The good thing about not having a job is that I am able to spend more time with (intentionally invest in) my kids. I’ve been able to pick up my son from carpool in the afternoons. I’ve been able to get to know my neighbors a little better. I’ve been able to meet some new friends. I’ve been able to reconnect with people from our old homeschool group. I’ve been able to organize a little bit around the house. And did I mention grocery shopping while everyone else is at work.
The bad thing is that when your job is (was) at a church, you’ve also ‘lost’ your church family.
So, we’ve been visiting a church and learning a little bit about how (and when) we get further connected.
One of my favorite books is this book. by Jonathan Malm. This book is a quick, easy, read. I’d recommend getting a copy for everyone on your guest services team. One of my favorite (or least favorite) is Chapter 45: Unwanted Volunteer. Jonathan describes a time when he and his wife were looking for a new church, found a church they liked, and were eager to volunteer. They signed up to volunteer and never heard back from anyone. They felt unneeded and unwanted.
He goes on to talk about the need for systems and processes to get people connected. He even points out the need for us to make sure we are responding to questions from unexpected places like social media.
“A church that responds quickly to people is a church that loves people.” (p. 146)
Put your church management software to work to help you love people.
If your software allows, have some custom fields that reflect your church’s ‘language.’ For example, you might have a category of “Interested In Serving” with several options for where someone is interested in serving.
Connect cards are your friends. I’m in favor of connect cards being filled out every week. If your church doesn’t have weekly connect cards, have some sort of way for people to respond. Even if you have a sign up kiosk somewhere else. In some ways, a computer or ipad kiosk may be more helpful for you than connect cards. You’ll see why in a minute.
Data entry should happen Sunday afternoon or Monday morning. This means you’ll be taking all of the data from your connect cards or exported from your sign up kiosk and filling in data fields in your church management software. In some software, you can set up a form to auto-fill the profile data fields. If your software offers that and you have a computer kiosk, your data entry job just got that much easier (or non-existent). You may still want to double-check kiosk form entries against profile fields, but it’ll be a whole lost easier than data entry. Exporting form entries to update fields are easier than connect cards because you’re not deciphering handwriting.
Regular custom reports should be run immediately after data entry. If you know data entry will be done on Sunday afternoon, make sure custom reports are set to run and be sent to ministry team leaders on Monday morning.
You should also use the notes field of your software for any follow up notes (make sure your ministry team leaders have appropriate access).
Your church management software can make sure no leaves your church feeling unneeded or unwanted.