If God has graced you with the gift to pastor, plant, staff or lead a church; you carry the weight of founding and building people in their faith. Becoming a skilled master builder is your goal.
“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”, is a military axiom used to guide the training of elite soldiers. The idea is to slow down and take the time to precisely learn an essential skill or team maneuver. Whether in the military, athletics, construction or ministry; at first all of us are clumsy with a new skill or team role. Trying to rush through learning a skill or execution strategy is clumsy. Keep rushing and you develop clumsy skills. And clumsy skills yield clumsy, slow, humbling results.
Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
When mobilizing people for ministry, your church management software (CMS) is the server behind every class, event, decision point, proficiency benchmark, and mission accomplishment. It’s where the vision and strategy for mobilization cross the line into actual execution. Rush in with expectations it should look and feel like Facebook, Instagram, Google or the latest, cool app is clumsy and yields clumsy results. Here are some training goals we’ve learned to help you slow down and carefully build into your software the mobilization system you’ve always dreamed of.
Map the journey. Of course, we all want to become and make fully devoted followers of Christ. That’s the dream, but to accomplish it, you have to break it down to the essential legs in the journey and develop a course of action for mastery of each. Some examples:
- I like this church and came a second time.
- I want to identify publicly with Jesus.
- I have done a fearless moral inventory of my life.
- I have developed a habit of spending time every day with Jesus.
- I have been trained to serve.
Start where people are. At the 5,000 foot level mobilization seems linear:
- Move people far from God to seeking him.
- Help seeking people discover and surrender to Jesus.
- Help Jesus-followers develop habits for daily transformation.
- Lead growing believers to discover their best place to serve.
But, when the rubber hits the road you recognize people far from God might be there due to different religious backgrounds, no religious background or too much religious background. These are all different starting points that require different responses or learning opportunities. And each step after that varies based on things like life experiences, spiritual gifts, lifestage and circumstance based interests. You’ll need to customize your software to reflect these organic, non-linear realities.
Segment the journey into pools. It is easiest to see a full map of the mobilization journey as a series of unique groups or pools. Each pool is filled with people who’ve signed up for or have progressed to and need to accomplish the goal of that pool. The “1st Time Guest” pool is full of people who need to come a 2nd time. The “Disciples ready to lead” pool is full of people equipped, experienced and ready to be sent out. Each pool has a leader or coach responsible to help equip those in their pool. Movement toward mobilization is handled as a series of hand offs from one pool to the next until ultimately they are placed into the discipleship, serving or leadership pool that best fits them. Once you’ve sketched the pools, you’ll be able to build that structure into your database.
Benchmark how people are doing. Business thrives on the principle that you can’t improve what you can’t measure. So, figure out a few key stopping points to track and measure over time. Here are some really common ones:
- 1st Visit
- 2nd Visit
- New Members Class
- Baptism Date
- Joined Church
- Completed Equipping Classes
- Group Leader
- Mission Trip Participants
Most of these are attributes that you track on a person’s profile in the database. You’ll be able to run reports to identify and track these over time. You can also use this data to track progress through your mobilization funnel.
You can't improve what you can't measure.
Move as a team. Surprisingly, team-building around use of technology is often the most difficult part of building a mobilization system. Volunteers and staff teams come together from different backgrounds and expectations. They are used to running plays different ways, using different language or using different software tools. This is where “slow is smooth” is really important. This is the place culture is built for using technology together. Care must be taken to make sure everyone on the team understands the need and develops the skills necessary to use software in the way it was intended to be used.
If you take the time to put these building blocks into place in your church management software and staff team, you’ll begin to see the benefits. Of course there will be clumsy moments. Emails or texts that weren’t quite customized right. A mis-calculation on timing for training. You can adjust these as you go along to make the system crisper. And when you do, you will begin to see the results. Maybe slow at first but as everything smooths out you will become a skilled master builder effectively mobilizing people for ministry.