Trinity Lutheran Church
How have the MSP service planning features changed the way you plan your worship services?
We were pretty excited to see this option available to us... Before, it was always difficult to have emails going back and forth for all the different components for the service. With this online capability, we can have our organist, for instance, post her pieces right onto the website for that particular Sunday service, avoiding all the emails. Then, when I go to create the bulletins, there's all the information I need right there.
MSP becomes a one-stop place for everyone to get all the resources they need."
So it sounds like the main benefit to you is to consolidate this large amount of information into one place where people can access it online?
Absolutely. It's great for staff meetings because we can all view the service plan sequence together and see how it flows. If we decide, "Oh, the children's message would be better in this position," we just slide it around and it's done. Because our staff isn't always in the office, there's always something they're working on from home, and the fact that they can access it online allows them to add things to the plan when they think of them.
Will you be using the service planning for all of your services?
Oh absolutely... I think we're excited too in the sense that we can work ahead. We've created the schedule through the fall, so that our music people can get started planning for as far out as Advent. To be able to start making plans this far in advance is great, and as we get closer to the service, we've already got 80-90% of the work done.
What ministries do you think will benefit from accessing resources and plans online?
We hadn't really utilized the choir feature [in MSP], and now we definitely want to do that. Because in addition to the choir members knowing [who] is scheduled this Sunday, they can actually go out and get their pieces [online], rather than us sending out all these different emails to each choir group saying "Here's what you're singing," or "Here's an MP3 file," or "Here are the words." Now, they can all be there in one place... It becomes a one-stop place for everyone to get all the resources that they need.
We also have a Worship Aid role, like a stage manager, that knows who's the reader, what are they reading, what group is singing. Normally, they had to come to the Sunday service unprepared, but now they can go online, preview the service and see that, for instance, the children's choir is singing, that means they're going to come up from the basement, and need to come into the service at this point... We're also really excited about the Notes. There are times we need to tell just [the Worship Aid] "Don't forget to unlock this door," or "Don't forget to take the attendance." To be able to have that go specifically to the one person who needs to see it is a very powerful feature.
What would be your advice to users who are looking to get started with service planning?
The big change that churches in general are facing is new cloud technology... Churches tend to be at the back end of these changes, and my advice would be to embrace what cloud technology can do, because it really gets everybody connected and involved at one time.