Let’s face it. There isn’t a lone single Church Management Software that will fit every church. If there were, there would be no marketplace competition. There would be no comparison charts. There would be one software that offered all of the features that every church needs.
It doesn’t exist.
It’s why churches spend months, sometimes years, making a decision on which software to use. It’s why people play with demo versions in their free time and offer suggestions to churches on which software they should use. It’s why churches sometimes switch to different companies based on their growing and changing needs.
Even some software companies themselves will tell you when their software doesn’t meet your church’s needs. Sometimes, they’ll even help migrate your data for free.
But, at the end of the day, sometimes we have features we just don’t care for, we find it difficult to navigate, or what we want isn’t offered within that software.
This can be particularly frustrating for those ministry leaders who aren’t tasked with using the software on a daily basis. Perhaps you’re a small group leader and you’ve been told you need to use the software for small group messaging and attendance. What’s wrong with the way you’ve been doing it? Perhaps you’re a ministry team leader who has recently been told you need to use the software for volunteer scheduling? What’s wrong with our old calendar-grid spreadsheets?
While nothing is ‘wrong’ with the way you’ve been doing things, sometimes church leaders need data that can only come from using a church management software.
Typically areas of the software are linked, or fields are auto-updated This means the church leaders don’t need to assimilate data from different spreadsheets and emails. The software takes care of that for them, which saves them valuable time.
Here’s some suggestions if you find yourself in a position of ‘just not liking it’:
- Ask why. You’re a ministry leader and in some churches that means you’re a volunteer. If you are paid staff, you’re probably putting in some unpaid overtime hours. It’s okay to ask your leaders why they need you to use the software.
- Be a cheerleader. Those serving on your team and other ministry leaders may be struggling with change, as well. Support your leaders by being a ‘cheerleader’ for the software.
- Just do it. At the end of the day, there are things we’re not going to like. As one Pastor said, ‘it’s okay to admit that there are parts of your job you don’t like.’
- Keep it private. If you really don’t like the software or how it’s used, talk privately to your Pastor or the database administrator.
- Ask for training. Learn the software. Ask for training as often as you need it. Ask if a leader or administrator will lead a team training for your team.
- Go rogue. Remember that each action you take within the software may impact another area of the software. Don’t take too many actions until you understand how they might impact another leader in your church.
- No public shaming. Other leaders are probably also being asked to use the software. Other church members are learning to navigate this. There’s a reason your church leaders have chosen this software. They need it. Help them in their endeavors.
- Be a complainer. You may not like it, but we can choose joy. Keep a smile on your face!
- No public shaming. I’ll say it again because it bears repeating. You are a leader in the church. People are looking up to you. You’ve been asked to make this change and you should assume that your church leaders have entered this phase with a lot of prayer, and counsel. This is probably not a decision they took lightly. As a leader, if you are struggling with change, it’s safe to assume that others not in a leadership position are also struggling with change. Stay positive and encourage them. Even on days you don’t feel like it.
- Don’t do it alone. If training is offered – attend. If you need private training during an off time, ask for it. If you get off work at 11pm and want trained at a midnight, just ask. If your team needs trained on a Saturday morning, make sure there’s coffee. Your software administrator is probably happy to help.
Remember, there’s no perfect software and sometimes, even when we think we’ve found the best one, there are aspects that just don’t work the way want them to.
Trust your church leaders and know we’re all on the same team!