Tech tools in church life

Carolla

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From time to time we have had discussions on this topic - maybe it's a good time to do it again? I think it maybe was @Jobam that was recently raising a question.

Wondering what tech tools, online platforms etc that your church might be using for any variety of purposes .... let's share some experiences, thoughts, concerns etc.

I've been watching a few videos from Brady Shearer at Pro Church Tools - he provides a daily 10 minute video re wide ranging aspects of church life ... you might also find it interesting. Quick hits - 10 minutes with lots of links too. Here's the website - or you can search youtube directly. Pro Church Tools with Brady Shearer - Seize The 167
 

Pinga

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The church that I attend has been using Constant Contact. Much nicer communications. (Also was told that donations have gone up due to the easy donation button on the email)
 

Carolla

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What makes the communications "nicer" @Pinga? I have certainly heard of Constant Contact, but I'm not really very familiar with what it provides - I will check a bit on their website too. I know that it is possible to track whether people have opened an e-mail sent, (and how often!) but beyond that it's a blank space for me.
 

Carolla

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I think our office admin person uses Mail Chimp - would that be similar?
 

Pinga

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Layout is nicer. Easier to read. I can send you a sample if you message me your email address.
Note: Five Oaks also uses Constant Contact.

(yes, you also get the tracking of your email, easier distribution lists, and it meets the requirements for unsubscribe)
 

Carolla

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I've been looking recently at ways to facilitate signing up for stuff onlnine - via computer & mobile phones, tablets etc. One option I think might have some promise, and not be too terribly expensive, is The easiest way to bring people together Seems like it could be useful for so many things - from signing up people to be readers, doing the counting, registering for events & programmes etc. etc. It is possible to register for a version that has no ads - more expensive of course. There are a few others around that are similar to it too. Not having any tech background, I'm never really all that confident that I understand the differences between these things.

I was watching a youtube from ProChurchTools today re a product of theirs called 'nucleus' - that provides a single central hub for info - which looks great, but is quite a lot more expensive.

Anybody using anything like that? We somehow have to pull ourselves out of the old 'sign up at the back of the church' routine, or 'e-mail the church office' - so inefficient.
 

Pinga

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Interesting problem, carolla.

Hadn't pondered it, but, right. Would be nice to be able to see when did I last sign up for snack, what weeks are open.
Would need to be restricted to those who are member, ie an invitation or signup option.
Would need to be qulaity solid enough for the level of privacy you need.
Also needs the ability for those who won't sign up, so coordinators need to be able to see it.

I wonder though, is it just for leaders or participants too?
 

Carolla

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I agree with your various points pinga. In another organization where I volunteer, the request for volunteers is posted on a section of their website - one must have an individualized password to sign in. The opportunities, dates, # of vols needed is posted - if you select, then it notes that shift as taken & you can put it onto your own calendar. It also has a feature to log hours etc. But for the church, I don't think we would need this level of 'containment' for want of a better word, for most items.


I wonder though, is it just for leaders or participants too?
Not quite sure what you are asking. For the church stuff, (potentially via signup.com) yes, it would an e-mail link I think, then participants & leaders could see who has signed up for which dates, what's open, when did you last do something etc. I think there are some filters to keep participant list public or private etc. if one wishes, etc. On the mid range paid service, multiple admins can be appointed which is helpful to spread the workload. I like that it would autogenerate a reminder message :)
 

Pinga

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Yes, I was thinking of book studies (open subscription / response to email), readers (admin managed, ie, various scenarios. There are lots of lists in a church.

Yet, I also think of the practical "keep it simple, stupid". Many of the folks at our current church would not use email or such technologies. My previous church would have appeared to have been all over it, but, it would have isolated folks.
 

Carolla

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I think use of technology is definitely growing ... and it would be interesting to see how many actually do or do not use e-mail :) I suspect perhaps more than we might assume. Of course some of those could be like my husband, who might check his once a week! LOL There of course would be a learning curve - some guiding & teaching over the first period of adoption for those who are new to such things. And so the need to absolutely keep it simple is crucial. But paper lists are not so simple either - consider those who may not be at church weekly to sign up, the processing of the list, the calling of people with reminders - pretty time consuming ... just perhaps paper lists are more familiar.

When you say "it would have isolated folks" - what do you mean?
 

Pinga

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I have friends who don't have email -- so they would not be able to participate.

@Carolla - I am definitely a fan of technical solutions, such as online subscriptions & signups. I just have come to realize the importance of ensuring that the program allows and supports those who cannot or will not do it. It could be that lists are printed out periodically, such as the signups for the readers or coffee. It could be that they have someone to contact if they would like to participate and can't get online.

i am interested in it.
 

Carolla

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Thanks for clarifying. So for those who do not have e-mail - what is their main way that they get church news, learn about opportunities to sign up for stuff? Just curious ... because of course we would not want to eliminate the possibility of their participation.
 

Jae

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Thanks for clarifying. So for those who do not have e-mail - what is their main way that they get church news, learn about opportunities to sign up for stuff? Just curious ... because of course we would not want to eliminate the possibility of their participation.
My congregation in Suwon communicates chiefly through KakaoTalk - an instant messaging system.
 

Pinga

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Thanks for clarifying. So for those who do not have e-mail - what is their main way that they get church news, learn about opportunities to sign up for stuff? Just curious ... because of course we would not want to eliminate the possibility of their participation.
Church hard copy buulletin, announcements during church, and communication at coffee time, inclduing lists being passed around (wink)
 

Mrs.Anteater

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Our small group uses doodle poll to find the best time where the most people are able to join an event. I find it very easy and useful, at least for small groups.
 

KayTheCurler

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There was a regular meeting of a club I belong to last night. For the first time in my experience one person wanted to join the meeting via Zoom. It wasn't an outstanding success - some advance warning would probably have helped. My partner was the only person who actually read the email sent about this! Most of the group weren't aware of this bit of technology. I have used it before with a huge international group where it works quite well - the 'chairperson' controls every mute button so several people can't talk at once.
 

Pinga

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@Carolla - i answered for church, but, if I had answered for a board of a not for profit, then I would have included doodle poll -- which saves so much time, and zoom or equivalent (i'm a fan of citrix gotomeeting).
 
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