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