ACTIVEx Charity Challenge: One way we engage with our community & staff

Kids_in_the_Game_2014

Video: Why we do this

For the past 7 years, ACTIVEx, our employee and community engagement program, has participated in an annual Charity Challenge. This “fund-racing” event combines two of ACTIVE’s major  goals:

1) Raising money for an organization whose mission aligns with our mission to make the world a more ACTIVE place.

2) Encouraging our employees to participate in an ACTIVE client’s endurance event.

For the second year in a row, we’ve selected  KIDS in the GAME as beneficiaries of our fundraising. This amazing organization believes that keeping children active and engaged leads to a better life. We’ll be participating with our partners who organize the the Rockwall U.S. Open Triathlon on October 12, 2014.

Each ACTIVE participant takes on the goal of getting at least 10 kids “in the game,” as well as getting themselves to the start line. Family, friends, and even business partners join the ACTIVE staff in this journey, and a common bond forms outside the workplace as we create a community around a shared purpose.

We’re still 11 weeks away from race day, and already, almost 200 employees signed up to participate who have raised $3,365 raised. For each $30 donation, 1 child gets an entire season of sports participation. That means 113 kids in the Dallas, Texas, area (where the race will be held) will get to be involved in sports this fall!

If you live in that area, come out and get in on the fun at beautiful Lake Ray Hubbard on October 12, 2014. Click here to join the race, and here to donate to this event or one of our other ActiveX Charity Challenges.

Let’s Talk: Does your organization do anything similar to unify your staff and give back to the community? If you haven’t yet, but would like to start, here are a few suggestions:

  • Off-season Camp 5K
  • Volunteering at a local charity
  • Organizing a staff car wash to raise money for the camp

Please comment with your own ideas or success stories!

Fellowship One Adds 2 New API Integrated Partners

We are continually adding to our network of partners who build on our API, extending Fellowship One functionality by integrating their products with F1 databases. We have two new partners we’d like to introduce you to:

churchNumbers.logo2ChurchNumbers is a metrics dashboard application. It works alongside ChMS systems or stands alone to help churches track summary data that is important to them–attendance, giving, etc. Churches can choose exactly what they want to track and what gets represented on their dashboard(s). ChurchNumbers is Cloud-based and runs on any device that can process HTML5.

EasyTitheEasyTithe.logo is one of the first providers of digital giving services for the church. They serve thousands of churches and provide online giving, mobile giving, sms/text giving, and giving kiosks. With EasyTithe, churches with Fellowship One databases can automatically import giving records and people/household records, and know within seconds of a gift being made.

We encourage you to check out these new Integrated Partners and all the others!

#1 Step to Improve Church Health and Increase Giving

increase givingHow would you prioritize the following ministry concerns:

  • Grow the church numerically
  • Increase giving
  • Grow members spiritually
  • Increase support for youth ministries
  • Grow healthy marriages
  • Increase volunteerism

We know these are all important to you and difficult to separate, as one always affects another. Fortunately, Leadership Network’s Chris Willard knows the starting point, the one focus that causes all of these other needs to fall into place. In the short video below, Chris pinpoints MARRIAGE MINISTRY as the proverbial Square One to improve all other areas of church health, including giving! Continue reading «#1 Step to Improve Church Health and Increase Giving»

GM Kingsley Allen: ACTIVE Faith & F1 Updates

kingsleyACTIVE Faith’s General Manager Kingsley Allen hosted a Q2 Product Update Webinar on April 29th. That webinar and Kingsley’s general ACTIVE Faith update are available on our Fellowship One product blog. Learn about our renewed commitment to consistent delivery and communication with those we have the privilege of partnering with in Kingdom service. Browse other recent posts on the product blog to see how we’re already delivering on our promise to return to our “iterative release” roots.

It’s a new season for ACTIVE Faith and Fellowship One. Join us for the journey!

Why We’re Opposed to FUD…and What We’re Doing About It

In the marketing world, FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. It’s a common sales technique. More than enough uncertainty already exists with respect to understanding software itself. With an Enterprise-level software like Fellowship One, it’s difficult for church management software shoppers to avoid fear and doubt, too.

This is one reason we’ve structured our Implementation and Education Teams so prominently alongside our product.We’ve always been intent on a partnership with our churches, not just a sale. Our very existence is about improving church management,  and that starts with keeping the church management software decision as uncomplicated as it can be.

We saw this FUD dynamic at work a while back when a competitor of ours circulated a paper about why 5 specific churches had left Fellowship One in favor of the competitor’s product. It was an interesting study on the way FUD works. It contained:

  1. Things that used to be true in the early days before our current technology was even created—but which we no longer use
  2. Things that aren’t even possible in the realm of software
  3. Things that are blatantly untrue
  4. Things that are half-true, but, without context, spun toward a negative light. (We get it. They have a product to sell and this, as we said, is a common sales technique.)

To do our part to stamp out ChMS FUD, we created our No Surprises Series. It consists of 4 checklists that show you how to discover the truth on major ChMS functions on your own. The No Surprises Series doesn’t spin facts about what we or our competitors do, it gives you the questions you need to ask to get to the truth for yourself. If you ask these same questions of every church management software vendor you’re considering, patterns will begin emerge. You’ll be able to compare those proverbial apples to apples.

And

Things will get a little simpler.

Start with our Reporting Checklist (click image to immediately download). In just 11 questions, you’ll discover:Vendor-Checklist-Report-Cover-image

  • Which term definitions you and the vendor MUST reach agreement on
  • How to manage expectations on the unavoidable Functionality vs. Ease of Use spectrum of ALL software products
  • How to avoid hidden surprises in functionality, pricing, level of support and more

Of course, we’re hoping you’ll also ask these questions of us. To start asking questions, email us at Faith@ACTIVEnetwork.com.

What questions do you have about Church Management Software?

 

Radical Ideas

Sara Wierman of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas says, “God downloaded a new ministry idea into my brain.”

$10

 

Ten for Him

Sara had an encounter with a man and his disabled son who were $10 short at the checkout counter at the dollar store. She awkwardly offered him $10, but later wondered why she hadn’t mentioned God or Jesus, or been “less weird.” Wondering, as it turns out, often gives God a cracked door through which to supply solutions. The next day, while on a walk, the idea came to her in full:

  • 10 people get together 10 times for 10 minutes.
  • They each bring $10 each time.
  • The $100 is put in an envelope with Philippians 4:19 inside: “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.”
  • A group member’s name is drawn and that person gives away the $100 as led by the Holy Spirit.
  • That gift is shared at the next meeting.
  • The process repeats until all 10 group members have had a turn.

She started a group in Coppell, Texas, and got a friend to start one in Lovington, New Mexico. Gateway’s Women in Leadership Development (WILD) encouraged her to develop the program. Ten for Him currently has 50 groups, which means 500 members giving out $50,000 annually. The first international group just started in New Zealand. Sara says the Holy Spirit leads them to people who need encouragement, or sometimes, exactly $100, as in the case of a father who needed $100 that day for his toddler daughter’s funeral. To start a group or read more giving stories, visit TenForHim.com. Open Yourself Up to Radical Ideas Besides wanting to spread Sara’s idea, we’ve sharing her story to encourage you to listen for and follow-through on radical downloads God may be trying to give you or your members. Organic church growth is at its best when we ride the wave of the new thing God is already doing, rather than trying to copy other church’s ideas or put expected programs into place. The formula is simple: Wonder. Pay attention. Be radical.

Why You Should Care About Data Reporting

visitorsFirst, a Little Pop Quiz You love meeting new people, but when it comes to data reporting, which statement below describes you?

  • What is it?
  • It makes my head spin!
  • I couldn’t live without it!

Data reporting is the practice of mining your data for trends, patterns, and the answers to burning questions, such as “how many of our members are plugged into a small group?” and “how well are we moving our members through a spiritual growth track toward becoming leaders?”

At ACTIVE Faith, we’re passionate about data reporting. Unless you’re really only interested in a glorified Rol-a-dex (we’re not!), data reporting is the most important reason for collecting and storing data. We believe member and visitor data is a leader’s most valuable ministry resource for offering exceptional member care and for enabling predictive and data-driven decision-making.

It’s Personal

That’s all well and good, but here’s a story that illustrates the REAL reason you should care about data reporting: Pastor Jon Stroker at the 7-year old Vista Community Church in Temple, Texas, recently shared with us that shortly after implementing Fellowship One in 2013, the church pulled a report on families or individuals who had been regularly checking their kids in on Sundays, but who were absent the last 4 weeks. They had not been keeping attendance records long, so the report highlighted only one family, who were not members yet. They reached out to the family and discovered that the mother had recently passed away. The family was surprised and touched that a church where they had only been visiting on and off over the last year without ever really getting plugged in would have noticed their absence. The church took this opportunity to pour into the grieving family with food, childcare, and encouragement. Since then, the family has become members of the Vista community, along with several of their extended family members.

That is the power of data reporting in action!

Two Free Resources for You

If you’re new to the concept of data reporting, you should know that Fellowship One leads the church management software (ChMS) industry in this area. It was a key component of our software design from the beginning. Vendor-Checklist-Report-Cover-image There’s a lot of confusion around the topic, so if you’re researching ChMS solutions, we invite you to download our No Surprises: Questions You Should Ask Every Software Provider about Reporting. It will help you make sense of the conflicting answers you’re likely to get.

 

The-Village-Case-Study-Cover-Image - Copy (2)Get a behind-the-scenes look at the 10,000-member Village Church that relies heavily on Fellowship One’s reporting feature to offer exceptional member care. The Village Church Data Reporting Case Study includes the database administrator’s favorite reports and tips for data collecting success, as well as the most surprising discovery they made when they began reporting on their data.

You cannot possibly keep up with or guess all the life events your congregants are experiencing. Data Reporting could help you keep families like the one in Temple, Texas from slipping through the cracks when life hits hard.

Data Reporting can help you be there. Isn’t that the best reason to collect data in the first place?

 

A Short History Lesson for Folks on the Fence About Online Giving

The number of churches not offering online giving is shrinking, but within the churches who do offer it, many individuals remain unsure about the safety of online giving–or if it’s even biblical. If it’s not biblical, no amount of trumpeting its benefits will convince a church leader to bend on this issue–and it shouldn’t!

We believe one of the most compelling biblical arguments for online giving continues to be the principle of giving in secret instructed in Matthew 6:3-4. We also believe that a common stumbling block is tradition. After all, for the entire lifetime of just about everyone living today, passing the plate has been the most used method of collecting offerings.

That’s why we thought it would be interesting to look at the history of “church” funding, starting with the Old Testament Temple. Download our historical infographic, Passing the Digital Plate: The Surprising History of Church Funding in America, for an interesting read that puts giving methods into a new perspective. Passing_Digital_Plate_image

The Best Gift for Moms: Your Summer Event Calendar

The majority of your summer events are geared toward children. The decision-maker and calendar-manager for children is MOM. Where will Mom most likely be on May 11 (next Sunday?)

AT YOUR CHURCH!

GIn 2011, LifeWay Research surveyed 1,000 pastors about highest and lowest church attendance days of the year. A Christian Post headline summarizes the results: Mother’s Day Church Attendance Third Highest After Easter, Christmas; Father’s Day Last

Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research, attributed the Mother’s Day attendance phenomenon to “the affirmation that is typically offered in most churches”—flowers, pictures, arts and crafts projects, and public recognition—along with the increase in family members “knowing their attendance will honor their mother.”

Considering that your typical attendance is already 61% female (Barna), this is a prime opportunity to give them something that really helps them, but also benefits your summer programs.

4 Tips for Helping Moms and Increasing Summer Event Participation

1. SAVE THE DATE

Have your summer events planned (or at least scheduled) so that you can announce them and get them on the busy summer calendars of those present at this larger-than-normal collection of moms, all juggling multiple commitments. Try a large poster promoting summer events near the children’s check-in area, plus bulletin coverage.

 2. TELL THE CHILDREN

Where there are more moms, there are likely more children. As they exit the children’s area, give each child an invitation and schedule of all camps, VBS and other summer events to give their moms.

 3. OFFER SELF-SERVE, ONLINE REGISTRATION OPTIONS

Make sure the events can be registered and paid for online—busy moms are 200% more likely than the general population to be online at any given time. Recent studies show that moms are more digital than teenagers. If they can register and pay for their childrens’ activities on their smartphones while they’re waiting for the doctor or at a game, this will often be a deciding factor as they coordinate their families summer. Check out this great resource for ways to understand and reach moms in the digital age.

4. DON’T FORGET GRANDMOTHERS

Many of the moms in attendance will be grandmothers. Though the day is about them, they’ll naturally be thinking about their children and grandchildren’s spiritual well-being (as they usually are!). They know their daughters and daughters-in-law are strapped for time and perhaps even cash. This makes a blurb in the bulletin about a Gift of Camp opportunity timely.

Increasingly, grandmothers engage online, too, but mailing a follow-up, hard-copy reminder of the idea is a good idea. If you’re thinking ahead, you’ll realize that a checkbox for grandchildren on your communications card can help you focus this Gift of Camp message directly to grandmothers.

Be sure to include all summer events in this mailout; grandparents can be influential in decisions about children’s summer schedules. If they’ll be keeping their grandchildren during the summer, they may be looking for wholesome activities.

 

Even on “her” day, Mom’s most top-of-mind concern is always her children’s well-being. Because of the concurrent theme running through her mind of how she will manage the quickly approaching summer, your summer events calendar could be the most useful gift she gets next Sunday.

Are you ready?