In speaking with churches across the country daily, I find that one thing is clear: in-person church attendance, especially volunteering, has been slower to bounce back from the pandemic than we’d like. Compounding the issue are staff changes and the evolving needs of everyone involved. But adapting to these challenges is possible!
When you get started with Ministry Scheduler Pro, you’re not just getting a software solution. MSP staff brings to the table a plethora of firsthand scheduling experience and the benefit of talking to schedulers every day. Here are a few challenges we’ve seen over the last few years and how you can adapt and thrive moving forward.
Getting by with fewer volunteersIf your volunteer numbers are still low, likely the volunteers you have now are the cream of the crop. They’re engaged, and they’re excited to serve! Consider asking if they would be willing to serve in a new ministry or on a repeating basis. For example, you’re probably using fewer lectors and EMHCs so those folks aren’t getting the opportunity to serve as often as they’d like.
On the other hand, you may be short-handed ushers or greeters due to added responsibilities to those roles. MSP makes it easy to send messages to certain volunteers. Send a poll to all your lectors asking who would be willing to start serving in the usher ministry, so they have more chances to serve. Polls make it easy for volunteers to answer quickly, and you get easy-to-read results!
Filling empty positionsIf auto-scheduling based on people’s availability isn’t feasible right now due to a shortage of volunteers, mix and match MSP’s different scheduling methods to make filling empty positions easier. First, set up those more available and eager volunteers on repeating assignments. Then run the auto-scheduler. Finally, let volunteers sign up for the remaining open positions.
MSP can automatically send an email each week listing the positions and sub-requests that still need to be filled for this weekend. This is especially helpful for those volunteers who are willing to serve but just can’t commit to regular scheduling right now. MSP can send those volunteers sub requests and open position emails but avoid auto-scheduling them.
New faces in the pewsIf your church is like mine, you also may have noticed fresh faces in the congregation. COVID shuffled things around for a lot of people, and for various reasons, your congregation probably looks very different than it did a couple of years ago. It might be a great time to consider holding a volunteer night! MSP makes it easy to onboard those new volunteers with Enrollment forms – they can do it right from their phone at your volunteer night.
Track volunteer training dates and background checks right within MSP, so you know you’re always scheduling those who are qualified and approved to serve. It’s easy to filter which volunteers are out of date, send them reminders to update their training or certifications, and, if needed, make them temporarily inactive until updated.
Dealing with no-showsStruggling with no-shows? Make sure MSP’s popular auto-reminders are turned on! Let MSP send a reminder email – or text message – each week to everyone scheduled for the weekend. Easily filter your volunteer list to see who you don’t have email addresses for, and update them if you can. When they start getting auto-reminders, volunteers are usually quick to let you know if they aren’t able to serve right now.
Working from homeThe landscape of work has changed over the past two years, and many of us now work from other places than just our office. Our newest – and most requested – feature helps you stay on top of scheduling even when you’re away from your desk. Mobile and web-based ministry scheduling means you can make edits to the schedule, request subs on behalf of your volunteers, update volunteer info, create teams, fill positions, send emails or texts, process web forms, and more! And you can do it from anywhere with an internet connection. Yes, anywhere!
That also means it’s easier than ever to keep your pastor, deacons, sacristan, and ministry coordinators in the loop about the current status of the schedule. They can access the schedule through the app (either as a volunteer or admin) to see the most up-to-date info. Or, if they like the info presented on a silver platter, MSP makes it easy to export this weekend’s services and email or print it for them.