Two years ago, when Kevin Kapchinski became director of religious education at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bryan, Texas, every record he needed for ministry was on paper: sacraments, attendance, notes about parishioners receiving pastoral care – you name it.
While membership and financial records for the 6,800 members were on a PDS database, only one staff member could access it. It was hard to get information about the people that the parish sought “to meet, to know, to love and to serve Jesus.”
With more than a dozen years in parish ministry and in university IT services before that, Kevin knew there were better ways to learn what was happening in parishioners’ lives. He had used several such programs, ranging from PDS with Formation Office to a Microsoft Access database that an enterprising minister had built from scratch.
He soon asked to upgrade the PDS system. Instead, he received an offer to pilot MinistryPlatform for the Diocese of Austin. He’s overjoyed with the results. “MinistryPlatform has transformed our process of evangelization,” he said.
“I think the biggest difference between everything else that I used and MinistryPlatform is that it’s so person-centered. It allows for the technology side of things to get out of the way and allows for the employees like myself to use the tool in a way that serves the people.” – Kevin Kapchinksi, Director of Religious Education
Saves Time, Allows More Time for Ministry
The clergy and staff now spend far less time on paperwork and far more on ministry.
With a click or two on a phone app or computer, all of them can see how people are participating in parish life. They can identify potential leaders as well as those who need help to deepen their faith. Clergy and staff can quickly sort by people who are new, people who haven’t been to church for six months, people engaged in social ministry, or any other matter of interest.
“In one platform we can see the full picture of a family and how we, the Church, are serving them. MinistryPlatform is part and parcel of everything we do now in every office and every department. The ease of use is like no other database system I’ve used. It’s simple. It’s elegant. It gets the job done. There’s no church management software quite as robust and effective as MinistryPlatform.” – Kevin Kapchinksi, Director of Religious Education
All Hands on Deck
St. Joseph Parish was founded more than 125 years ago, and today has a diverse population ranging from medical professionals to farmers. In fact, St. Joseph offers a 7 a.m. “farmers Mass” to accommodate their challenging schedules.
Last year, the parish received a call from a farmer whose family wasn’t registered. For two generations, the family had been too overwhelmed with work to come to church regularly. Neither the parents nor their several children had received all the sacraments. The staff didn’t know them. But now the family was reaching out. With help from MinistryPlatform, the parish reached back.
Kevin entered the family into the MinistryPlatform database. Then, after talking with them, he developed a custom ministry plan, taking into account their schedules and their distant location. It included milestones for each family member to reach as they learned more about the faith.
The parents met with the pastor multiple times. With alerts from MinistryPlatform, other members of the staff stayed in touch with them to encourage them. Deacons have gone to their home for dinner to talk about Catholic marriage and family life. “Everybody was all hands on deck for this family,” Kevin said.
When the bishop came to do confirmations for three parishes in Bryan, Kevin says, “their whole family received all their sacraments together — them and their kids. It was mind-blowingly beautiful.”
“Thanks be to God, but also to MinistryPlatform for helping the process go well. The check-ins are these little moments of accompaniment that MinistryPlatform helps us to accomplish. It helps us to walk with people as Jesus would have.” – Kevin Kapchinksi, Director of Religious Education
To learn more about St. Joseph Catholic Church, click here
To learn more about MinistryPlatform, click here