Last week, we discussed three ways that ChurchNext administrators can help their churches maximize the value of their ChurchNext subscriptions, especially over time, after the buzz from the initial launch wears off. The overarching theme that we covered is that it can really help a church utilize ChurchNext to its best potential if the administrator is proactive about reminding church leaders that the resource is available and suggesting ways to use the courses. (Note that being proactive in this case isn’t about pushiness; it’s about communication. Some ministries won’t find what they need in these courses. That’s fine. But if you have the resources, it just makes sense to let people in your church know you have them so they can decide whether or not to use them.)
With these ideas in mind, here are three MORE ways to keep your church ministries aware of what resources are available to them through your church’s subscription to ChurchNext.
- Communicate with other ministry leaders. As you begin your work, take a few minutes from time to time and let various ministry leaders know that we have courses that support their ministries. For example, find out who is training lectors at the moment and suggest that they use Reading and Praying in the Church: the Office of the Lector in their lector training. People who can’t make the training can even take the course at home. We offer courses that support many ministries in the church, from Lay Eucharistic Ministry and the Altar Guild to refugee advocates and tutors. We have a series of courses that vestries use on retreat and to train new members. We even have a course that one church uses to great effect with its grounds committee. Many churches have found that these courses are very helpful in supporting their parish ministries — but not the ones whose leaders don’t know the courses exist. Enter you, dauntless ChurchNext administrator!
- Communicate through transitions. The world exists in a state of change. Despite the Christian devotion to an eternal and unchanging God, that truth seems somehow truer in churches. If your parish priest leaves, the person running ChurchNext should wait until the next one is settled and then meet with the new priest and tell them about how the church has been using this resource. Likewise, if you, elite ChurchNext Administrator, wish to remove your cape and superhero tights and return to civilian life, make sure to pass that cape along to another intrepid soul and tell that soul that it’s important to be proactive. Thus will your ChurchNext subscription endure and remain useful from one generation unto another.
- Keep the parish aware of ChurchNext opportunities. Communicating about these courses should be informal as well as formal. Sometimes friends or small groups within parishes find it useful from time to time to study an issue that interests them outside of a formal ministry. For example, say that you have friends at church who are exasperated at their attempts to communicate with people who disagree with them politically. (This scenario is likely at present if your church exists anywhere near the U.S. or any of its territories.) Get together over beer or tea or noshes and take Bridging the Political Divide with Parker Palmer, or take it at home but around the same dates so you can build on each other’s comments. Likewise, people often take informal courses over Lent and Advent, or maybe over the summer. You can also communicate about courses by making announcements in the parish newsletter, posting on the parish social media platforms, and/or in church announcements if something interesting is going on. If a Big Class is coming out that you think people might like or if a course has been launched that seems particularly relevant to the life of your parish, let people know so they can take the courses if they want to.
We hope that these suggestions help you work with your parishes. Our whole purpose in creating these courses is to help enrich the Church through the technology that is available to us today. You are a big part of helping us fulfill that ministry, since you are the people who bring the courses into the lives of your parishes. So, many thanks, and please keep up the good work!