Whiteboard: The Moses Method for Choosing Church Management Software – Part 2

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In part 2 of this whiteboard session, Rodney provides the final steps of using the Moses Method to choose the best church management software.

Whiteboard: The Moses Method for Choosing Church Software Part 2 from Elexio on Vimeo.

Video Transcription:

Hi. Welcome to an Elexio Whiteboard. This is Part 2 of our discussion about the Moses Method, inspired by the story in Numbers 13, where Moses sends out scouts into the Promised Land to determine what it’s all about. We use that as our inspiration for guidance on selecting new church management software, sometimes called your church database.

In our last session, we looked at trying to arrive at Moses-level clarity on whether or not you need software or not. It can’t be wishy-washy. You need to be very clear because challenges will come up. And if you’re not clear and feel strongly that this is the right pathway for the church, it will falter at some point. You’ll have nothing to fall back on, so try to arrive at some level of Moses-level clarity.

The second thing we talked about in our first session is getting or at least setting yourself up to get 12/4 buy-in. Moses selected one representative from each tribe of Israel. I think one of the reasons was to make sure he gets buy-in from everybody on this big task, even though it was a God-ordained task. Because he was Moses, he had complete clarity on what he needed to do, but he still, I think, needed buy-in.

You can do the same thing in setting up your software search by gathering a group of three to six, let’s call them scouts, who will not only represent their own interests, as it relates to what the new software will do, but then also an assigned group of other users that they will represent and really, truly represent them, setting aside even sometimes what their own needs are for the good of everybody they represent.

Okay, that’s a review of the first two phases of the Moses Method. This side of the board really starts talking about once your software search really starts. That is, again, a fair amount of reading, talking, and watching. Mostly what you’ll end up doing is listening to salespeople from the software companies do presentations, do demonstrations. This will help you through that process.

This Phase 3 is the Milk, Honey, and Giants phase. Now that may sound familiar, of course. The report that Moses got back about Canaan was that it was a land flowing with milk and honey, but it also had some strong and powerful men, even some giants that lived there. That was the report. And I would suggest you are going to see some of the same types of things surfacing, the same types of reports surfacing, as your scouts are reporting back what they’re finding.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s get specific. Your scouts may fall into. . .and I will call it a trap, although it’s not the worst thing in the world, but they may fall into a trap of becoming milk men. Now that doesn’t mean it can’t be a woman. It could be anybody. But we’ll use the phrase milk men. Now milk, of course, is a great thing. We all, when we start life, milk is our source of nutrients. But eventually we move on from milk and get nutrients from lots of different places.

Milk men, in your software search, are going to be the people that are tending to look back and think about basic things. They may be overly concerned with what screens look like, where certain fields are placed. They may be concerned about the order in which things are done. Rather than looking at big picture, they’re tending to focus on small things. And a big indicator of somebody, one of your scouts, falling into an overly milk-mannish mode is that they may say something like, “Well, our old software didn’t do it that way” or any type of comparison to the way things were done before.

Now remember, as we said, we all grow out of having milk be the only thing that we gain sustenance from. In the same way, your church, if you’ve gotten Moses-level clarity that you need a new church software, it’s probably that you’ve outgrown your old software. You need to move on, and if some of your scouts are too focused on the basics. . . Now not that basics aren’t important, don’t hear me say that, but an over-focus on comparing, “Well, this software doesn’t work like the old one does.” Well, of course, it doesn’t, and you may need something that doesn’t work like the old one did. But it is a challenge, and it is a trap that your scouts can fall into. The thing to do is not to completely disregard it. Of course, those are valid things to be concerned about, but just be aware of it. It will help you keep focused in the software selection.

Okay, let’s move on. Honey drippers. If these were milk men, these next people or your scouts may become honey drippers. Now what do I mean there? They’re really the exact opposite of milk men. If milk men are looking back too much and too focused on the basics, your honey drippers have become enamored with some new thing, some sweet, new technology that they are seeing. It could be a feature that they see in this one software. It could be a technology that that one software uses.

And the reason I say that they are honey drippers, it’s not only do they become enamored with this new feature, but they’re going to drip that to everybody else. And they’ll drip it so much that it becomes something that’s a must-have, rather than just a nice-to-have. Again, not that it’s wrong. Seeing the honey, the sweet new features, that’s probably what it’s all about. That’s some of what the Moses-level clarity was all about.

But if we get too focused on something that’s too narrow and doesn’t benefit everybody for 12/4 buy-in, it can be problematic, if the honey drippers have too much voice. It’s really about balance. Gaining balance between looking back, looking at the basics, looking at new things, arriving at balance really helps manage this process in making a wise decision that has 12/4-level buy-in. Okay.

There’s another part here. It’s managing milk men, honey drippers, and also giants. Now giants are something that affects everybody. Once you go through this process, you’ve looked at a lot of demos, you may be even narrowing down to the software you think is the right fit, then caution starts to come in. How are we going to get our data into this new system? How will we ever learn all these new features? What kind of training is there out there? A number of questions. Did we research enough? Is it worth the money?

Those questions start coming in and they grow to the point that they become so daunting to think about that it could put a halt to the whole search process, and maybe it short circuits everything and we no longer are moving along with that Moses-level clarity, seeking buy-in, keeping everybody in balance, but now we’re facing these giants. So my suggestion for dealing with giants is two-fold. One is, what I’ve already pointed to, which is. . . That’s why I said in the first session, you need to get, some group of leaders, needs to get to Moses-level clarity because that will help you when you face the giants and those challenging thoughts.

The second part is on your software vendor though. If you’re seeing a feature set that you think is going to get the right buy-in and makes both of these people happy, that vendor needs to be able to help you get over some of the concerns and the giants that face you. You need to ask them about their implementation services. What’s available to help us get from point A to point B? What training is available? And the important question: does it cost? What costs? What doesn’t cost? And let me talk to somebody who’s used those services and is now successful. Managing giants will be just a vital part of the Moses Method of getting and making a successful software selection.

Okay, let’s move on. The final phase of the Moses Method is right here. You’ve just got to do it. You just have to make a decision. You’re taking into everything that’s lead up to it. You’re here on this side. This is where you are now. You have gotten Moses-level clarity. You’ve gotten a scout team together. You’ve managed this whole process. You think you know what the right decision is. And if this process goes well, this chasm between where you are now and where you want to be. . . This is where you want to be. You want to be over there. . . If you manage this process well, this chasm gets smaller and smaller and smaller. But ultimately, the chasm will not go away, and you’re going to have to take a leap to go from where you are now to over there, just having faith that here, here, and here helps you make the right decision. But ultimately, it’s just a seize it and do it.

Now one thing that will happen is probably what happened to Moses. When the time came, “Hey, we’re going to go into the Promised Land,” there were people who said, “Oh, but what about the giants? We were better off back in Egypt.” Moses dealt with that often, the lamenters, people who fought back and lamented, “Ah, this is too much work. It’s not going to work. We should just stay where we are.”

Going to say this. Please take it with a grain of salt in the realm of what I’m saying. You just have to kill off the lamenters. You just have to let that lay out there and really just leave them behind. So if you’ve got lament going on, you’ve just got to leave it, make the leap. Just do it.

Well, that is the Moses Method for selecting new software. It’s actually applicable for probably any big decision that you might make. When you’ve got to make group decisions, it’s hard to do it. Somebody has to get some clarity on a need. You’ve got to get a team of people together to make the decision, you’ve got to manage that team, but ultimately somebody has to be the decision maker and just make the leap.

That’s the Moses Method. We thank you for watching an Elexio Whiteboard.