Managing the Tension Between Tradition and Trendsetting
It’s not easy for a 111 year old church to stay cutting edge. Churches this old have a lot to offer. Generations have grown up in the church and appreciate its traditions, but successful churches manage the tension between tradition and trendsetting.
Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas does church right. It started in 1902, and it’s still going strong. They preach the word of Christ and reach families. It’s a large church, and it’s a family. Several generations of believers have grown up in Birchman Baptist, but when new people find the church they are thrilled to find it’s warm and friendly.
Everyone is important to Birchman Baptist Church. They meet the physical needs and counsel those in crisis in their local community through Corners of the Field. They provide games, beverages, and transportation to race fans with Raceway Ministries. They send people on Mission Trips to Brazil, Chile, Philippines, and Thailand. The church helps people refine and use their talents through their Fine Arts Academy. Their kids bake Muffins for Missions, and throw parties for unchurched in their Student Ministries. They reach people because people matter.
Their favorite outreach happens around Christmas. At Birchman Baptist, they do Christmas right. First, they pack their 2,000 seat campus 4 times with their annual Christmas at Birchman performances. People love to invite their friends and family to come and see their live performance filled with local talent, ballet dancers, and live animals. They make Christ’s birth a big deal in Fort Worth. Second, the whole congregation supports the Christmas for Our Neighbors initiative as they provide presents for kids who might not get any during the holiday.
How do they manage their busy-ness?
They started using ACS in 1992 with a Dos version of the product. It worked well, but as the technology grew and more ministry was taking place, they updated their systems. Managing so many people who are involved in so many ministries isn’t easy. In 2008, they began using ACS OnDemand.
Their staff is using it to keep up with people, and their 45+ Sunday School leaders love it. They have instant access to people’s contact information and pictures with ACS Church Life mobile app. Nothing is worse than forgetting someone’s name or face. With Church Life, they can find a member, and make sure they are dealing with the right person. Gayle Pate oversees ACS onsite for Birchman. She loves that people can look up the information they need on their own. The office doesn’t have to generate different lists all the time.
They did their homework before beginning to accept donations online. They thought about it off and on for a long time, and decided to offer it when their people began demanding it. Some people faithfully mailed in their donation every month through the envelopes they provide every quarter, but some people don’t use checks. They pay all their bills with their debit card. With ACS, Birchman Baptist has seen their online giving increase every month. Online giving has grown so much that it almost equals an additional Sunday offering. That’s big news.