Back when ‘church management software’ was just a program loaded onto one computer in the church office, that software was just a database. A digital rolodex, even. The natural perspective that came along with it was that the software was just for the office administrator, sitting at the computer and entering all the data in to the database while others were out on the front lines doing ministry. But both the always-connected software world and the paradigms of the church have shifted away from this, and I’m so glad of it. Why?
Your church management software can and should be so much more than a database — it should be a discipleship tool. Here are three reasons why.
- As a church, you are called to reach, serve, and steward people ... and you can’t do that if they keep falling through the cracks. It’s impossible to reach out to people who are falling away from the church if all you can see is that you had “roughly X number of people” in service last Sunday. Church management software should help you track those people and spot changes in their attending or giving patterns that you might not notice otherwise, so you know to reach out to them while you still can.
- All the leaders in your church need tools, not just the office admins. Not just your paid staff, even. Your small group leaders need a central place to connect people. Your connections volunteers need a tool to manage the process guests go through as they move from first-time visitors to fully fledged members. Your financial administrator needs to be able to connect people’s gifts to their profiles so a huge step in the journey of spiritual growth—obedience in giving—is reflected in the same place as other information about that person. Everything each of these leaders touches individually is a vital piece of the picture about that person as a whole. They need to be in an interconnected system.
- Good tools — tracking real, relevant information about individual people — produce good data for making good decisions. The reason it’s important for your small groups leaders and connections volunteers and financial administrator to be working in the same system is that all that information, taken together, can give the leaders who need it a holistic view of not just an individual but the church as a whole. You probably have good instincts about what’s going on in your ministry right now, where you’re struggling and where you’re succeeding ... but that’s no reason to downplay the value of having data to back it up. Whether the numbers affirm your instincts or challenge you in a new way, they enable leaders to make ministry decisions on a solid foundation.
Giving leaders the tools they need is what we’re all about.
At the recent Sticky Teams conference, Chris Brown of North Coast Church in Vista, California got up and shared about what makes Church Community Builder different. He really hit on the heart of what we try to do here, what gets us up in the morning to build our software, coach our partners, even write these blogs. It’s not about giving two administrators in the church office a database to take care of; it’s about giving all the leaders in a church, paid and unpaid, the tools they need to take care of and disciple the people who walk through the doors.