My good friend owns a local home remodeling and repair business. If he gets a power tool for Christmas, it will be used consistently to improve families’ homes. If, on the other hand, you give it to me, I will give you a nervous thank you in response and the tool will collect dust in my garage.
Having the right tools is only one part of completing a complicated job. In addition to tools, you need to use them correctly. In working with churches, we have found that many have the tools but struggle with how best to use them to build transformational relationships.
There are many different types of tools available to churches. There are tools to manage your finances, tools to manage your worship service, and tools to post your podcasts on the web. All of these are important tasks that have to take place for a church to continue to function. But there is one category of tools that very often are not used correctly or even at all. These are the tools churches use to engage, equip, and empower people.
Using Tech Tools in the Church
Most churches use some form of technology to keep track of people, store pertinent information, and complete tasks such as kids’ check-in. Too often this type of tool is simply a database. We know that the primary objective of the church is to share the transforming news of Christ, and if you’re reading this article, you’ve probably seen firsthand that transformation almost always happens within the context of relationships. The question then remains, then, is how can your church software be more than a database.
Church software can help you manage tasks, track giving, and check kids into Sunday school. Doing these things separately does not help you make better ministry decisions or build relationships within your community. Thousands of church leaders have these tools, but unless you know how to use them together, you may be missing out on ways to improve your ministry.
3 Ways Software Can Help Build Transformational Relationships
Here are three ways your software can help you build transformational relationships:
1. Connect with first-time guests.
Let your first-time guests know that you want them to join your church family.
- Have a volunteer team make a followup phone call to every first-time guest.
- When they register their children in Sunday school for the first time, have a process to follow up with them.
- Ask them what brought them to your church.
- Invite them to next week’s service and/or upcoming events.
- Ask where they live and invite them to a small group nearby.
- Help them meet and connect with other people, couples, families, etc.
2. Build community.
No matter how good your preaching is, if people don’t have relationships with others in your church, their connection to the community is weak at best.
- Tracking people’s interests makes it easy for people to connect around their hobbies.
- Build groups around serving interests, such as homelessness or international missions.
- Equip your group leaders with tools and skills that empower them to communicate, coordinate, and mobilize their group to do ministry.
3. Empower people to serve.
Each of us is created with innate gifts and talents, and a key feature of discipleship is helping people use their gifts for the Kingdom.
- Provide a simple, centralized location for people to find out how they can volunteer.
- Training volunteers can make the difference between burnout or years of deep engagement. Put good processes in place to train and provide ongoing support to volunteers.
- Track people’s gifts and interests too, so that you can personally invite them to serve in a role that would be a good fit.
One great tool doesn’t provide a full picture of someone’s engagement, and a great task manager doesn’t build community. The information that you collect can be used to help build community, or it can just be numbers in a database. Your call.