Have An Exit Strategy

Recently, I learned of a church that had several ministry team leaders with advanced access to the software step down – all at the same time. Church leadership was faced with adjusting several levels of access on short notice.

There will be times when a staff member leaves or ministry team leaders are called to a different church or ministry.

Here are some things that can help you.

  1. Have a written policy in place to address potential situations. Whether the church is staff-led or congregationally-governed, it’s important to have a written policy of who has access and at what level. Include what actions or behaviors will dictate immediate removal privileges. Having a written policy, approved by necessary parties, will help guide you when making somewhat difficult decisions. Let’s face it – it’s a church. These are your friends. There are times where it will be difficult to separate business from friendship.
  2. That written policy should include who has access BEFORE a potential problem arises. There should always be an application process for software access. Include who has the authority to approve access.
  3. Have one or two 24/7 people. Emergencies don’t always happen Monday-Friday 9-5. The people with the highest levels of access should know they may be on call 24/7.
  4. In a case where people are leaving a ministry on good terms, have open communication and dialogue about their levels access and a timeline for phasing out their access.

People leaving your church or ministry is never easy. The need to make split-second decisions during what could be an emotional time can be easier if have a plan in place.

What access situations  have faced and how have you addressed them?


Easter Guest Follow Up

Congratulations! You may have just finished up your first Easter weekend experience – Good Friday. And chances are you’ve had guests. (I hope so!)

But you’re not sure you want to enter them into the Church Management Software with profiles. Those relatives who only visit once a year or the “chreasters” (people who only come on Christmas and Easter) could really skew your metrics if you don’t have a contingency for a membership type code.

There are two things that can save you.

  1. Membership type codes – if you’re so inclined, develop a membership type code for occasional regular visitors. This means managing and sorting based on membership type codes when sending system-wide emails and eliminating those codes from metrics reports. This is an option, but not necessarily the one I recommend.
  2.  Forms. I love forms for this purpose. Create a form within your software for internal use. In our case, we are having an Easter Egg Hunt and I’ll name the form “Easter Egg Hunt 2017.” We’ll be having a door prize give-away with registration cards to capture information. My form fields will match what’s on those entry cards. I’ll input as much information as I’m given into the form for each card. I’ll make sure no form submission verification emails are sent to the person submitting the form (the software won’t recognize me as filling out the form, but instead will try to pick up the email field as I’m transcribing information from the written entry cards). For marketing purposes, we’ll always be able to track who came. Appropriate leaders will have access. And if that event guest ever becomes a first-time guest on a Sunday morning, a regular attender, or – even better – a member, I’ll be able to link that original form back to their new profile.

Another benefit to a form submission is that we’ll have information on our neighbors and visitors to invite them back for future events. For example, guests at our community Easter Egg Hunt might also be interested in our summer VBS.

How are ways your church follows up after a community event?