On April 8, 2020, after seven months of diligently praying and searching, the Pastor Search Team at Sagemont in Houston announced that they had come to a unanimous agreement on a new lead pastor: Dr. Matt Carter.
The final step between the decision and Dr. Carter taking on the mantel of leadership at Sagemont was for the congregation to affirm the nomination.
At this time, there was no end in sight to the social distancing guidelines. And Texas had announced that the state would reopen in phases. This meant it could be months before “normal church” would be possible, much less an affirmation that historically had been done in person.
The Sagemont team got right to work. The goal? Make the voting process as inclusive and easy as possible.
Here’s how it worked:
- An OnlineGiving chatbot was setup. Members who weren’t getting emails from Sagemont were asked to text a keyword to it. This allowed the church to update their members’ email addresses.
- MinistryPlatform Custom Forms were created to collect the votes.
- Voting took place on May 17 from 11am–2pm. That morning, using the New Message Tool, Sagemont emailed their members a link to the Custom Form. (And by using our Snippets, the email contained an auto-login URL to make matching votes with Participant records easy!)
- There were phone-in and drive-by options as well. Nine staff members took over 300 votes over the phone, and filled out a Custom Form ballot for each caller. Drive-by voting saw little activity.
- Voting closed at 2pm. At 2:15pm they were done. … DONE!
What were the results?
2,636 votes were cast.
88% were cast online. 12% offline.
148 of the votes came from people without an email address.
Positive feedback poured into Sagemont about the whole process. People were thrilled they provided a user-friendly way to vote. Especially bearing in mind the various technical skill levels of the people voting.
Oh – did we fail to mention Sagemont’s population?
59% of active adult members are 50 years old and older. 41% are 60+.
Sagemont shared with us some touching comments and praise from some of their pastors on how much time MinistryPlatform saved them in the process, and how grateful they were for our system. We basked in every kind word they sent us.
But our favorite one was from a couple in their 70s:
“We just want to thank you for ALL the work you did in putting together the computer process to enable us to vote for Pastor Matt. It was definitely an easy process, which is much needed for people like us who are still technology dinosaurs!!” –Gene and Jan Weede
Now more than ever, we need a data system to minister to people well.
And according to the Weedes, Sagemont nailed it.
Great job, team! We’re proud of your passionate and innovative service to the congregation God has brought to your church. And it is an honor to partner with you in this ministry.
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