Grace Heartland Church

Elizabethtown, KY
Partner Since: 2014

“The app is becoming part of our church culture. Our goal is that someday, new members will only know the app for gathering information.”

— Brent Griswell, Director of Communications

Grace Heartland Church is a 1,300-person interdenominational and evangelical church in Elizabethtown, KY. As a young congregation, Grace Heartland is a tech savvy and contemporary community, using social media and mobile technology to aid in worship and discipleship.

The Challenge

Grace Heartland Church has always been a tech-savvy church, using new technology to meet churchgoers in an easy and convenient way. So when church members who work in technology pitched the idea for an app, they saw it as the next step in their communications.

“Even with a good mobile version of our website, it’s still not as easy to navigate as an app,” said Brent Griswell, Director of Communications for Grace Heartland Church. Griswell thinks of the website as the “front door” for people who don’t attend the church yet and are just looking for basic information, while the app is used for discipleship and getting them involved.

Key Features

  • Push Messages
  • eBulletin
  • Note Taking

The Solution

Grace Heartland congregation members now use the app for everything from taking notes during service to signing up for new programs. Using the app’s Blankify feature, staff members create pages of content based on that week’s sermon so users can follow along and fill in their notes. Instead of saving numerous sheets of paper notes in the their Bibles, users can now take digital notes and save to their device in order to reference them later.

The communications team has also seen an increase in app adoption through event and program registration. In fact, when given a choice between app and paper registration, 80% of adults signed up for recent classes at the church through the app.

“The app is becoming part of our church culture,” said Griswell. “Our goal is that someday, new members will only know the app for gathering information.”

The church has also been able to slowly reduce the number of paper bulletins they print, dropping from 625 per week to 500.

“By far, people are using the digital bulletin in the app,” said Griswell. “Tons of people leave the paper bulletin behind. If they need more, they can find it in the app.”

Push Notifications Through the Message Center

Grace Heartland has also begun using push messaging, reaching users with up-to-the-minute messages directly on their home screen. And, with the recent launch of Bluebridge’s in-app message center, users can look back at past messages and even take action on them with a single touch. The church’s children’s ministry is an active user of push, driving interest in its programs and parent involvement through the app. “Parents obviously have a lot more time with their children than we do,” said Adam Castenir, Children’s Minister at Grace Heartland Church. “The app gives us a resource to communicate the right messages with parents to share with their children for increased discipleship. Additionally, they can see exactly what their kids are being taught on a regular basis.” Outside of push, the church makes it easy for parents to remember where to navigate by reminding them of the navigation path “App—>Connect—>Merge.”

The Results

Since launching their app, Grace Heartland has seen tremendous results, including:

  • 20% decrease in paper bulletin printing
  • 80% app adoption for class registration
  • 20% increase in engagement due to push messaging

Because Grace Heartland is near a military base, the church often has congregants who only stay a short period of time before they get reassigned to another city. The app allows Grace Heartland to stay in touch with past members, giving users a tool to listen to sermons even after they’ve been relocated.

  • 20%

    decrease in paper bulletin printing

  • 80%

    app adoption for class registration

  • 20%

    increase in engagement by push messaging

  • 500

    bulletins printed each week, down from 650.

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