As I travel around and speak with church leaders, I hear a common theme of growth. I hear from struggling churches that worry about how they can attract new people because they fear stalling and dying. I hear from thriving churches about how they have grown, and there are countless blogs, books, and resources focused on growing your church. I understand it. Nobody goes into ministry hoping to make a small impact. We want to impact as many lives, as much of our communities, and as much of our world as we can, so the focus on growth makes sense. But I believe that we are better served by shifting our focus from growth to health.
This shift may be subtle, but I think is it key to your long-term success. By investing in and empowering the believers who are already at your church, you are focusing on health. There are always new ideas for how to be a successful church, but Paul’s words in Ephesians shouldn’t be passed up for just the newest popular strategy. Ephesians 4 tells us to equip the saints for the work of the ministry — invest in your people and put them to work doing the same. Almost seems too simple, right? But just because it is simple does not mean it is easy. Paul’s approach raises up leaders who in turn invest in the next generation of leaders, resulting in a multiplying effect that reaches much further than your staff alone ever could. The focus is health, but the result is growth.
Having the focus on investing in and equipping people is a great start, but how do you actually do it? Your first instinct may not have been to answer ‘with technology’, but I believe there are many ways that your church management system (ChMS) can do just that. Here are three.
How Your ChMS Should Help You Equip Your People:
- Serving. One of the easiest ways to engage people in ministry is to give them a job. It can be a simple and intuitive way to develop people. But too often the focus is just on filling a need instead of investing in your volunteers. Simply doing a pulpit call on Sunday isn’t an ineffective way of engaging people, and half the people who volunteer aren’t actually suited for the position, leading to quick burnout. If you want your volunteer leaders to thrive, you need to help them get connected to a ministry that really fits them, a position that takes into account their unique gifts, passions, and abilities. It’s easy for those thinking of serving to find the right place with a software tool that makes it simple for them to enter those gifts and passions of theirs and be shown positions that best fit them in return. And once they’ve begun serving, a ChMS is a great place to keep schedules, requests, opportunities, and more in one central location. Why create a data silo if you don’t need to?
- Giving. Giving is a huge step in both someone’s faith walk and their commitment to the church. It’s important that you make it easy and intuitive for people, and it’s important that you be able to track it so you can engage with people wherever they are. In this digital age, you don’t want to just pass an offering bucket — you want to make online and mobile giving options available. By having a simple and powerful online giving interface connected with your church management system, you can not only lower the barriers to giving, but keep the records of that giving in the place they can serve to inform your leaders and your decision making: with your records on the people who give them.
- Connecting. When you connect serving and giving within your ChMS, you gain access to powerful information about people’s engagement. Do you feel like one of your faithful givers hasn’t been around lately? How long? Since when? Do you know? Do you feel like your volunteers burn out quickly and quit? Do you know? Keeping all your information on your people and your ministries in one central database enables you to make connections across data and see trends in your church as well as in individuals. A look at your serving rates could tell you that your discipleship program isn’t doing well, or that people aren’t getting plugged into the right roles. A dive into your giving records could warn you that someone’s giving has dropped off abruptly. How many people are falling through the cracks or drifting away from your church? What is your plan to connect with them and find out what’s going on? Without a holistic view of engagement, the best you can do is use your gut instincts to help keep people engaged.
You’re called to equip the saints. If you invest in and empower people, the kingdom grows. Church Community Builder has always been designed specifically to give church leaders — whether or not they’re on the payroll — the tools they need to do ministry better. With a focus on serving, giving, reporting, and the powerful new dashboard and metrics for executive pastors, it’s a powerful tool for ministry leaders. Does your ChMS help you equip your church members and watch the trends in your ministry so you can grow?