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Starting Strong in 2017

starting strong

Typically, a new ministry or revamp of an existing one starts with an idea. Whether that idea is divinely inspired or borne out of keen insights and wisdom, somebody decides it’s time to make a change or do something new. But, it takes more than an idea to effect lasting and substantial change. Only with thorough preparation, a firm commitment, proper training, and the right tools can churches launch new ministries and initiatives that are sure to accomplish their objectives.

STEP 1: Proper Preparation

When starting a new ministry or initiative, there are certain things that must be included in the planning process. Unlike business organizations or academic institutions, most churches rely on volunteer effort and donated funds.

STEP 2: Recruiting and Training

Ministries need leaders and leaders can be hard to come by. So, you need a way to identify, recruit, and train new leaders. Identifying potential leaders is often the hardest part of the process because you don’t know their experience, their talents, their calling. A personal conversation and prayer are certainly required to know if someone is a good fit. But it also helps to have a little background before approaching a potential leader for a conversation. A good ChMS with personal notes, serving history, and church involvement records can aid leaders and staff in selecting good candidates and help to avoid fruitless requests from people who are entirely the wrong fit.

STEP 3: Setting a Budget

There is an old saying that vision should define your budget, not the other way around. While this is true of overarching vision, and in particular when God is clearly calling you to step out and follow his lead, if we’re being honest, many times our ideas are limited by resources. Certainly if God is compelling a church to take on a big vision, then pursue it. But if you find your-self wanting to explore a new idea because you think it might work to some end, you’ll need to be realistic about the finances required to achieve your goal.

STEP 4: Communicating the Cause

Both in the planning stages and when in full swing, you’ll need to communicate the vision. At this point, it’d be a good idea to put together specific groups for those that will be a) leading the ministry, b) participating in it, and c) helping spread the word about what your church is doing. As you’re planning to launch, having a place where the leadership team can discuss ideas, save conversations for future reference, share documents, set dates, and generally collaborate is vital. More than just project management, it’s about ongoing communication and working out the details together. This needs to be a safe and private place where leaders are free to dialogue about what aspects they think will work, where the challenges will be, and what each person will specifically be responsible for.

STEP 5: Tracking Progress

If you’ve done your planning properly, you’ll know the expected outcomes of your new ministry. But how will you know just how successful (or, unsuccessful) your attempt was? You might say you want to make more disciples, but how many disciples did you actually make? Could you have made more?

Now that you know what to do, you need a tool to help you do it. Enter Realm, a powerful new approach to Church Management Software (ChMS). But we like to think of it as “Church Ministry Software,” because it’s all about helping real people do real ministry.

1) Realm Provides Opportunities for Community

Realm gives your  leaders the tools they need to be effective group leaders. They can carry on discussions throughout the week, manage meeting schedules, coordinate additional get togethers, track attendance for the church, and share photos or files with group members. Realm empowers your leaders to lead, all while providing your staff with new insights about involvement and convenient administration of your groups.

2) Realm Helps Develop Leaders

Pathways, a process scripting feature in Realm, gives you the ability to create custom workflow templates for key internal processes, like training volunteers, welcoming visitors, or documenting discipleship.  Simply define the individual steps and then assign each step to a someone for oversight.  Once your Pathway is established, you can  put anyone on its path and monitor her or his (i.e. volunteer, leader, or attendee) progress through it.

3) Realm Combines Donations and Accounting

Not only does Realm provide your church with several modern options for accepting donations, it offers integrated fund accounting features for your bookkeeping staff. Realm tracks your income and expenses across ministry funds  and provides insights for better budgeting and successful planning.

4) Realm Turns Data into Insight

Individual and family profiles—replete with whatever information you want to record—provide valuable insights into the life and operations of your church’s ministries. You can create custom reports or use the various dashboards to see a quick snapshot of different metrics Realm tracks for  your church.

The best part about Realm is that it offers all the tools and resources your church needs to do ministry well in an all-in-one, easy-to-use, user-friendly environment. This means you spend less time copying and pasting, searching multiple systems, and piecing together a solution, and more time doing real ministry, all with better results.Want to learn more? Check out our FREE guide, Starting Strong, to start 2017 off with a more connected and informed ministry.

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