Relationships are critical to a healthy church or parish. Connecting with people is how you help them grow spiritually. In smaller churches, this is easy. A staff member can know most— if not everyone—who attends a service. This knowledge builds relationships and helps ministry leaders be more effective.
In larger churches, though, things work differently. More people attending means it’s increasingly more difficult to know everyone. We are all looking at how to get more people in church after the pandemic and are faced with the fact that our average church members and parishioners only attend a couple of times per month. So a church with 1,200 in weekly attendance easily has 1,500 – 2,000 who regularly attend. Plain and simple: it’s just hard to know that many people.
Then, combine the number of potential relationships with the complexity of running an organization that size, and you see how easy it is to overlook building connections. So many things demand your attention. As you look at your team, calendar, and resources, several questions flood your mind. How do you:
- Build more relationships in such a rapid world?
- Reach more people without more resources?
- Foster more connection and community?
Ministry expert, Managing Relationships with Technology, shares these two words in response to the above questions: Enter Technology. Take a breath here and remember, your staff already uses technology to connect with people and build relationships: email and social media. No matter their age, people are very much accustomed to doing it. Now you have the chance to do this at an organizational level. While it may feel like an overwhelming task, it’s not. Start with just a few simple steps:
Develop the discipline of putting everything in your database:
None of this works if the data isn’t current. Since your staff interacts with a wide range of people, it’s hard to track who talked to whom. Establish and reinforce the need to put everything in the database. No exceptions.
→ Action: Make this a priority for everyone. No one gets a pass. Give someone full ownership, so nothing slips through the cracks.
Decide the key things you need to know:
Your ChMS tool should allow flexibility to customize profiles. This means you can add things like birthdates, wedding anniversaries, dates a loved one passed, and so on. Customizing your data means you stay aware of what you want to know in someone’s life.
→ Action: Set time with your leadership to decide what information you need to know.
Work with your ChMS company to ensure you’re getting the most from the platform:
ChMS tools like Realm make ministry easier and more effective. Everyone at the company knows how to better use what they built. Use the expertise of someone who spends all day using it and knows it well. Their insight helps your ministry thrive.
→ Action: Schedule time with your customer success representative. Have them show you the best ways to manage offline relationships with the platform you use.
The truth is that since the COVID 19 pandemic, our churches and parishes have all been stretched into areas and introduced to technology that was far beyond our comfort zone. And, look at what happened: we were catapulted into successfully live streaming church services and small groups were consistently held over virtual meetings… all so that people could hear the Good News and remained connected to the Body of Christ. We were avoiding the “Sunday only Christian” and really diving in with each other to stay connected and in touch, i.e. building relationships through discipline.
Now that things are returning to a bit more normal this fall and we can be face to face again in our gatherings, we certainly don’t need to relax our usage of technology. Recognize it as a tool to help us to continue to manage church growth, connect with our communities, and be known when we aren’t face-to-face. Technology helps us to continue the conversation and build relationships outside of the church walls.
More is to come on the managing relationships with technology topic, such as what to avoid and even how to alleviate technology headaches (who’s looking forward to that read as much as I am?!). As we are in the first quarter of a new year, be encouraged by Matthew 18:19-20 and permit the technology, that is so readily accessible to our hands, to be a bridge in staying in contact with and building relationships so that you can virtually “gather in His name” and have every confidence that He is with you.
Relationships are critical to a healthy church. In larger churches, though, it’s hard to stay connected. Technology can accelerate the speed of lasting relationships. This new resource, Managing Relationships with Technology, demonstrates how technology is your best team member for managing more relationships. And, to make it even easier and so you don’t miss any of our Church Growth Resources, you can also receive our ministry blog posts straight to your inbox!
Steve serves as ACS Technologies’ Vice President of Technology. He has been with the company since 1982 and started in the programming department. Steve has a degree in management science from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University.