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On Layby Reporting

laybypackage

Of late, I’ve been developing a system for managing the reporting of layby for our members.

The Layby Package [i'm just going to go with that name] is a really a set of database and merge document that allows a congregation to deliver to its members an overview of their giving, either quarterly, bi-annually, or annually.

The key to the whole package is the record keeping. At The Park [The Magnolia Park Church of Christ], the leadership was planning on implementing a giving campaign to coincide with the already existing building fund plan. The result was a system that was first implemented at the Hallandale Beach Church of Christ – the Victory Campaign. Their plan included a campaign brochure, a presentation, and a pledge card. For The Park, I designed a campaign folio, a presentation, a pledge card, a reminder card, as well as the quarterly statement which outlined each individuals giving for the quarter as well as where they stood in relation to their initial pledge.

Now, the Quarterly statement really began in December, 2007, as we were trying to roll out the official yearly statements for members. We decided that in addition to giving them the official statement with the church seal and everything, it would be nice to let each member see exactly what they gave each week. This, in turn, was well received, as many people were surprised to see the peaks and valleys in their giving throughout various times of the year. At the start of 2008 a decision was made that the initial statement would be developed further to include many elements that would be useful to the member. The Following were added for the first quarter statement:

  1. My Statement Summary – The statement summary includes an overall synopsis for the quarter, letting the member see their Total given, the congregations giving total, Their total given shown as a percentage of overall congregation total, their Weekly Average, their ranking amongst all givers, and finally, The Forecast of their giving for the remaining three quarters, based on current weekly average.
  2. My 13-Week Report – A charted representation of the quarter with the date and corresponding amount given.
  3. My Total Amount Given – Pretty much self explanatory.
  4. My Average Per Week Giving – The average given as a funtion of overall total divided by the 13 week quarter.
  5. My Personal Rank – We show a ranking that allows the member to see exactly where they stand numerically. We based the number on qualifying givers.
  6. My 52 Week Forecast – The 52 Week forecast is a total number for the year based on their current weekly average spun forward for the rest of the year.
  7. My 13-Week High – The 13-week High shows the Largest amount given in any one week. No provision is given for same high given in multiple weeks.
  8. My 13-Week Low – The 13-week Low shows the Lowest amount given in any one week. As with the 13-week high, no provision is given for same low given in multiple weeks.
  9. Congregation Total – The congregation total is a whole sum of givings for the quarter by all members for all collections.
  10. My Percentage – The percentage function is a showing of the members impact on the overall total given for the quarter.
  11. The Top 10 Givers – The Top 10 Givers for the quarter shows just that – The Top 10 Givers; No totals, just names.
  12. Graphical Overview – Lastly, we give a graphical overview of the quarter in terms of congregational giving, the overall average per Sunday, and the Per Sunday total. In the future we plan to make use of the Google Charts API to build individual graphical representations for each member, as well as an internet application for congregations.

In the Future, we look to build an internet application that shows the same information for each member.

What do you think? Is this something that you think your congregation could use? What, if any, layby reporting mechanisms do you use?

Song Service Planning – Redux

Redux? Remember, I posted all of these articles before, and then lost them all. It was a tough summer, Charlie Brown.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the planning of the worship service, how that it takes more than a notion to make a service go smoothly. In addition I’ve been looking forward to the day when we would officially begin our quarter and work to actually plan the service ahead of Sunday.

One of the areas i’m always excited about is the song service. I’m in the monthly rotation and so I always feel blessed when it is my opportunity to lead the congregation in song. To this end, I generally like to plan a song service ahead of schedule, which gives me more time to actually find songs that go well together.

I’ve been looking at different solutions for planning the worship service, and also solutions for developing a lineup for song service. I’ve stumbled upon a few software packages that i’ve read about over the years, but I figure, for a congregation of our makeup, there is really not the need to get that far ahead of ourselves with all of the interesting technology out there.

Paper Planning

For some time I’ve been reading David Seah’s productivity blog for insight and have been intrigued by his use of paper in planning, task management, and organization. I’ve been a fan of Franklin Covey since they were FranklinQuest and Covey Leadership Center, so I’ve always been a lover of paper planning products. So, my immediate thought was, why not just create a simple solution for planning a song service involving paper? Simple enough! I’ve been using the solutions for sometime now, even incorporating them into my Field Notes pocket journal. For the time being, I’ve developed a few variants that hopefully will serve as a start to something better as I continue to develop the idea.

First, The Long Sheet is just that, a long form list that allows for more songs to be written down. At first I thought about the idea that no one would ever need to have a listing of 18 songs for one service, but upon second thought, I realize that a.) There is some congregation out there that is probably singing well over 20 songs in each worship service, and b.) Even for those who sing a generally normal amount of songs, the form allows for listing a large selection of hymns thus giving the song leader options in the pulpit. Yeah, I’m going with B.

[download#2#nohits]

With the theme of free form planning, I also created a FreeForm Song Service Planner which is meant primarily for events outside of worship service that call for singing. I’ve been thinking that it could actually be used as a set list for a group, but, since I’m in the process of creating a dedicated sheet for groups, I’ll just designate this one for song services only.

[download#1#nohits]

And, finally, I just did a simple update on the original Part of Worship form that had the designated parts of worship [communion, collection] as well as the song of invitation and the closing selection.

[download#3#nohits]

Note // Actually, I went ahead and included the originals. Have Fun

[download#4#nohits]

Good Times

A Ministry Framework

I’ve been looking forward to writing on this topic for some time now, but have only now gotten around to actually sitting down and taking the time to organize my thoughts for this particular post.

The Idea of ministry management has become a major sticking point for me as I’ve come to believe that ministry can and should work a whole lot better in the engagement of the members of any particular congregation. Congregations, for the most part, have come to take on the idea that individuality saves the day. However, what I really wanted to do was simply create a working model that could be used as a possible framework for training and development purposes.

So, A Framework?

Well, I continue to feel like the best way to understand anything is to actually learn by doing, and since I couldn’t go out and become minister of an actually congregation, or lead a brotherhood, I figure the next best thing has to be trying to work on building a systematic model of what a brotherhood would look like, with congregations of various backgrounds and standings. I wanted to build something that was both easily understandable, yet at the same time was built with a sense of reality, that a user could imagine being at any particular congregation within the brotherhood.

Schematics

In developing my faux brotherhood, I took into consideration a few things that I felt were necessary elements in building something that was feasibly understandable. Looking for ways to make this whole project manageable in the long run, I set in place some parameters for my brotherhood.

  1. The local brotherhood could have no more than 15 congregations – I actually came in under the allocation of 15 congregations (13), leaving two out for future purposes. I chose the number 15 as a limit because I didn’t want the entire process to become so expansive as to limit functionality. In a very large local brotherhood with every congregation having fully developed, active ministries, I just felt that planning, even fake planning, would become a task too major to handle effectively.
  2. I would stick to realistic numbers for the brotherhood – You aren’t going to typically find a brotherhood with massive attendance numbers, so I really wanted to stick to the reality of the actual brotherhood numbers. In writing The Music Ministry Guide, I did a lot of research on the brotherhood-at-large and realized that the total brotherhood is not as large as I thought, and so, my planning reflects that.
  3. Financial Numbers should reflect actual trends – I built my own scale using financial data that I found at various congregations. Basically, I looked at membership numbers and total giving, and built a simple formula for individual member giving per week and then simply expanded it forward for an entire year.

Now, all of this really is extensive when you understand the actually scope and focus of this research and modeling, and that is simply to develop a single congregation model. I wanted to develop a single congregation for training and development purposes, but when I began building the framework for Griffin Lake church of Christ, I quickly realized that a congregation can’t stand alone, and must therefore be a part of a larger brotherhood. The more I thought about it, the more the reality of an entire brotherhood being built looked feasible.

Now that I have a simple framework to build the rest of my model on, I’ve looked to start planning out the rest of the project. I figure to begin working on the rest of the project immediately.

[download#5#nohits]

Playing With Prototypes

As I’ve written on previous occasions, I am working on a couple of ministry tools for download on this site. This has given me a lot of needed practice in the idea of Prototyping, the art of building a working rough draft.

Interesting to me is the idea of needing to develop a prototype of what is essentially paper crafts, but I’ve chosen to use the process to have what I feel is a dry run or personal pre-release. Each document carries a different purpose, and so, there are inherently different uses for prototyping.

For example, I, of course, am not a performing artist, and therefore the Gig set list and Artist Sales Tracker are really just documents I’m using in a simulated fashion, imaging that I am in either situation. For other documents, like the Bible Study Module, I am actually using this in a practice and am actively revising certain elements by the minute. Just recently, I’ve realized that I would like to have an element that allowed me to track the time I’ve spent studying, and so that is a piece that I’ll be including.

Another piece that is important to me is building something that is accessible and would not require any other modifications from the end-user. This, to me, means that I’ll probably be releasing soft-versions of all of my documents and also continuously updating documents.

Finally, I have an extreme interest in developing online counterparts to each of these pieces, so I’ll also be looking at the software side of prototyping.

Good Times

Chain-Referencing

While i’m busy trying to finish the development of the new ministry tools i’ll be releasing this weekend [hopefully], I’ve been thinking a lot about what things I would like to use myself. I mean, it’s one thing to build a bunch of pieces for other people to use, and yet, another thing altogether to build offline applications that I myself would like to use.

One such item is a bible study tool that I could use while doing my bible studies. I’ve looked around at various products that people have and most seem to be electronic solutions that include the bible software and some sort of concordance for referencing. This, of course, gets me to thinking of what it would take to develop a simple bible studying solution. To this I’ve looked at the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible and the concept behind it.

Basically, you have a starting text, say Matthew 1:1 and a chain that follows of various topics, say birth. I’ve figured that the bulk of my studying tends to be in a linear fashion, one thought leading directly to another, so that the first scripture noted has a direct-correlation with the last scripture of note.

Now, in building a note sheet, I figure that any “chain” is basically going to have a starting point and may have anywhere from 5 to 10 texts in succession. Of those texts I note, perhaps I will probably take notes on half of them, so that on a chain of 10 texts, I will probably take an actual note on 5. In developing my study sheet, I’ve picked 5 as a good enough number to work with. It gives me enough space to where I can freely note various passages in my studying, but also has few spaces enough that I won’t get carried away with thoughts. I’m thinking that a filled sheet with 5 scripture notes and a chain of 10 texts is probably as deep as I would like to go in a daily, structured bible study.

Finally, I think there needs to be a contextual organizing structure, a way to categorize my note sheets for later referring. But, for now I’ll file that away.

Worship Planning Tools

ministry

Of late, I’ve been working on trying to build applications for my those around me, be it, a marketing strategy for the Statewide Youth For Christ Conference, or a management and organization plan for the giving at The Park. But, most of all, I’ve been looking more at the ideas of productivity and time management and how they play together. In this sense, I’ve begun working on my own set of items I use in everyday life. Some are rather complex, while others are very basic in nature. Either way, I began looking at how the systems could work for me when planning out the worship service.

The first items i’ve decided to create are very simple in nature; a song service planner, and a minister sermon log. Both represent very critical process that can be broken down into rather simple task-planning.

The Song Service Planner is a 2-up document that can be printed and sliced in half. I wanted something that I could use for both morning and evening service, and so 2 just worked well. I’m currently working on a variation of the form that will allow for greater variety in planning the song service and will also allow for options during the service [think: 3 options for communion, etc.]. I wanted something that I could slip into the song book or my bible and I included the date for archiving purposes [you may like to revisit the same set 3 months from now].

The Sermon Log is pretty self explanatory. I just think it would be a good thing for a minister to know exactly what he preached, and when he preached it. Nothing special here, a bare-bones document for tracking subjects.

  • [download#1#nohits] – The Song Service Planner. version 1.0.
  • [download#2#nohits] – Ministers Sermon Log. version 1.0

Layby management for congregations

Layby Set

Layby Set

My yet unamed Layby Package for the Magnolia Park Church of Christ is currently being delivered to the members beginning Thursday.

The Layby Package [i'm just going to go with that name] is a really a set of database and merge document that allows a congregation to deliver to its members an overview of their giving, either quarterly, bi-annually, or annually.

The key to the whole package is the record keeping. At The Park [The Magnolia Park Church of Christ], the leadership was planning on implementing a giving campaign to coincide with the already existing building fund plan. The result was a system that was first implemented at the Hallandale Beach Church of Christ – the Victory Campaign. Their plan included a campaign brochure, a presentation, and a pledge card. For The Park, I designed a campaign folio, a presentation, a pledge card, a reminder card, as well as the quarterly statement which outlined each individuals giving for the quarter as well as where they stood in relation to their initial pledge.

Now, the Quarterly statement really began in December, 2007, as we were trying to roll out the official yearly statements for members. We decided that in addition to giving them the official statement with the church seal and everything, it would be nice to let each member see exactly what they gave each week. This, in turn, was well received, as many people were surprised to see the peaks and valleys in their giving throughout various times of the year. At the start of 2008 a decision was made that the initial statement would be developed further to include many elements that would be useful to the member. The Following were added for the first quarter statement:

  • My Statement Summary – The statement summary includes an overall synopsis for the quarter, letting the member see their Total given, the congregations giving total, Their total given shown as a percentage of overall congregation total, their Weekly Average, their ranking amongst all givers, and finally, The Forecast of their giving for the remaining three quarters, based on current weekly average.
  • My 13-Week Report – A charted representation of the quarter with the date and corresponding amount given.
  • My Total Amount Given – Pretty much self explanatory.
  • My Average Per Week Giving – The average given as a funtion of overall total divided by the 13 week quarter.
  • My Personal Rank – We show a ranking that allows the member to see exactly where they stand numerically. We based the number on qualifying givers.
  • My 52 Week Forecast – The 52 Week forecast is a total number for the year based on their current weekly average spun forward for the rest of the year.
  • My 13-Week High – The 13-week High shows the Largest amount given in any one week. No provision is given for same high given in multiple weeks.
  • My 13-Week Low – The 13-week Low shows the Lowest amount given in any one week. As with the 13-week high, no provision is given for same low given in multiple weeks.
  • Congregation Total – The congregation total is a whole sum of givings for the quarter by all members for all collections.
  • My Percentage – The percentage function is a showing of the members impact on the overall total given for the quarter.
  • The Top 10 Givers – The Top 10 Givers for the quarter shows just that – The Top 10 Givers; No totals, just names.
  • Graphical Overview – Lastly, we give a graphical overview of the quarter in terms of congregational giving, the overall average per Sunday, and the Per Sunday total. In the future we plan to make use of the Google Charts API to build individual graphical representations for each member, as well as an internet application for congregations.

In the Future, we look to build an internet application that shows the same information for each member.