Every church, like any organisation, needs to manage its affairs effectively and efficiently. Tools have been developed specifically for churches to help them serve the needs of their congregation, plan events, pastor the cell/small groups, organise ministries and ultimately control the financials.
At Clayton Church, the gradual implementation and adoption of Church Community Builder (CCB) has been underway, since 2012 when an initial pilot was conducted. The initial pilot involved a select number of cell group leaders, operating under a single zone (a zone consists of multiple cell groups sharing the same geographical location). CCB offers process workflow capabilities, which have been implemented to help the church enter in the details of visitors and importantly ensure follow-up. CCB has been utilised numerous times for its survey/form capability – the first mass use of a CCB survey/form was the 2012 Open Day, where the website form was used to collect visitor details as part of entering an event-based competition. The calendar feature also helps to manage the allocation of rooms for events.
My personal involvement and knowledge of CCB started in early 2014 when, as part of the volunteer assistance to the pastors, I had offered to take the original Excel-format Cell Health Check Survey and create a dashboard. This volunteer effort was based on similar Excel dashboard reporting work I had been introduced to from my day job, where multiple reports were collated and consolidated via an Excel macro. After having demonstrated a working Excel-based dashboard report, I had suggested that in order to address the limitations of Excel, a web-based implementation should be considered. Again, through my volunteering, I offered to build a prototype. The moment I emailed and requested a sandbox environment for me to do some development work, I was put in touch with the Church Elder overseeing CCB. Within the space of a single evening, I had created the basic survey equivalent of the Excel file and was ready to explore the dashboard reporting capabilities.
CCB, like any software, can be utilised to differing degrees. Currently use of CCB within the church is fairly simple and minimalistic. Beyond a handful of people, CCB is not really utilised. Survey forms have been the area of greatest uptake; utilised as a mechanism for event registration, CCB has been used for both 2013 and 2014 Discipleship Conferences, including a follow-up Feedback Survey. At the June Cell Leaders training session, the initial paper-based registration was replaced, on the spot, with a CCB form. I had my iPad available and was helping to complete the registration form for attendees. This approach to use of CCB meant that I was logged in with my account but selecting people from the main CCB people database. By selecting individuals within the database, the form (contact details only) was repopulated and gave people the chance to simply review and confirm that their contact details were up-to-date, thus minimising the need for any data entry! As part of repeating this process at the next session later in July, I have replicated the form and will have a second iPad available to speed up registrations. Fortunately, these sessions were quite small-scale, with less than 50 attendees. For bigger events, having a registration team, where each volunteer is armed with an iPad would be the way to go.
CCB offers the functionality of Groups, which I helped to set-up in late May. Each cell group can utilise CCB as a communication tool for discussions. In an ideal state, CCB would be used actively by congregation/cell group members – they would see upcoming events, be able to register or even apply for volunteer positions. Internal processes and workflow could be defined so that rooms can be booked, and cell groups hosting lunch, or serving on a Sunday morning would have easy access to the information.
CCB for now does not manage any of the church’s financials, although the platform has that capability. Historically, to manage our church’s capital funding program which has translated into our current building, an in-house database management system was developed to support the needs of the church administrator in keeping track of incoming donations and pledges. CCB offers an opportunity to convert that system into an online one, potentially with new capabilities for individuals to self-manage online, and thus shift the responsibility from the church staff to the donor’s themselves.
[As future rollout and implementation work proceeds, I will update this page]