For almost 2 years now, my friend Steve Caton of Altezza Solutions has been coaching me on Sales and Marketing. I need all the help I can get. From my recent reading I've been thinking about a topic that actually comes up in conversations all the time ...
"what makes Churchteams different?"
I've responded to that question in many different ways through the years. One of them is the path we have travelled to get where we are. Every Church Management Software company has a story. There was some initial problem that the founders of every company set out to solve.
It is my sense that this story really matters. In fact it may matter more now than ever before. Why? Because the founding story gives you insight into the culture of the company that you are deciding to work with. If Peter Drucker is right that, "culture eats strategy for breakfast," then discerning culture is a better indicator about the future of your relationship with a software company than their strategy.
Currently, the market is demanding that the features of our companies converge. There is still a lot of distinctiveness there, but it will continue to blur. For more on that, join me on a live Zoom Meet The Software webinar sometime. You'll get a feel for what I mean.
If I were to boil down the background stories of the many different companies, I would pick three categories illustrated by the pictures below. Most of us interact in all three areas, but which one is primary does influence the culture. Here are my thoughts on that. You might see it differently. That's totally okay.
Finances. Managing donations and how a church uses the money given to it is a matter of integrity both within and outside the church. Like me, you know of churches that have had pastors or volunteers mismanage and even embezzle church funds. It takes a church years to recover from this dishonesty if at all. So, it is crucial that all proper software accounting and security is taken care of with excellence.
With the advent of online giving the past decade or more, financial firms, sometimes with Venture Capital support, have acquired church management software companies. Most of the time the culture of the acquired company gets overshadowed by the culture and goals of the acquiring company.
In very broad terms a company with a focus on finances is generally more expensive and business metric driven. This is what the market demands and it is a leading influence in the company culture and the way it manages relationships.
Worship Services. There was a strong demand that began 30 years ago for churches to become more relevant to their culture. At that time much of the culture didn't see what happened on Sunday as relevant. So, in order to attract people, churches changed their Sunday experiences. As crowds grew and technolgoy matured, software was developed to help with everything that happened on Sunday: worship, children's ministry (security), volunteer management, event registration, facility management, etc..
Every one of these solved essential problems that helped churches thrive and scale. They have done so much to improve the Sunday experience in every way. They are so significant that everyone in this space has built upon and added them to their feature set.
The cultures of these companies tend to be entrepreneural, tech-wise, and fundamentally loyal to the initial feature that opened the door for them.
Relationships. The Churchteams story began with a desire to help churches make disciples and build teams. At the heart was the desire to use software to manage the process of connecting people to God and each other. Initially, we didn't anticipate moving into the areas of finances and worship services, but over the years we discovered all of these things are integrated. So, we built out everything that churches expect in order to help in all of these areas.
The difference for us is that we want to help churches use software to develop processes to build the relationships that are so central to discipleship. In our first stage this meant small groups. In recent years it has meant building email, text, workflow, website integration, and App communication tools to help engage relationship development. The finance and worship services features were sandwiched in-between developmentally.
This focus has led us to a company culture built around values like service, humility, and team. This is the culture of relationships that we help churches develop and we know it has to start with us.
So, if you are looking for a software company that you can have a real relationship with and that will help you build authentic relationships, we are worth getting to know. These are the things that drive our culture. If they drive yours too, call us or join me for my next Meet The Software Zoom webinar.