Last week we were at the Exponential Conference in Orlando. It is an exciting gathering of thousands of people devoted to multiplying leaders and planting churches. Our many conversations with men and women enthusiastically pursuing a life of significance through mentoring and multiplication reminded me again of why we started Churchteams.
When I was a student at the University of Oklahoma, I was deeply involved in a campus ministry that taught me how to know Christ intimately and make him known. My sophomore year on a mountain in Colorado I committed to give my life in exchange for other people in whatever way God wanted to use me.
I ended up completing seminary and working on church staff as a discipleship pastor. Ten years in, the Lord focused my calling to co-founding Churchteams with my dear friend, Mark Horan. Our purpose was and still is to provide software for making disciples and team-building - our language for mentoring and multiplication. Here's how to use Churchteams to track mentoring.
In church life, programs provide Biblical content and an environment for relationship development. These are easy to track.
- Group Involvement. On the member profile page, you can see which groups people are or previously were involved in. Dig a little deeper to see their attendance.
- Benchmark Membership Attributes. When people complete significant discipleship or leadership programs (steps), benchmark those with a date attribute on their member profile. This gives you a way to run reports to find those who have completed the class during a certain time frame.
At one level mentoring happens in these didactic environments, so we shouldn't disregard their importance. But when most of us think about a mentor, we mean a one to one, life to life interaction between a mentor and a protege. In fact, the word comes from Homer's Oddyssey. Mentor was the friend of Odysseus entrusted to educate his son Telemachus. The relationship is similar to the prophets and priests with their disciples in the Old Testament and Jesus with his disciples in the New Testament.
Mentoring assumes a level of intentionality. It can be initiated by either the mentor or the protege. Good questions, prayer and Biblical insight are imperative. Here's how to use notes to drive intentionality.
- Create a Note Type (Settings > Members > Note Types) to track mentoring. Define who has access to these and add a password to further protect information.
- Using Notes. Church staff and volunteer mentors need to be trained to see notes as a helpful tool for them to remember their interactions and then to remind them to pray and follow up with those with whom they meet. Emphasize that they will be more successful mentors using this tool to be more intentional.
- Use Groups For First Level Mentoring - Have mentors create a group to manage the protege's they lead. This gives them a dashboard area to manage their mentoring ministry. Customize the Group View for the group to show the mentoring note type. Sort the group view based on note follow up date. This will put the next contacts to follow up at the top of the group.
- Member listing (with notes) Report - Go to Reports > Members to see this report type. Select it and you'll see a lot of options to choose from. You can even filter the reports based on groups, group types, or coaches (more on this next week). The result will be a report that gives you a view of the mentoring interactions people have had over the chosen date range.
These are the basics for using your church management software for tracking mentoring and discipleship. In the next blog post, I will show you how to use the software to multiply your mentoring ministry.