Reframing the view of church management software — part II

As I pointed out in my previous post this week, most people assume the primary benefit of a church management software is to manage a church. However, when we focus more on the organization as a whole than the people in it, we miss the point. That's when it's time to reframe our view of church management software.

I spent a good portion of my career in the nonprofit industry before joining Church Community Builder. Most of the nonprofits I worked with used technology to manage donor relationships. However, getting people in the system wasn’t the goal. Relationship was the goal. Likewise, businesses use technology for business development, but it’s not about seeing how many prospects can be added to the list ... it’s about using technology to cultivate relationship to the point where someone decides that they can benefit from working with that organization.

That’s what made me realize we need a different perspective when talking about church management software. Here's why:

  1. The focus is often on the church, rather than the people. If you’ve ever tried to explain your church management software to a lay leader in your church, you’ve probably run into this assumption. Every discussion we have about church management software should be based on the idea that it is helping people grow in their relationship with Christ.
  2. Church Management Software tends to be interpreted as staff-driven instead of member-centric. Most churches rely on one or two people to manage the information collected in their church management software. However, the real benefit comes when we engage and equip our staff and lay leaders to leverage the tool. The more people who touch the technology, the greater and more valuable the data becomes. Your church members are a vital part of your church’s ability to accomplish its mission, and your discussions about church management software should always reflect that.
  3. We assume the variables are constant. Most technology allows you to make decisions based on constant variables — for example, you set the thermostat in your house knowing the outdoor temperature for that day. However, relationship variables aren’t constant. Community is messy. You can’t set your church management software on autopilot and walk away from it for six months.
  4. The focus is often on the software instead of the processes and systems. Good software doesn't fix bad process, it simply speeds them up! When you think your church management software will solve all your issues without first addressing the bigger problems created by your core processes, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

You don’t build relationships with numbers and data. You build relationships with people. While we’re not trying to rename an entire industry, I hope this serves as a reminder that there’s a problem when the focus is more on the church as an organization than the people within in the community.

How would you define church management software based on your church’s end-goal?

Photo Credit: APM Alex via Compfight cc

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Posted by Steve Caton on October 02, 2013