Capterra rates Fellowship One for Event Management

event managementIn a June 2014 blogpost entitled Church Software for Events: Comparing 5 OptionsCapterra looked at five popular Church Management Software (ChMS) providers. They shared each one’s event features and assessed its functionality for church size and number of events.

The blogpost correctly asserted that there are a lot of different features that could be included in Event Management software and that understanding which ones are important to your church’s needs is paramount. We are proud to be considered in this comparison. Capterra’s final word on Fellowship One’s event management functionality is this:

On top of the basic event management functionality, Fellowship One gives you the opportunity to take your event management further with managing your resources and facilities and incorporating all of that into the management of your church, syncing with your church calendar and other calendars that you have, and tracking everything as well.
This type of functionality is typically best for larger churches that generally hold large events multiple times a year.

Whether you’re not a Fellowship One user yet, or you are, but aren’t using our event software yet, we encourage you to check out Capterra’s comparison or visit our website to learn more.

 

The New Camp Risk: Kids’ Pics on Social Media

camp pineconeSummer is winding down. Hopefully, you made it through church camp, swim parties, and other summer youth activities with no injuries. You can breathe a sigh of relief. The risk is over for a little while. Or is it?

For churches, fall youth events are now gearing up. One way churches promote events is with images from last year’s or last season’s events. Pictures from camp and youth group activities also make good engagement content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In this short video, Church Law Group‘s David Middlebrook warns of two dangers when it comes to the use of camp and youth activity images on social media:

1. Violating Consent Laws

The law states that images of children used publicly or for promotion must be used only with parental consent. This is easy to handle by including a checkbox on the registration application giving parents the right to approve or disapprove the use of their child’s image.

It gets a little trickier when it comes to publication. Maybe it’s weeks, months or years later. Who on your team is looking back at these applications to see which pictures can and cannot be legally published?

Note these two exceptions:

  • Consent to publish images of adults is considered “implied”
  • Group shots where no one is identifiable can be used, but extreme diligence is required on your part. And here’s why:

2. Predators

The dangerous world of the Internet means that we must take extra precaution when it comes to children. Predators put 2 and 2 together. An image of “Mary S.” in her high school jersey on the church’s site, combined with a similar girl named “Mary Smith” on another site, and suddenly, someone knows where to find this girl. Even a name tag showing in a photo could be used adversely.

Middlebrook warns that the same holds true for information about what happens at camp such as baptisms or testimonials.

Keep Kids Safe

Camp is about creating a safe environment where kids can have fun and grown-ups who love kids can pour into their lives. The last thing you’d want is to endanger them simply by sharing how much fun they had.

Be alert and diligent when it comes to using camper images on social media.

Have you found effective ways to handle this issue? Please comment.

 

 

The God-First Life: A New Series for Churches

We wanted to pass along a new resource: The God-First Life: Uncomplicate Your Life God’s Way by Stovall and Kerri Weems.

Stovall Weems is the founder and lead pastor of Celebration Church, based in Jacksonville, FL. Celebration is a growing, diverse, multisite church, with more than twelve thousand people in weekly attendance.

As a pastor, teacher, author and sought-after conference speaker, Stovall’s ministry focuses on helping pastors and leaders build the local church, reaching people with the gospel, and developing passionate followers of Christ. He is the author of the book Awakening, as well as the recently released national best-seller, The God-First Life.

Stovall and his wife Kerri are launching the series this fall to equip God’s people to truly put Him first in their lives. They’ll be rallying participants to connect into the life and mission of the church through small groups. They invite your church to join them.

Topics include:

Listen to Stovall and Kerri’s invitation.

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:

  • Charity or Outreach 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.