The Crossing’s Privacy Policy

“Does The Crossing’s website use cookies?”

We’re getting this question more and more, so we decided to create a one-stop shop to address cookies and other common internet practices related to your privacy.

Our website uses cookies to improve your experience, provide you with the most relevant content, and offer you the next steps for your journey with Jesus.

Cookies allow us to track traffic on our website. We use this information to ensure that your online journey is convenient and that our content is relevant to your needs and questions. We use third-party cookies (more on that below) to offer your spiritually enriching content when you’re browsing social media or other websites.

If you’d prefer us not to use cookies when you’re on our website, you can easily opt out here.

That said, few people fully understand how cookies work. As a church, we think it’s our duty to transparently educate you on what cookies are, how we use them, and why we use them.

What are cookies?

First and foremost, they are delicious baked goods. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. An internet cookie is a file containing a string of characters that is sent to your computer by a website and saved in your web browser’s local storage. They allow that website to identify you.

If you’ve ever visited a website and it remembered your recent activity or kept you logged, that’s all thanks to a cookie. In many ways, cookies exist to make your life easier. Most people don’t prefer to re-enter logins or spend 20 minutes trying to find something they looked at the day before. A cookie saves you the trouble.

A website’s database uses cookies (among other things) to track your activity while you’re on it. For most people, this feels like a convenience. For some, this feels like a breach of personal privacy. We understand that, which is why we provide an easy way for you to opt out. In fact, if you’re creeped out right now, you can clear cookies on your browser (just ensure you saved the logins and relevant searches somewhere!). You could also consider switching to a browser like DuckDuckGo, which allows you to decline all cookies.

What are third-party cookies?

Many websites allow third-party companies like Google and Facebook to set cookies on their website. We allow this so that we can use their services to send you spiritually valuable content when you are on their platforms.

Our goal here is simple: digital discipleship. Most people spend a tremendous amount of time consuming material online. Unfortunately, much online content fuels outrage, consumerism, comparison, addictions, and a non-Christian worldview. We want your online content diet to be seasoned with content that helps you love Jesus more and follow him more faithfully.

Third-party cookies enable us to send you (and people like you) content that helps you focus on the things that really matter, whether you are on our website or surfing on social media. This is why you might see content from The Crossing while you’re browsing on Facebook, Instagram, or even a random website.

We think this is a small but important step toward resisting the parade of idols constantly offered online to willing consumers.

How do you use cookies and the data collected with them?

We’ve already mentioned a number of things we do with cookies, but it’s important to note what we do not do.

We never, under any circumstances, sell your information or activity to anyone. Your information is securely, privately stored. We do not sell or give your personal information to third-party vendors like Google or Facebook.

So what do we do with cookies and your data? We use cookies as a way of providing you convenience. If you log in to your account, you can stay logged in. If you want our latest set of email devotionals, you don’t need to re-enter your email address. If you show continual interest in a topic, we use that data to give you related content. And we use third-party cookies to stay in touch with you and people like you when you’re off our website, on social media, or elsewhere.

Why does The Crossing use cookies?

Sometimes you get to pick the game you play. Other times you find yourself in the middle of a game someone started. For small organizations like us and for individuals like you, the latter is true on the internet. Cookies are built into the infrastructure of the internet the same way credit cards are built into the infrastructure of buying and selling.

Like many things - money, beds, smartphones - cookies can be used responsibly and ethically for good purposes. Or they could be used irresponsibly and unethically for nefarious purposes. Some websites will seek to profit from your personal data by selling it. Others will use data to manipulate your behavior, beliefs, and decision-making patterns for their benefit.

How cookies and data are used is largely up to the organization setting the cookies and collecting the data. These are ethical areas that Christians should care about. Churches should seek to set an example for the responsible, ethical use of cookies and data.

And that’s why we’re seeking to be highly transparent on our website about our use of cookies and data. We are not only telling you what we do. We also hope to educate you on the broader topic of digital privacy.

At The Crossing, we are committed to ethical practices: protecting your information and tracking your activity privately. Likewise, we do not work with any third-party organizations that sell your information. We only use cookies and data to help you (and others!) believe that Jesus is more.

If you’d like to know more, we want to talk. Send us an email: [email protected].