My ChurchSuite launch resources
This article contains a selection of resources that may be helpful as you launch My ChurchSuite to your members. We do encourage you to also read a related Case Study, which makes suggestions for achieving a successful launch.
Customise your My ChurchSuite invitation
In addition to the announcements and communications you'll use to promote the launch, you can also customise the My ChurchSuite invitation email that you'll send to each invited member in your Address Book - this email is a great opportunity to explain what My ChurchSuite is, why they are being invited and how it's going to make a difference. Keep the invitation email clear and concise - the goal is that people click the response button embedded in the email to log in to My ChurchSuite for the first time.
We've created a sample promotional presentation in Powerpoint and Keynote file formats, which you can further customise to suit your launch. For example, there may be modules that you are not yet using, so the related slides for those sections will not apply and should be removed.
From experience, the best communications are those that sport your branding, styling and language. Replacing our "demonstration" screen shots with your own My ChurchSuite screen shots will make it feel more familiar and more closely match what your members will see when they log in. You can replace the ChurchSuite logo with your own branding - or remove it entirely.
If you wish to use ChurchSuite's own branding in any of your promotional materials, website or communications, we have a helpful branding resources section on the ChurchSuite website here.
And, if you're feeling really creative, why not create a short My ChurchSuite promotional video that can be used in your weekly announcements, website or email communications? Whilst you might not have the luxury of skilled media and graphics teams to produce elaborate videos, easy-to-use applications like Keynote can export a slide presentation as a movie file - complete with automated transitions and timings. All you then need to do is add a voiceover and perhaps some royalty-free background music and you've got yourself a 'promo video'! Here's an example of something I put together for my own church using Keynote and iMovie - this took an afternoon with minimal skills (but several cups of coffee!)
Know your why
Every church will have different reasons for launching My ChurchSuite. Engagement is maximised when members clearly understand those reasons, presented in a compelling way that easily connects to their own journey with your church. In this respect, vision is key - being able to connect the why to your vision. To get you thinking, here's a few of the areas of my church's vision that we identified My ChurchSuite would help us with - not in any particular order and you may have better and more compelling reasons!
- To help newcomers to connect to the life of the church much more quickly.
- To implement a scaleable platform that would grow with us; a system that would provide the necessary systems and structures to support the future growth we expected.
- To help move people on in their discipleship journey by showing them next steps with Jesus - course, events, groups, giving, serving, podcasts etc.
- To reduce unnecessary admin burden on our church office by providing a means for people to keep their own family's details up to date.
- To provide a platform for securely collecting missing or new information, so that we as leaders could make better, data-informed decisions.
- To provide a platform that helped enable our community to do relationship more easily, including a means for sharing one another's contact details appropriately and safely, while always respecting individuals' personal privacy if they wished.
- To help us work more collaboratively in areas of serving and volunteering, so that rota planning became more streamlined and those serving knew their upcoming serving commitments.
- To provide a simple way for small group leaders to manage their groups; to record group attendance and then have a reliable basis for pastoral care in their groups, i.e. so that they could more easily identify those who had been absent for more than a couple of weeks, and to offer a means of circulating prayer requests and important group information.
- To use the contact image upload feature as a way of helping us identify one another and put faces to names.
- To help us communicate better so that our messages were targeted more effectively, rather than filling people's inboxes with irrelevant emails.
- To help our leaders of under 18s have the most up to date safeguarding information about the children in their care, including accurate allergy information, medical notes and special needs.
- To provide a platform that would help us maintain privacy in a way that showed we valued data protection, always using people's details responsibly and in accordance with their consent.
- To be wise stewards of tithes and offerings by using a platform that was inexpensive, intuitive and easy to deploy and use.
Answer questions before they're asked
A successful launch should address people's potential questions before they are asked, so take time as a team to consider the potential questions or barriers your invited members might raise - perhaps create a FAQ document to accompany your pre-launch communications. For example, explain about communication options and privacy settings, and who is able to see what information. Explain who does (and doesn't) get to use My ChurchSuite. Turn perceived negatives into opportunities - perhaps comparing the benefits of a secure online tool like My ChurchSuite to the former processes that were probably far less reliable, useful or secure!
Consider your processes
Finally, as you plan your My ChurchSuite launch, do review your related admin processes. Remember, this isn't just a launch to your existing members - it will also affect those who may be coming into contact with your church or organisation through ministries and mission, and those that will come in the future - many of whom will benefit from using My ChurchSuite. You'll therefore need clear processes in place so that your team are able to make My ChurchSuite available to others in the future. Indeed, many churches find it helpful to have a termly "ChurchSuite Sunday", perhaps linked to "Vision" messages, so that the message of My ChurchSuite is repeated for those who've not yet engaged or who have joined since the original launch.