How managing a crisis ushered in new ways of scheduling

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and crisis often motivates innovation. Those expressions describe the scheduling experience of Shawn Rochon.

For the past 14 years, Rochon has served as director of music and liturgy at St. Luke Catholic Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Located in the heart of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, this vibrant parish is home to 600 families.

For years, Rochon – along with help from some ministry leaders – scheduled liturgical ministry volunteers using Word documents. However, scheduling as they knew it changed with COVID-19 as the availability of volunteers was dramatically affected.

"COVID upended our usual way of doing things," Rochon recalled. "Upon returning to in-person Masses during the pandemic, I found it extremely difficult to schedule all of our liturgical ministries."

Many of the older, long-standing liturgical ministers were hesitant to return, causing a shortage of volunteers. A small group of new volunteers arose to fill in wherever they could, but coordinating their schedules and assignments took a lot of work. "I could no longer keep up with everybody's preferences," said Rochon.

That's when St. Luke's turned to Ministry Scheduler Pro.

"Our adoption of MSP is something good that came from the pandemic," he affirmed. "There was a much greater willingness on the part of our ministers to learn and use the program, and we all feel much more connected with our use of MSP," Rochon said. "Our liturgical ministers have come to very much appreciate how easy it is to request certain dates on or off of ministry and find substitutes when they cannot minister."

Rochon streamlined the scheduling process for all liturgical ministries at the church, including ushers, lectors, altar servers, cantors, choir, handbell choir, Communion ministers, children's Liturgy of the Word leaders, bereavement ministers, and welcome table hosts. This led to a significant increase in attendance, with almost no "no-shows" among the various ministries and a greater acceptance of technology regarding scheduling.

To further streamline the scheduling process for special events such as pancake breakfasts, the parish festival, and the parish auction, St. Luke's has also adopted Volunteer Scheduler Pro. This innovative approach to managing church volunteer scheduling has been a game-changer for the parish community, and it's all thanks in part to the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Under the leadership of Shawn Rochon, St. Luke's has been able to pivot and make significant improvements with scheduling.

If you're looking for a way to easily get new volunteers involved in ministry, explore the benefits of a tool like MSP and see the difference it can make for your volunteers and church.

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Two Churches, One Mission: The shared ministry of Madison Christian Community