Church is about what’s familiar: old friends, ancient traditions. It’s why so many of us love getting together. But, when you introduce a new way of managing church—like Realm—into this comfortable environment, gaining traction among the congregation requires you to have a plan. So we’ve come up with ideas to help you roll out Realm to your worshippers that have helped more than a few churches.
First, announce the change early—at least a month ahead. Talk about it first to your staff. Then church leaders. Support among these groups makes the transition much easier. Emphasize the crucial role they play in forming enthusiastic early opinions. Remind staff members about the advantages of having churchgoers keep their own information current. Tell your church leaders about instant access to colorful graphs that automatically track contributions, attendance, and involvement levels.
Remind group leaders how they can schedule events, communicate with members, take attendance, share files and web links with their group—all from their desktop, tablet, or phone.*
Once staff and leaders are on board, you can start making regular and frequent announcements to all churchgoers.
Second, perform a few limited roll outs. Some churches have made an event of this. A drawing is held where 25 to 50 people are selected to sign up for Realm. Or, if you prefer, select these early participants yourself.
Regardless, enter their names and information into Realm. Be sure to check “Send a Realm Invite” when doing so. That way, they’ll receive an emailed link. Then, one click will start their login process.
After the first roll out, gather some feedback, which you can use to make adjustments. Add another group of 50, gauge your success, and decide if you need another mini-roll out, or if you’re ready for the whole church.
At which point, it’s time for step 3. Select two or three active study groups. The leaders of these groups will be important in spreading the word throughout the church. In Realm, add them and their members, create their groups, and encourage them to use all of Realm’s groups features.
Experiment with message posting, group-wide emails , resource sharing, and taking attendance.*
Finally, you’re ready to bring all your churchgoers into Realm. Talk it up in Sunday services and any mass communication tools you use: church-wide TV screens, newsletters, bulletins, and emails. Remind members about the potential benefits: registering online for events, printing their own contribution statements, communicating easily with group members and friends, staying up-to-date on church activities.
But above all—draw attention to this transition. Realm isn’t something you want to implement quietly at your church. It thrives on engagement. The more people who use it, the better it works. So mention it often and enthusiastically.
Thanks to Russ Fortier for his help with this article.
* These features available only to Connect and Multiply customers. To see which Realm package you’re subscribed to, click Admin > Manage Realm Account > Account Summary.