Summit Crossing Community
How was scheduling done prior to MSP?
It was done with pencil and paper. We scheduled people for two weeks on, one week off – kind of a regular rotation.
Using something that gets everybody involved in the process of building the schedule liberates me to do what I'm actually trained to do."
Why did you seek out a scheduling program?
Part of it is we got a lot bigger and it started to become a chore to fit people [into the schedule]. I realized that I was losing focus on the ministry aspect of the Greeting Team and I was getting over to the administration side.
How often do you use MSP? For what purpose do you use it most often?
As far as me having to login to create schedules, it's few and far between fortunately. But I'm always logging into the program just checking to make sure no one has any questions and making sure the online sub requests are being fulfilled.
What would you say are the three greatest benefits of using MSP?
For me personally, the greatest benefit is being able to do less administrative work and more ministry work. The next benefit is truly being able to improve the camaraderie without having to overextend our budget. When you're a church your resources are limited. We try and do a lot for volunteer appreciation but those events take a lot of effort and money. One of the things MSP does, especially with the Web Terminal, is it allows people to interact with each other and recognize that we are a ministry — we are a team. The third thing I would say is the ability for all my data to be integrated in one spot so I don't have to keep updating it manually. Email addresses and phone numbers always change and the Web Terminal allows people to update their own information online.
How much time did it take to set up MSP?
I think it took maybe five minutes to set it up. I remember I tried a couple other programs but I what I really liked about MSP is that you could get it running, at least in basic form, very quickly. It didn't take hours of setup to get there.
What tips would you give to new users just setting up MSP?
I'd encourage anybody to just jump in and try it. Start small and give yourself some confidence. It's a very quick and easy setup. Mirror your current schedule if you're worried about something not working out right. Also, I forgot to mention this earlier, but the best thing about MSP is the support. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
How do you use the MSP Emailer? What has been your volunteers' reaction?
I use it a lot. I use it for weekly reminders, general announcements and I also have email templates for a number of different things – like new volunteers. In general, I've had a very large and positive acceptance of email. I've found that people really appreciate the email reminders.
How has the Web Terminal affected the way you handle scheduling?
There's less hassle all around. We used to have to schedule a few extra people because we knew that someone would always forget or go out of town, but now people are much better about being there when they get the reminder and they can login to the Web Terminal at Saturday night at midnight and say, "Wow, I am scheduled tomorrow morning. I do need to be there at 9 o'clock." It's really helped out a lot.
What do you see as the biggest obstacle deterring people from participating in ministry?
I think there are a number of obstacles. Some of them are just fear of commitment, or fear of having to get in front of people, or fear of having to meet people. People are afraid that if they commit a little bit, they might be over-committed. MSP has really helped with that. You're able to accommodate volunteers that say, "I only want to serve one time a month" or "I only want to serve on the third Sunday." I can put in MSP and it doesn't cause extra work for me to have to figure that out every three months when I make the schedule. It's automatic.
What are the benefits of participating in ministry?
There are countless benefits. The team that I organize is the Greeting and Hospitality team. At a base level, I think the blessing is being able to see somebody that is totally uncomfortable with organized religion walk in and meet somebody that truly cares about them, seeing the volunteers follow up with them and watching the relationship form. And sometimes months later, sometimes not, we've been blessed in just having people come to know Christ. Being able to see the fruit of that by somebody committing their life to Christ is huge. But it's not always that gigantic. There are lots of others. I could go all day.
How has MSP changed participating in ministry at your church?
It has enabled better communication and built camaraderie in our entire ministry. It's allowed us to grow and reach people that otherwise wouldn't be involved in ministry. A lot of people that are on the fringe in attending have been able to take that next step and plug into our ministry thanks to MSP. And we've seen some really cool things as the result of that. Some people really getting involved and plugged into the ministry and to the Christian walk as a whole.
Thanks for all the feedback, Ryan.
I really appreciate what you guys have added. Over the past 12 months it's really done a lot for the value of what you're producing. It's gone from being a good software program that I appreciate to something that's invaluable and makes my life so much easier.