While growing an online ministry, having the right church management system (ChMS) is no longer just a luxury. It has become a necessity. After setting up your ChMS, it can be tempting to start at a full sprint using the whole system. But realistically, going full speed ahead on your ChMS can get overwhelming, difficult, and result in serious burnout from your whole staff. With billing tools, child check-in, volunteer training, tracking, action workflows, report syncing, events, directories, and so much more, your staff has a lot to master before your ministry can get the full value out of your ChMS.
To avoid falling off your church management system, you need treat it like a marathon. Starting off at a sprint will only tire you and your staff out in the end, making it difficult or even impossible to feel fully comfortable with your whole ChMS.
Get full use out of your church management system by ensuring everyone—your admins, staff, volunteers, and your whole congregation—feels comfortable with it. We recommend you start at a slower pace before you pick up speed for your marathon run.
Lace up your shoes. Here's how to get started!
Be Comfortable With It Yourself
As a leader in your church, you should take the time to learn the whole shebang of your ChMS inside and out. I know, the idea can be daunting in itself, but it's vital that at least one person on your team can have a full understanding of the entire ChMS in case people have questions (and they will).
When learning the software yourself, take a "layered" approach, that we explain below. The important thing is that you take this software one step at a time, or else you may end up missing out on some great functions of your church management system.
Choose the Functions Most Important For Your Church
After you've taken the time to feel comfortable with your church management software yourself, it's time to plan. Ask yourself:
- Which tools do we absolutely need to use first?
- Which tools do we want to start using soon?
- Which tools will be the most complicated to teach?
Each ministry is different, and because of that, only you can determine your church's needs. Use this layered approach when you think about your church management system's functionality. Start by adding the events and resources functionality so your staff can reserve classrooms, meeting rooms, and the kitchen: all of the things you can't go without on a daily basis. Then, when your church is ready, add child check-in for your events and Sunday childcare. Over time, your volunteer training and approval process can be moved to your ChMS, you can fill your directory, start using the automatic workflows, online giving reports, and the rest of your ChMS tools and functions.
As an aside...
We've heard of some churches throwing a "directory" party, complete with pizza, games, and a photo booth to fill your directory with all their information, volunteering qualification, and fun a photo! Maybe some Pokemon will stop by, too ;)
Train, Train, Train!
I know, I know, training will be a lot of work and may seem like a bit of a hassle at first thought, but having everyone understand how to best use your ChMS will not only be good for your ministry now, but as your church family grows (and we hope it does!), it will make management easier and easier as you grow in number. And trust me, when your congregation grows from 200 to 400, you'll be glad your whole church family knows how to use it!
After you're comfortable with your church management system you can train the rest of your staff and other church leaders, followed by your faithful volunteers, and finally bring in the congregation as a whole.