This post was written by Keith Hudgins. Keith is an Implementation Consultant with ACS Technologies and spends the majority of his time working with churches and helping them learn how to use and implement Realm.
Let me tell you about an imaginary church and their journey in the world of information management. Let’s be clear. This is not your church! Your church would have never encountered this problem. This is some “made up” church that never existed. You probably cant even relate to the problems this church has encountered.. Read on anyway, it will encourage you in how well you are doing!
At some point in the distant past, this (totally made up) church decided that is was time to enter the digital age. They needed a “church management system.” Something to help them streamline the process of recording information and communicating with the church. All the staff were excited when the person came to train them. Sadly, as time passed, fewer and fewer staff used the database. There were several reasons. First off, it was a bit “left-brained” for many of the pastors and staff at the church. They were right-brained people full of creativity and compassion. They didn’t even know what “boolean” meant. It was perfectly fine for them to have name and email as the only piece of information on someone’s profile. This drove the person in charge of the database crazy because they were always having to fix the mistakes of everyone else. In an effort to keep the database clean, the administrator took away all the rights of everyone else. The only way to update a profile was to go to the administrator. If anyone ever needed information from the database, they had to ask. They were not able to get it on their own. Maybe because they didn’t know how or maybe because they didn’t have rights. Either way, they were left in the dark when it came to church data. (Again, this never happened)
Then one day that person announced they were going to retire. Before she left she showed someone two or three things about the database, made sure they knew how to call support and off she went to enjoy her retirement. Meanwhile, the youth pastor had decided he needed a way to quickly and easily email parents of youth so he built a really slick spreadsheet with everyone’s information that he could use for communication. The worship pastor was equally eager to use technology with his worship teams. He also found a cool software that allowed him to manage all of his music groups and communicate with them. The children’s pastor was growing more and more concerned about security so she found a great software that allowed her to check in kids and print out security tags and mark attendance. The connections pastor was also eager to get people more connected so she created several groups in Facebook that allowed people to communicate with each other. Then there was the topic of event registration. Children’s ministry, youth ministry, and adults used something totally different. Meanwhile, all the giving was going into the main database that was purchased all those years ago.
Years later, the church hired a new pastor, and he began to ask everyone to help him understand how much people participated in church, no one could tell him. Why? There was not a single place that anyone could go and get the heartbeat of what was going on in the church. In addition, none of the information silos talked to each other so most of the data was inaccurate in all of them. Sadly these information silos had also led to ministry silos where each ministry was left to fend for itself when it came to communication, volunteer recruiting, and engagement. (What a mess! I am sure glad this actually never happened!)
If this church had existed, Realm® Connect would be a great tool for them to tear down some of those information silos. Contributions and pledges are handled in the same tool as check-in and event registration. Attendance and ministry follow-up are all managed in the same tool. Communication to parents is part of the same application used to allow other group members to engage with each other. Realm serves up information on its Dashboard to help the entire staff see how they are doing in giving, attendance, and involvement. Realm helps eliminate ministry silos by providing a clean, easy to use tool with lots of features for every ministry to use. If that church did exist, I would definitely encourage them to look at Realm.