
The project received a “green light” last fall, and staff have since been busy with preparations, including developing the website, preparing hundreds of digital files, reviewing agreements with copyright holders, and setting up systems to accommodate the CRC discount. Equally important was a plan to get the word out.
“The biggest challenge will be in making sure every person in the pew is aware of the Digital Library and that they can now access these resources digitally at no cost,” says Timmermans. “The success of this hinges on how far and wide the word can get out, and how widely the library is used.”
Starting today, anyone who attends a Christian Reformed Church can sign up for access to the Digital Library at crcna.org/Library. The page also offers easy ways to spread the word.
To ensure a smooth rollout, users will be phased in on a first-come, first-served basis beginning in April. Everyone who has signed up will be notified, by email, when they can access the library.
See more details at crcna.org/Library.