At Church Community Builder, we talk a lot about how technology can improve the way you do ministry. While technology makes capturing data, numbers, and trends easier, if we’re only tracking numbers, we can easily slip into a catch and release ministry mentality that doesn’t make people feel valued. My friend Chris Mavity cautioned against this and gave several ways your church can break the system of approaching ministry like a fishing experience. Chris explained that the only real way for effective long-term ministry is to value your members as people.
Think for a minute about what makes you feel valued by people or organizations in your life. Isn't when those people or organizations really know you and interact with you based on that knowledge? Doesn't it really encourage you when someone affirms one of your unique qualities instead of just saying you're a "great guy?" It certainly works that way for me.
Consider this: Technology can be used to help us remember what we know about people just as much as it helps us identify key metrics and trends in our church. If we use it that way, we can increase the effectiveness of our ministry by valuing people at a whole new level. We can actually show people they matter to us instead of simply treating them like number on a spreadsheet.
So, what are some things we can record about people which will help us know them and express how much we value them?
- Spiritual Gifts
- Strengths & Abilities
- Passions & Interests
- Personality Traits
- Types of Events Attended
- Programs and Causes supported
- Specific Behaviors (e.g., invites people, tells stories, serves, socializes, leads)
What technology can help you gather and record this data?
- Online forms and surveys are a great way to gather information. Just be sure you can easily connect what you gather to a personal profile on each person who completes the form.
- Small Group management tools are essential to helping your leaders record what they learn as they "do life" with people.
- The church website should be more than an online brochure. Make it the portal from which people access the forms and other tools you are using.
- Your church management software should pull all of this together and become your ultimate information hub. If it can't do the things mentioned above, at least be sure you can connect it to tolls that do. Fragmented data is worthless data!
Many times we think that technology gets in the way of our relationships. However, implemented well, technology can actually improve our relationships by helping us remember the things we discover about people in our lives and make them feel valued as a result.
What else does your church record to make people feel valued? What impact have you seen from it?