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Realm Pathways: Use Automation to Keep your Ministry on Track

Mark Thompson April 22, 2015

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I thought I’d take my blog post as a chance to remind Realm users about a sometimes-forgotten feature: Pathways.

At some point, all ministers have wished their church was better at coordinating some collective task. New members, for example, need to receive welcome packets from one person, invitations to meetings and groups from others, home visits from someone else, etc.

A pathway is simply a robust checklist in which responsibility for each item can be assigned to a different person. Once set up, automated notifications ensure that no task languishes forgotten. It was originally conceived as a way to set up courses toward spiritual growth or church leadership roles: Becoming a More Sensitive Spouse, Becoming a Sunday School Teacher, Becoming an Usher, etc. But, in theory, pathways could be used to organize just about any process at your church. Once you’re aware of pathways, I suspect you’ll start finding many creative ways to use them.

To set up a pathway, click Admin. Under Groups, select Pathways, and click Add a Pathway.

Let’s say you want to create a pathway to ensure that new attendees are not neglected, but shepherded reliably toward church membership.

You might enter a Pathway Name like “Path to Membership”. Then, you can assign a leader to the pathway. It isn’t required, but pathway leaders add a point of contact and accountability for your process.

Next, you should add steps to your pathway. Steps are tasks that have to be accomplished in order for a participant to complete a pathway. Typical steps toward membership are a phone call, visit, a membership class, etc. A name is all that’s required for a step to be saved, but I suggest assigning a step leader and a duration. That way, if a participant stops progressing through the process, Realm automatically notifies the leader once the duration has been reached. It eliminates that “somebody else will take care of it” attitude that can bottleneck your church from reaching its goals.

You’ll notice that steps can be “ordered” or “unordered”. Ordered steps have to be done in proper sequence, unordered steps don’t. You can’t move a person to step 3 until he finishes step 2. But you can complete an unordered step at any point on the pathway.

Once the pathway and its steps are set up, you can add start adding participants. Complete instructions for pathways are in Realm’s online help.

If you’re still intimidated by pathways, you might want to set up some trial runs, adding trusted staff members as participants—just until you feel comfortable with it. You can easily delete pathways that you don’t use.

Pathways Click to animate.

Mark Thompson is a tech writer for ACS Technologies’ cloud offering, Realm.

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