Increasing Care and Connection through Automation

07-08-2019
MinistryPlatform

Our system does a lot – I mean, a LOT – right out of the gate. But sometimes our churches want to take things a step further. And usually they can take their dreams and run with them. That’s one of the awesome benefits of being on a platform – you can customize!

Occasionally, though, they’ll seek out the help of our Professional Services, like this recent project with Bethlehem Baptist in Minnesota.

Bethlehem’s North Campus lead pastor, Steven Lee, wanted to improve connections between their elders and Covenant Members. The elders were already praying over their members during their monthly meetings. But Steven had a very specific goal in mind and asked his team to make it happen.

There are appx 550 North Campus households with at least one Covenant Member. And there are 22 elders who care for this campus. Pastor Steven wanted each household to be assigned to an elder who would contact those members at least once a year, asking how to pray for them, and also provide opportunities to help find a small group, serve as a volunteer, request counseling, or schedule a personal meeting with a pastor.

The team got to work.

Andy Lang added a number of fields to their Household records to track:

  • Household’s assigned elder
  • Date of the most recent email
  • Date of the next scheduled email
  • Custom message from assigned elder (optional)

Then Amy Katterson created two message templates:

  • One for the elders to receive at the beginning of each month, providing them a list of members who would be receiving a message from them later in the month
  • The other for the members to be sent on the 15th of each month, with a greeting and a link to a custom form where they could share prayer requests, ask for help in finding a small group or service opportunities, counseling, or a pastoral meeting

Amy and Erika Booth created several views to allow the elders to see who their assigned households are, what prayer requests have been shared and by whom, who’s scheduled to receive their care email this month, and how many of the messages are being opened and clicked.

Amy also set up custom forms and the processes to notify staff or elders when a request has been made.

At this point, they brought in Professional Services who provided:

  • Automation to select which households will receive the Care Message each month, and update the next-message date fields of those households with the 15th of the current month
  • A custom snippet for the email to the elders on the first of the month, listing all the members to which the scheduled Care Message will be sent ‘this’ month. Each member name that appears in the snippet is linked to their Participant record where the elder can postpone that person's Care Message by setting Postpone to true.
  • Automation to send the scheduled member households' Care Messages on the 15th of each month and update their Date of Last Care Message on their household records.
  • Automation to include a custom message from an elder in the Care Message to their assigned households. This is done by giving the elders a link to a form in the email they receive at the start of the month, and if they fill out the custom message field in the form, this message is copied from the form response record to the Custom Message field of each of that elder’s households for that month.

Amy even created a flowchart for the elders with an overview of how the entire process works!

Since putting this system into production in March, Bethlehem’s North Campus has sent care messages to about 400 of their Covenant Members on behalf of the elders.

Because these messages are sent from MP via Sendgrid, they are able to track if they are being opened and if people are clicking the link to share requests or seek help. During the first three months, over 75% of the messages were being opened and about a quarter of the persons receiving them were clicking the link to contact their elder.

The elders have received over 80 requests for prayer from members, and these requests are being prayed over at the monthly elder gatherings. And many of those responding are not only asking for prayer, but have also expressed gratitude to the elders for reaching out in this way. A handful have also asked for help in joining a group or receiving counseling.

Not gonna lie. We love to geek out. When we get a chance to build things and automate things, we are all over that. But when that helps make ministry happen?... that revs us up!

We pray that many more members experience connection and care at Bethlehem through this process. And that they feel even a small amount of God’s love through the hands and feet he has put in place at the North Campus. And we’re tickled that we get to play a small part in the kingdom work that’s going down over there.


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