To say that the Catholic Church moves slowly is somewhat of an understatement. Since Christ walked this earth more than 2,000 years ago, much has happened within the Catholic Church. And yet, much still stays the same. That’s a good thing when it comes to the sacraments of Jesus Christ and his teachings, but not so much for all the ways that technology has helped to streamline parish offices and duties.
While churches today continue to have the same tasks as years before, ways in which to do them have greatly changed. The era of typewriters is no longer here, replaced long ago by personal computers. Additionally, snail mail is also beginning to take a back seat to the significant convenience and cost-savings of email. But aside from those typically well-known aspects of church life, there are still multiple ways that technology can help you manage your parish and evangelize a whole new generation of intentional disciples.
Help Save Staff Time and Resources
Your parish office staff is busy — like, really, really busy. Answering phone calls of parents looking to baptize, filing sacramental records, keeping track of financial statements of active parishioners, paying bills, updating contacts, answering emails … the list just goes on. So the more they can streamline their tasks and reduce the amount of data they enter, the more they’ll free up their time. One way to do this is to look at different computer solutions that can do the same task for multiple purposes.
If, for example, you need to enter your sacramental information into three different files or programs, you could save time by combining them all so you only need to enter once. If you use various Excel files for this that you maintain for certain ministries, consider moving it all into one live Google document that can be accessed by the whole group.
Streamline Necessary Communications
If you’re like many parishes out there, you have jumped on the social media bandwagon and have multiple accounts you maintain, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Many times, the same message will need to be posted to all three accounts so you can hit all audiences — but can that be streamlined so you only have one message to post? Definitely!
Social media manager solutions such as Hootsuite or Later will allow you to access all social media platforms, duplicate posts, and schedule them out as needed — meaning you only need to write the message once in order to share it multiple times.
Update and Maintain Essential Information Once
There are multiple ways that parish contacts need to be maintained. You need addresses for appeal letters and end-of-year financial statements. You need sacramental numbers to keep track of certificates and dates and to supply your diocese with your annual numbers. And phone numbers and email addresses are necessary to use if they are involved in a ministry — or more! A great way to work all of these tasks into one is to use a church member management system like WeGather.
WeGather is a fully integrated, cloud-based software solution that keeps track of parish contacts, sacramental records, online giving, ministries, and more. It’s a one-stop solution accessible by multiple staff members, meaning you only need to enter information once.
Change can be hard for a lot of people, but once you discover how much time is saved by using new programs and methods of doing something, you’ll see you have more time to evangelize to your faith community.