My family and I once sent a gift of Russian nesting dolls to a loved one. When we visited her sometime later, she showed us where she had proudly displayed the doll. One of my children took the doll down and twisted it open to reveal the next doll inside.
Grandma Dot was flabbergasted. She’d had no idea there were four more beautifully hand-carved, hand-painted dolls inside!
But wait—there’s more!
You might also have some undiscovered goodies waiting to be discovered. I’m referring to the unused features of the church database or website CMS you use every day. It’s likely that each of your church’s software solutions has extra features that would prove quite useful in your ministry, but they’ve been left unopened, as it were.
Who has the time to explore all those features?
Someone once said, tongue in cheek, “I don’t have time to stop and sharpen my axe—I have too many trees to cut down!” Obviously, sharper tools make the work easier. When I’m doing yard work, the time I take to stop and sharpen the tools is well worth it. The same benefit comes from taking the time to go deeper into your software’s features and sharpen your skills in using them.
Think about it this way. If you’re already taking the time to do something one way, isn’t it worth taking the time to learn a better way?
Extend your learning curve
Providers usually help you to get started quickly using their products, because they know most users don’t want to wade through a long manual before they start using the tool. “What a perfect evening to curl up with a good instruction manual!” said no one, ever.
But many users never go past the basics. They cut their learning curve short and never go back to discover what more their church software can do.
You may not aspire to being a “power user” of a particular solution, but you don’t have to stop at the bare essentials, either—especially when investing a little more time to learn more advanced functions could save you much more time down the road.
Where to find the how-to
- Tips & tutorials
Most reputable software providers give you ample online, video, and print resources to learn their solution and stay up to date. Regardless of the medium, you’ll benefit by staying current with your software. If it’s a great product from a strong company, it will evolve over time.
Used the Elexio Help webpages lately? See what’s new, learn a new feature!
- Video archives
Video tutorials are quite popular. Some churches use video streaming to share their experience with a particular software solution—say, a website creation program. Even though they may have created the help videos for their own use, these tutorials can benefit other churches who are working through similar issues. Check sites like YouTube and Vimeo for some of these practical helps.
- Workshop & training sessions
Consider attending a workshop or signing up for online training geared toward helping you get the most out of a particular software solution. Those few hours you invest could pay off in much greater efficiency.
Struggling with a particular feature? Sign up anytime for our Q&A sessions.
- Don’t forget to ask the experts
It’s easy to get stuck in the way you’ve always done things, and this can keep you from exploring and adopting new procedures and best practices.
Most of today’s providers are willing to roll up their sleeves, understand the challenge, and propose a solution. Ask them if they have solution experts who can come to you and provide some insight in a face-to-face setting.
Interested in an onsite ChMS bootcamp? Contact us.
It’s a matter of stewardship
Many users only tap into a fraction of their software’s capabilities. But that doesn’t mean those unused features are superfluous. The software providers have put a great deal of effort into analyzing the needs of the church and creating solutions that make ministry much easier, so it’s worth exploring your software’s capabilities.
This may seem counterintuitive, but skillful use of advanced features can free up time and allow you to spend more time connecting with those God has entrusted to you.
Making the most of what God has given us is a biblical value. You already have the tools, and you’re already spending the time using them for the Master. Even an hour or two spent exploring your software’s features could make you an even more effective and faithful steward of God’s gifts.
What shortcuts or features have you discovered that have been a great help to you?