Case Study + Web
Game Changers Part 3: Grand Rapids First
October 22, 2018
In our business, we serve a wide range of clients like small businesses, nonprofits, associations, educational institutions, government agencies and more. One of our favorite client categories is to work with churches. We have worked on church website projects with multi-site megachurches and small and faithful country churches and have seen one common thread that unites them all:
Churches make a game-changing impact for good when they are intentional with their online presence and social media engagement.
Grand Rapids First is one of our church website clients that is knocking the ball out of the park with their online presence and social engagement. With a strong visual brand and image strategy, Grand Rapids First is conveying their message in relevant and relatable ways, but they didn’t have a web development expert on their team who could build the kind of website they needed to accomplish their goals. Caleb Weidman works on staff at Grand Rapids First and connected with our team at Cross & Crown to partner with them on the web development project. Together we created a beautiful website that conveys their message and meets their unique needs.
Not every church has a communications department, but the ones that do are able to create tools that the people on the front lines of ministry can use to amplify their message.
The mission at Grand Rapids First is to do everything in their power to bring people to Christ and teach them to be like him. They leverage media and marketing tools such as flyers, touch cards, videos, and social media content, to equip their leaders and members to evangelize to the people around them. Weidman said, “We may not be personally on the front lines every day, but we’re making it just a bit easier for those who are to be effective in ministry.”
Because we have worked with so many church clients, we understand the specific challenges and opportunities within the world of church marketing and communications.
We have seen what works, what doesn’t work, and how to achieve maximum results within tight budgets. Our partnership with Grand Rapids First was seamless because they were clear on their mission, vision and how our expertise fit into their overall strategy.
First impressions carry a lot of weight, even in the church world. People who are curious or just want to “check out church” will visit a website multiple times before even considering making a personal visit to the building. We wanted to be sure that their website visitors had a consistent experience between what they saw online and what they experienced when they walked through the doors. With this in mind, we developed a website that serves as their digital “front lobby” where guests and members alike can feel welcome and access the information they need quickly and efficiently. The website is responsive (appears properly on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices), it’s fast because it’s not loaded with stale code and broken links, and the information is organized in a common sense way that new users will find intuitive.
As with any website development project, there are always changes, tweaks, and new ideas that come during implementation. We expect this and build in time to be responsive to our client’s needs. Some of our most important work occurs after the site launches as we gauge effectiveness and see if what we created is resonating with the intended personas.
With the Grand Rapids First project, we helped them navigate requests for added features and small changes to the website and we remain ready to help even after the website has launched.
As churches continue to engage with our services, we asked Grand Rapid’s First what advice they would have for churches who are just beginning the process with us. Weidman said, “My best advice would be to ask their team as many questions as you can. Cross & Crown has built hundreds of church websites and are experts in their field. They know what works and what doesn’t, and their advice will carry you further than you ever could fumbling your way through the dark. There’s no one else I would go to for industry-leading updates on what makes an effective and enjoyable online church presence.”
Grand Rapids First is one of our many church clients that is changing the game for countless individuals who are finding their way to the local church. Weidman said that working together, we are changing the game for people who are just beginning their journey with Christ.
“Our online presence is the very definition of evangelism in the digital age. Cross & Crown is an essential part of our marketing and media team and I’m glad I have an outside vendor I can trust to consistently produce quality content on a regular basis.”
Grand Rapids First is a passionate church that wants to change the game by bringing the good news to the world, and with their commitment to digital communications, we believe they will!