St. Pius V
Max: How was the scheduling done prior to MSP and why did you look for a scheduling program?
Jacki: We had someone doing it by hand, repeating the same schedule even though it wasn't working for many people. We didn't have a lot of ministers and people were getting discouraged with being over-scheduled. The liturgy team felt things could be done better — they wanted a way to take care of different people's schedules and schedule families together in the simplest way possible.
Max: What are some of the benefits you see in participating in ministry?
Jacki: It provides a sense of community. It's a life giving opportunity for the parish and for the minister. The more people, the greater diversity. It's wonderful to see a ministry represented in so many different ways. People involved in liturgical ministries are more apt to go on to other ministries and do outreach.
Max: How has MSP changed participating in ministry at your parish?
Jacki: It has helped us get more people involved in ministry. Now we're able to accommodate people that can only serve twice per month or only on the 3rd Sunday. Also, [MSP] has allowed more people to easily connect. Using the Web Terminal, ministers get the feeling that they are not doing this alone. Another noticeable change is that it has helped people become more accountable for their scheduled times.
Max: What would you say are the three greatest benefits of using MSP?
Jacki: I love the email component. Using MSP I can personalize emails and help people stay on top of what's happening. Before, it was just spiraling out of control and some people were dropping out. With the email reminders, ministers know what's going on. I also love that people can look for subs on their own. Some new ministers don't know many people and with the Web Terminal it's easy to make a sub request. It gives ministers a feeling of support – that they're not doing this alone. It has really helped build a sense of community and highlight the importance of ministry. That has been an unbelievable plus. And finally, I really like the way I'm able to put together any report. If the pastor wants a list of experienced Servers or some other listing, I can easily make it just the way he wants it. There are so many things! Our pastor is thrilled with the new system.
Max: It sounds like you're using the Emailer quite a bit. What has been your ministers' reaction to email reminders?
Jacki: They love it! Using tokens you can make the emails very personal. It's just great. I send out a monthly reminder with ministers' scheduled dates, unfilled positions, sub requests and any important news. The first time I sent it out, people were so impressed. They don't have to look through five pages to find their dates anymore. Some asked, "How long did this take you?" and were so impressed when I told them, "Five minutes." The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Max: How has the Web Terminal affected the way you handle scheduling?
Jacki: Truthfully, it has revolutionized everything. Our schedule went out last Wednesday and we've already had 12 sub requests that have been filled. That just wasn't happening before MSP. Before, people just wouldn't show up and hoped someone would step forward to take their place. Also, allowing ministers to block out dates and having MSP schedule around their requests has saved countless hours of checking over the schedule.
Max: Have you received any feedback from the ministers about the Web Terminal?
Jacki: Oh, absolutely. People think it's great! I really cared about their reaction to the change so I have asked for feedback as things changed, as I autmated the subs, etc. I received all positive feedback. I offered to do a workshop on the Web Terminal but most people didn't have any problems.
Max: How do you go about getting more people involved in the liturgical ministries?
Jacki: People just need to be asked. It takes a personal approach. It's doesn't have to be a priest or liturgy committee member doing the asking. When we have ministry training meetings, I'm always reminding people that we can work with their schedules and ask them to get involved in recruiting new people.
Max: What do you think is stopping more people from getting involved in the liturgical ministries?
Jacki: I think some of it has to do with fear of the unknown. A lot of people can't commit to every week. The program has been super in that regard. If someone says, "I can only serve if you schedule me the first Sunday of every month at 8:00 AM." I can say, "Yeah, I can do that!"