Van Life and the Digital Church

Brooke Helder - GACX

By Brooke Helder, GACX Content Creator

When I was traveling around the United States and doing “van life,” I recognized my need for community. I invited people I met to have s’mores and accepted invitations to new friends’ homes for dinner.

Most importantly, I joined a church online. This was crucial to my individual walk with the Lord on the road. I watched the church service on YouTube, sang to the worship music, and read the online chats while driving from Maine to Massachusetts.

Started by Jared and Anne Roth (also living the “van life”), Sprout Digital coaches churches that are branching into the digital realm, like the church my husband and I joined. Most churches in the West stream services, but Sprout Digital believes that other online resources are highly underutilized. In response, they decided to conduct research to understand where faith is heading in the future.

Their first research project was in partnership with Stadia, who connected Sprout Digital with research participants (including many GACX members) and distributed Sprout Digital’s research results through Stadia’s podcasts and website. Research results were also shared at the 2022 GACX Forum. From their research of respondents in the U.S., Sprout Digital found that, as Chestly Lunday from Sprout Digital states, “the physical church is no longer the only place to hear about Christ.”

Currently, Sprout Digital is focusing on reaching 16 to 35-year-olds who are less and less likely to attend a physical church service. Many members ask, “How do we reach Gen-Z in a way that makes sense to them?” In response to this question, Sprout Digital developed a readiness assessment that evaluates the capacity of an organization to leverage digital tools and platforms for church growth. They’ve also developed customizable strategies to help organizations build a “trellis for an online faith community.”

“We are able to have conversations that really change their (GACX members and other organizations) trajectory and the thought process behind what older leaders see younger generations doing,” says Lunday.

From Maine to Massachusetts, the church is expanding in new, innovative, and digital ways. Or as Acts 1:8 says “in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Sprout Digital is on the cutting edge of research for digital ministry and digital church planting. They provide research, coaching, and advice for GACX members looking to branch into the digital church realm. If your organization is exploring digital church options and could use their help, contact Sprout Digital at

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