If you pour out your time and heart to pick the right font, images, navigation and content for your website. If it drives you crazy to see unbranded or rogue email templates being used by staff. If you wish there were a way to connect your social media and streaming messages to your communication process. You must be responsible for your church's communication.
In 2 Corinthians 11:28, Paul writes, "Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches."
Pastors these days know exactly what Paul is referring to. They've felt the uncertainty of cancelling worship services for the first time in their church's history. They hear the conflicting counsel about re-opening. They feel the angst of political polarization. They care for out-of-work friends and family. They sincerely pray for the critically ill.
The thesis of this series has been that Website Integration and Workflow Automation can do for Engagement (Outreach, Assimilation, and Connection) what Online Giving has done for Stewardship. That is, provide a technology solution for accomplishing a major ministry objective in a way that is not dependent on large group gatherings. The current pandemic has forced us to use more virtual tools than ever. Let's not waste what we've learned.
In Moving Assimilation From Virtual To Reality, we traced a couple's journey through a completely online process of identifying with a ministry designed to help people in distressed marriages. We got them to the point of coming to a meeting the first time.
They show up, a bit timid at first, but the friend who called them meets them, shows them around (unless meeting online) and introduces them to a few others.
In our business, we intentionally blur the line between sales and on-boarding. For instance while doing a 30 day free trial (sales process), we will upload data, set up a text-to-church phone number, and make webinar training available (all on-boarding elements). This gives prospective clients the opportunity to better experience our software enabling them to make a more confident choice.
But once, they subscribe / commit to Churchteams, we are even more intentional about helping them on-board. We'll upload the rest of their data including attendance and giving history. We'll do custom one-on-one sessions to customize the software to the church's culture and structure. We'll get online giving set up. We'll encourage them to call or email for support. And much more. We do all this because we know that the first three to six months of using our software are critical for effectively realizing its potential.
A few weeks ago I introduced the idea of virtual outreach. More specifically how to use inbound marketing tools to engage your community. The goal, just like in business, is to get both contact and interest information. The next step is to build a campaign to use this information to address the person's interest and move them toward Christ and the church - assimilation. This is sales in business.
In our business, the sales process begins when someone signs up to learn more and stay in touch with us, does a live or automated webinar, and/or signs up for a 30 day free trial. Each of these represent a different level of interest and response. This weekly blog post goes to everyone as a way to stay in touch with us and learn about Church Management Innovation. Both the webinars and the 30 day trials have automated follow up processes in place to make sure no one falls through the cracks. These include emails, texts, videos, and personal phone calls.
In my last blog I presented the BHAG of redefining engagement. Not just looking at it through a different lens, but seeing it through the power of technology - a Virtual Reality headset. Online giving has done it for Stewardship. Web integration & workflow automation can do the same for engagement.
I break engagement into three parts: Outreach, Follow-up and Connection. I compare them to the business processes of Marketing, Sales and On-boarding. Today we're talking about Outreach, the Marketing side of engagement.
Several months ago, the XP of a large church in Florida mentioned to me that they no longer think of first time worship attenders as first time guests. They had discovered, even before the Coronavirus Pandemic, that all their first time attenders had watched the service online at least once before attending. That conversation grabbed my imagination and has been a frequent conversation topic since. How can we use today's technology to move church engagement from virtual to reality?
All of us miss being together on Sundays but we're finding new paths to stay connected. Like the creative ways many of you are using Text-to-Church to help.
One recent idea was to use All Check to have people text to let us know they were watching the live-stream or video. It also gives them an opportunity to respond, give and stay informed. Like a church bulletin, but on steroids.
But there was a problem. The system required starting up a label printer in order to use Check-in. So, we changed development priorities last week and are excited to release an upgrade to Check-in that allows you to create an automatic check-in start up schedule without having to start a label printer.
Since February I've been blogging on ways to use Workflows to automate many of the routine but vitally important tasks related to people, communication and processes in the church.
The other day, Kathi from Ohio asked about creating a workflow for her pastors to care for and encourage survivors after the death of their spouse. She is pretty good at workflows and had already defined the pathway.
The conversation reminded me of many others we've had about how to handle the death of a spouse from the perspective of the database. So, let's start with that and then get to the workflow.
Today's post is a follow-up to last week's on volunteer recruitment. The two posts work in tandem, you really need to master both to get the process down.
Last time we saw the need for a Ministry Connection Central group that simplifies church-wide communication and then auto-registers responses for specific Ministry Connection follow-up.
We then saw how to use a specific Ministry Connection group to develop a follow-up system to move those interested in connecting to their next step of registering for training. The system automates communication to ensure we are doing due diligence as staff to honor their initial interest.
The church runs on volunteers. Pastors and staff are looking for help. Attenders and members are anxious to help. So, why is recruiting hard?
Every week or so staff get notified that people want to serve in their area of ministry. They send an email or leave a voice mail and if there's no response, they're on to next week's contacts. They don't have an adequate system or bandwidth to continue pursuing people.
Meanwhile attenders and members keep responding to the asks about their interests on Sunday and wonder why staff don't respond like promised. It could be that the email or voice message came in the middle of their work day, got put aside for later and then forgotten.
We recently gave some thought to how to solve this problem using the Churchteams system and Workflows. Here's what we came up. See what you think.