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Managing Missions Interest with Technology
By: Jeff Pelletier

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to attend a “missions interest” meeting at your church, or any other church or parachurch for that matter, you know that it can be a powerful time of engagement and learning for all that attend. The order of service typically looks something like this: an amazing time of prayer, an inspiring presentation (typically with full AVL support), an encouraging word from the host and an emphatic call to action. This all generally culminates with attendees being given the opportunity to sign up to participate. And this is where things can get a little haywire if the right tools aren’t in place to efficiently handle the swarm of enthusiastic responders.

We likely all agree that timing is important, and when it comes to capitalizing on ministry opportunities or momentum, timing can be most important. So, what does this have to do with a missions interest meeting, you ask?

The following are three things I’ve seen work incredibly well following a compelling missions-related presentation:

First, be prepared with an inventory of mobile devices to capture the attendees’ basic demographic information. For ease of use, a tablet is ideal, but I’ve also seen a smart phone work. The key is to have a sufficient inventory of devices available for use in order to keep things moving along, so you don’t lose people that may get impatient with the process. A key volunteer should man these devices to ensure rapid (and accurate) data entry into an online form as well as create an opportunity to answer questions and offer great customer service.

Second, the online form being used to capture the data should be preloaded on the mobile devices and ready to use the moment the attendees walk up to register. There are a number of online form options out there, but be sure to go with one that is easy to administer and has some level of reporting available. Also, the ability to export the data is a must. Here’s a tip: since you have a trusted volunteer controlling the data entry, minimize the number of “required” fields, allowing them to populate the necessary fields as they see fit.

Third, once all pertinent data related to each attendee is captured, the final step will be the communication and follow-up strategy. The most logical medium for this is email or text messaging. Keep in mind that, at this point, they’ve not actually committed to the missions endeavor, so the communication plan must still offer a creative and compelling call to action for them to take the next step. The sooner the follow-up touch point happens, the better. The ideal scenario would be an e-mail platform that offers simple analytics so you can measure the effectiveness of the message. Here’s the bottom line: the speed at which the follow-up happens can have a profound impact on the momentum already in play that will affect the participant’s next step.

In the day-to-day lives of most people, the use of technology to carry out even the simplest of tasks is very much expected. Similarly, in today’s pace of life for vibrant, missions-related activities, the days of ink pens, paper forms and clipboards are rapidly going by the wayside. Clearly, the bridge between these two worlds is already very much under construction. So, when it comes to something as exciting as giving people an opportunity to engage in a missions endeavor, let’s do all that we can to leverage technology to enhance their overall experience.

Jeff Pelletier is the executive pastor of Milestone Church with campuses in Keller and McKinney, Texas. This article is courtesy of Lifeway Christian Resources, www.lifeway.com.

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