September 13, 2017 Best practices by

The Harmful Technology Flaw That’s Holding Your Ministry Hostage

When it comes to church technology, there’s a metaphor that I like to use: “Fish don’t know that water is wet.”

In the day-to-day hustle of ministry, it can be easy to overlook a glaring issue that most churches ignore (or don’t even realize).

Data silos.

As technology has evolved over the decades, different ministries in your church have adopted tools that helped them streamline processes and do more with less. And while those solutions were great short-term fixes, they’ve created new problems. Your events team uses one system for registrations, and your involvement pastor uses a different tool for small group management. You have separate payment processors for online giving, credit cards, and ACH. The church secretary has to juggle volunteer management, email, and worship team scheduling within three independent tools.

Before you knew it, your church technology became a Frankenstein’s monster of different solutions held together with scotch tape and bubble gum. Important information about your church members is now locked up or duplicated in systems that don’t automatically update when church members leave, move addresses, or get a new email. And you can forget about building data-rich reports that allow the senior pastor to get a 360-degree view of where your congregation is today, much less predict where it’s headed.

Beyond a nightmare for your church IT administrator, this situation is actually harmful to your ministry.

You’re a church leader who wants to serve your community to the best of your ability. That requires you to spend less time behind a desk, and more hours with the people you are discipling. The following five reasons unpack why a simple, unified platform that both manages and engages your church can be the engine of a thriving ministry:

  1. It will save you time

We get it. The prospect of replacing your current system can be a daunting one. While you may not think that you have the time to set up or manage another tool, getting all your technology behind one login will save you and your team hours, days, and weeks in the long run. With one simplified system, you can stop wasting time hunting down forgotten passwords and start investing more in people. That’s the reason you got into ministry in the first place, right?

  1. It will help you better steward your finances

Using one tool costs less than maintaining a smorgasbord of software licenses and subscriptions. It also helps you reallocate the resources you’re currently dumping into IT and allows you to funnel them toward the ministries that need that money the most.

  1. You can prevent people from falling through the cracks

One of the many risks incurred by disparate systems is that of people falling through the cracks. Let’s say Mr. and Mrs. Jones decide to stop coming to life group for a few weeks. Their small group leader calls and finds out that Mr. Jones had heart surgery and will be resting at home for the next six weeks. Then the small group leader goes through a busy season at work and forgets to call the Joneses for three weeks. By the time someone else in the small group thinks to check on the couple, it’s too late. The Joneses feel as though no one in their small group cares, so now they’re looking for a new church home.

When information such as church member data, small group attendance, and lay leader management are housed in the same system, you can set up workflows that prevent scenarios like the Jones’ from happening.   

  1. Streamline Giving and Fund More Ministry

One of the most powerful methods for encouraging a culture of generosity at your church is to set up a system of monthly recurring giving. This is especially key if most of your church members give online rather than the offering plate. A recurring giving program can provide predictability in an often unpredictable climate and build a long-lasting relationship with church members who otherwise might have been one-time givers.

What’s more, people like to be thanked. And they like to know that their contributions are doing something positive for the Kingdom. With monthly recurring giving, you have the opportunity to thank your church members often and keep them updated on all the ways they are helping to push your ministry forward.

A unified church management system allows your members to access their online giving statements from the same online profile they use to register for events and manage their member information—making it much easier to track their giving. Even if you don’t want to know precisely who is giving or not, church leaders can set up workflows that track what percentage of the congregation is enrolled in monthly recurring giving. Armed with this information, you can encourage the congregation at large to consider choosing this frequency and method of giving.

  1. Communicate with the right people using industry-standard best practices

In our media-saturated world, earning the attention of church members gets more difficult every day. We can’t expect people to remember an idea they hear during one hour on a Sunday morning. This is where your church management system becomes an invaluable ministry asset. It combines the data you collect with a communication tool that allows you to segment based on that information. Segmenting your database empowers you to strategically communicate with church members based on their specific interests and involvement levels in your ministry. Personalized emails and text messages make it easy to engage each church member with contextualized next steps to help them grow individually.

These are just a few ways that a simplified church management system can activate your ministry.

Click here to read how one of the most recognized churches in America rescued their data from silos and energized their ministry with the help of recurring giving.

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