Everybody needs an infusion of encouragement every once in a while. The early church founders certainly needed it, and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our encourager and helper.
But you know what else needs a dose of encouragement? Your church management software. It sounds weird, I know, but it’s true. Your system needs a encourager — a champion.
At Church Community Builder, when we work with new clients we talk about the importance of identifying the person on your staff who’ll become the ongoing champion of the system. There has to be someone advocating for continued and growing use of the system, and encouraging its adoption across your entire church. Some people point to this as a sign of too much complexity. That’s just not a fair assessment. The truth is, any system you try to implement in an organization has to have a champion, whether it is new technology or a new approach to small groups. Without a champion, every system will degrade over time until it’s useless.
A champion can make the difference between engagement and irrelevance for any system in your church. Here’s how:
- Awareness. Your teams have to know why the system matters — not just to the champion, but to their unique roles and every role across your church. They need to know how the system will help your church live out your mission and reach more people more effectively in your area. Otherwise, the system becomes just another thing on their already overloaded task list.
- Personalization. Champions help people connect the system to their individual roles and their passions. They help them see how the new system will empower them to make a greater impact through their ministries.
- Knowledge. Once people have bought into the value the new system will bring to the church and to them individually, they’ve got to know how to take advantage of it. A champion leads the charge when it comes to training and coaching, as well as collecting the stories of how the system is making a difference across your ministries.
- Accountability. This is a huge part of the success in any new system. Somebody’s got to hold your stakeholders accountable to their implementation plan’s specific milestones and objectives. It can be uncomfortable, but a champion has to enforce those milestones or risk the whole system’s success. It doesn’t all have to be deadlines and timelines, however — champions can develop fun rewards for those who hit their milestones, while removing responsibility for those who don’t.
- Reinforcement. Once a new system is implemented, the work is only half-done. You can’t just ‘set it and forget it’ when it comes to a major new system initiative. Successful systems require constant monitoring and reinforcement. Is it working as you expected? Has anything changed, either in the system or in your organizational environment, that requires action? How is the system and its maintenance being handled when staff members leave or shift positions? How can you share the stories of how the system is making ministry more effective — the reason why you started using the system in the first place?
It’s easy to spot when those around us need encouragement. It’s not so easy to see when your systems need it. That’s why an identified champion is so essential, and why having one on your staff will make your ministry that much better.
Tell me — what value have systems champions brought to your organization? How might champions have helped you in previous systems rollouts?