HeavenUp launches as Christian alternative to Facebook

A new social network was created to connect young adults within the Christian community.

Chris+Burkhart%2C+CEO+of+Heaven+Up%2C+created+the+website+as+a+means+for+Christian+individuals+to+reach+out+and+connect+with+fellow+Christians+as+a+counter+to+secular+culture.+%7C+Screenshot+taken+from+heavenup.com

Chris Burkhart, CEO of Heaven Up, created the website as a means for Christian individuals to reach out and connect with fellow Christians as a counter to secular culture. | Screenshot taken from heavenup.com

Jenna Schmidt, Writer

Chris Burkhart, CEO of Heaven Up, created the website as a means for Christian individuals to reach out and connect with fellow Christians as a counter to secular culture. | Screenshot taken from heavenup.com

What if there was a way to connect believers all across the globe? What if, in the same way we use Facebook or Twitter, a social network could help a Christian recording artist raise awareness for a cause, a prayer chain garner hundreds of prayer warriors and a missionary raise funds to feed a village?

HEAVENUP CONNECTS CHRISTIANS

That is the premise and purpose of a new social media website launched 18 months ago, called HeavenUp. Similar to Facebook, yet structured in a faith-based manner to help connect Christian individuals, bands, companies and organizations, HeavenUp was created by CEO Chris Burkhart to reach out primarily to the young adults within the Christian community.

“HeavenUp’s purpose is to give the young adults a platform to connect, share and take a stand for their faith,” Burkhart said. “It’s a positive counter-culture to the secular culture that you will experience on Facebook.”

Burkhart said HeavenUp provides an alternative to current social media, including daily devotionals from Christian psychologist Jimmy Pena and even a “HeavenUp Countdown” to promote up-and-coming Christian music artists who use the site. This relatively young, yet quickly growing website supports bands such as The Afters and MercyMe and also promotes new artists.

Churches, television stations, radio stations, Christian speakers, comedians, authors and a myriad of other organizations and individuals utilize the website. Whether they are raising awareness for missions and charities or just connecting with the Christ-centered online community, Burkhart said that the website has rapidly grown in popularity.

A FOCUS ON THE YOUNGER GENERATION

“We are providing a state-of-the-art platform for young adults of faith to have voices as individuals and their organizations. Young adults are the future of the Christian community, and they need to be recognized as leaders of their generation,” Burkhart said.

Natasha Duff, HeavenUp’s chief marketing officer, witnessed the site uniting the Christian community through different ministries all over the world. Whether serving in a hometown or across the globe, Christians can connect through HeavenUp on both individual and industrial levels. This enables the users of HeavenUp to not only promote organizations, but also provide a faith-based online community for individual members, in which they can connect with other believers.

Duff said that the site supports the togetherness and networking of Christians from all different locations around the world.

“Because everyone on the network is like-minded, you automatically have a connection in Christ Jesus which allows you to build friendships with people from other locations, with different cultures, of all age groups, all because you have Christ in common,” Duff said.

Morgan Johnson, sophomore communications and theatre major, signed up for HeavenUp soon after it began. "I've talked with people from Africa and Israel and Pakistan and all those different areas of the world, and it's just really encouraging to hear from them and hear their testimonies." | Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

GAINING MOMENTUM

The website has already grown quite significantly since its initial launch in 2012, and is rapidly approached 10,000 users. Organizations such as the Dove Foundation have already endorsed the site.

“HeavenUp has already been used to promote a number of Christian ministries,” Duff said. “We have helped promote a user’s book about Christ. We have helped promote worship leaders and to raise money for ministries on the other side of the world.”

Several Biola University students and faculty members, such as Mark Hooper, manager of the Biola Fitness Center, have already gotten involved with HeavenUp, providing even more networking within the community on campus.

Morgan Johnson, sophomore communications and theatre major, has been a member of the site since its early days, and has seen the great results it yields.

“It’s really an encouraging and uplifting website,” Johnson said. “I’ve talked with people from Africa and Israel and Pakistan and all those different areas of the world, and it’s just really encouraging to hear from them and hear their testimonies.

Making the Christian community accessible to those all over the world, HeavenUp is indeed providing an alternative to social networking that will connect and promote ministries both here at home and overseas. For the young adults of the Christian community looking for another way of social networking away from the culture of Facebook and Twitter, HeavenUp offers a distinctly unique experience in a strongly faith-based environment.

“I think it could encourage Biola students interculturally and help Biola students because really, it’s not as negative as Facebook. It’s a really cool place for you to interact with other Christians,” Johnson said.

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