ChurchDesk prides itself on being there for its customers round the clock, with multiple online tips, helpful guides and Customer Success Managers to solve whatever your question might be. With rapidly expanding membership (currently boasting over 10,000 members), customer success is a huge priority for us.
At ChurchDesk we are proud to have such a hardworking team. We want you to see their brilliance too, so we will be giving you an introduction to some our employees and an insight into what they do over following series of articles.
Better data, better communication, better future
At ChurchDesk we are always keen to hear how our customers are doing, so we sat down with The Revd Gerry Sykes to talk about how he felt his churches, St Paul’s and St Michael’s Wakefield, were getting on.
Inviting back the church’s lost generation
Where’s Wally (and his friends)?
The church currently faces a dilemma. Where have its young adults gone, and how can it get them back? Over the last few decades it has become clear that less and less young people are joining and staying within the church. According to a recent report from The Guardian, the average age of congregations in the Church of England is now 62. Young adults today are more likely to claim no religious affiliation, and less likely to attend worship. They marry later, have children later (with more and more having none at all) meaning they miss important milestones to get involved in the church early on.
At ChurchDesk we often hear churches commenting that they’re too old or too small to really benefit from a church management system. They mention that not enough of their congregation use computers, or that it’s difficult to set up; It’s too costly, and they wouldn’t save enough time on admin. We disagree, and want you to know why.
We are launching the greatest improvement to our app so far, making it possible to communicate with your congregation from your phone. When we launched “People” last autumn it was with the ambition to make it simple to use for direct and personal communication with the congregation and other interested people. We believe that the church is under increasing pressure - it must find a way to communicate that resonates with the youth group, and have the tools to support the employees and volunteers in the church in the best possible way. Since smartphones have recently overtaken laptops as the UK internet users’ number one device, these tools cannot be restricted to computer use, they have to also be available via phone. Therefore it is with great pleasure that we announce this update.
Sue Clarke, the vicar at St Paul’s Furzedown, has sat down with ChurchDesk to tell us about her experience with the set-up process. St Paul’s is a small, Anglican church in South London. Approximately 70% of the congregation is Afro-Caribbean and they see an average attendance of 50 on a Sunday morning.
How to break down the barriers to (positive) change at your church?
Most people who are involved in the activities of a church accept the undeniable fact that making decisions related to the church can be an extremely lengthy and complex process. Many stakeholders’ opinions need to be taken into account and in order to convince the committee a careful evaluation of the alternatives must be completed. Many church workers involved in the decision making process can only offer their services part time, and the larger the group of decision makers, the harder it gets. Scheduled committee meetings are practically the only setting where decisions can be taken. Here, the more topics there are that need to be addressed, the less likely a firm decision will be taken on each one, and a good proposal might be shot down simply due to the fact that there is not enough time to debate the topic.
Many of us remember putting our coins on the collection plate as it was passed around at church service. But people have been predicting the end of cash for more than 60 years and now, in 2016, that is starting to look real. With more than 50% of all payments in the UK being made by card or online, and with 40% of Brits believing they won't use cash 10 years from now, the church must find an alternative way to collect donations. This is why digital payments, and ChurchDesk’s Contributions, are so important.
Direct and targeted communication complements the church newsletter
Many churches I meet have one address book in their Outlook, another in their GMail, and various bits of paper lying about with contact information on. Unfortunately this is rarely used (and even more rarely organised into useful categories) which means that right now there are many people who could be missing out on information from their church. In many places the printed church newsletter has been phased out, or is on a limited release. This creates an even greater need for additional information to be sent out to the congregation, in order for them to be kept informed about what goes on. We know from our studies that direct and targeted communication, such as e-mail, results in more uptake and participation in church events. It is therefore important that we make it quick and simple to get in touch with the right people.