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New in Realm: Increased Security Options for Your Ministry

Realm

We know the privacy of those in your Realm community is vital to your ministry. We’ve been making adjustments to increase security for your data within Realm. Recently released, was a new feature that allows you to take control of setting the security measures that work best for your church.

Now, admins can choose what a new member of your Realm community can view based on their member status.

First, you’ll need to make sure you’re using Member Status in Realm to categorize those in your Realm community. You may have statuses such as Member, Attendee, Child, Contributor Only, Guests, or any others specific to your ministry. 

We recommend that you require a Member Status when entering a new profile. This ensures privacy settings are in place each time someone new joins your Realm community. However, if you do not require a member status, anyone without a member status will have the highest security & privacy restriction by default. You can also set a default member status. Ex. Guest, for all new profiles which will default to that status and the security and privacy settings associated with that default status.

realm edit member status

Setting Statuses

Once your member statuses are set, click Save and Edit Security & Privacy, or navigate to the Security & Privacy page within System Settings in Your Ministry Hub. Here you’ll see the list of your member statuses and what they are or are not allowed to view within Realm. Your choices are:

  • See the directory
  • Start a chat with anyone in the church
  • See others’ contact and profile information
  • See children profiles
realm edit security and privacy

You may choose to not allow guests to do any of the above, or maybe you want Contributor Only to be able to see the directory but not anything else. You have the control to edit those privacy settings for what best fits your ministry.

Now let’s dive deeper into each option to understand what each one includes.

See the Directory

Your church directory includes those with a Realm account or those who have opted to be included in the directory. 

If you enable the See the Directory option for a member status, those with that status will see the directory with only names and avatars (image of a person’s initials beside their name). If that person clicked on anyone in the directory, they would still only see the name and avatar. They would not be able to see a person’s profile picture, contact, or personal information.

If this option is disabled for a member status, anyone with that status would still see Directory in their left navigation menu but wouldn’t actually see a directory listing. Instead, they will see a screen that explains they can’t view the directory based on their engagement with your church.

To enable any other privacy and security settings, you must enable See the Directory as the base, or starting point, of allowing more access.

Start a Chat with Anyone in the Church

If you enable this option for a member status, those with that status can chat with anyone in the church with a Realm account.

If this is disabled, they would only be able to chat with people they are in groups with (as long as Group Chat is turned on for that group). The chat option would not be visible on others’ profiles in Realm Connect online or the Connect mobile app.

See Others’ Contact and Profile Information

You’re probably wondering, “What is included in contact and profile information?” This includes email addresses, phone numbers, mailing or physical addresses, profile pictures, birth month and day, and campus. This does, however, respect each individual’s personal privacy settings. 

So let’s say you enable this option for a member status. Those with that member status will see the individual’s contact and personal information sections on that individual’s profile as long as the individual allows their information to be visible.

If this setting is disabled for a member status, those with that status will only see an individual’s name and avatar, but no contact or personal information, including their birthday.

See Children Profiles

This setting is referring to all profiles with a child family position. By default, children cannot be opted in to the Directory unless they have a birthday listed on their profile. 

For member statuses with this option enabled, they can view child profiles under the Family section of an individual’s profile. For member statuses with this option disabled, child profiles will not show in the Family section of an individual’s profile.

A child’s personal and contact information will not display until they turn 18 (based on their birthday on their profile) and choose the setting to show their information in their personal privacy settings.

Take advantage of these new security features

Be sure to take the time to create member statuses in Realm that best fit your ministry. Then, set the privacy and security settings for each status. And remember, any profile without a member status will receive the highest level of security by default.

Keeping your members and your data protected is our top priority. We hope these new features will provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind for your church.


Leigh Ann Shelley joined the ACST team in 2019 as a Product Marketing Manager. She oversees the launch and overall communication of key solutions to support the church’s needs.  Prior to joining ACST, she spent several years in communications and graphic design roles. Most notably as a Communications Director for a large church in Florence, SC. Where she leveraged Realm to help solve key ministry challenges.

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