One of the grumbles heard most often in church is ‘I don’t know what’s going on.’ It’s a complaint that I’ve heard consistently since I’ve been a member of All Saints, some 36 years. So it’s not a new problem. Failing to keep everyone informed is often one of the downsides of success. The more people to be told, the more chance that someone will be left out. As our congregation grows, and we now have one and a half times the number of people every Sunday as we did five years ago, so the problem worsens.
With this in mind at ASM we are increasingly using electronic communication to get messages across. We now send regular emails to alert you to changes, to invite you to events, to inform you about special services or teaching series. Or simply to celebrate our good news.
If you receive these emails then you need to do no more – you are in the loop – and unless you ask us to stop you will continue to be in the communication loop. If you are not, we will still try our best to inform you using notices and ‘The Other Side’ – but better still if you have email then why don’t you join our ‘loop’. It’s easy to do. The church’s database has a mass emailing facility so all we need is your email address and your permission to use it as described above. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do the rest.
Another advantage of our database is that you can choose to be part of the on-line directory. It’s a private contact directory for members of our team congregations. Like a telephone directory you just look up a person’s name and, if they have given permission, their contact details are displayed. How much is displayed is entirely up to them. From name only (not an effective contact list!) to any combination of name, address, telephone number and email address. You have complete control over what is displayed and you can change what is displayed yourself anytime you wish.
Interested? You need to be invited to join the directory. If you receive our communication emails then you should also have received an invitation to join the directory and a password which will get you into the directory (as I said earlier, it is a closed system, only invitees can access the directory). Once you have gained access the directory displays your own database record in its entirety. Again you are the only person who will be able to see this. Next to your name is a button with a pencil graphic – this allows you to edit your details. Just click the pencil to go into edit mode.
Once you are happy that the details in the central column are correct you can choose which contact details other directory users are able to see. In the right hand column under the heading Privacy Settings, click onto any square next to those details you are happy to display. If you change your mind, just click the tick to turn it off – it’s an on/off switch. Save the changes to update both the database and your directory entry.
Now you are in the directory what does it allow you to do?
On the left is a list of the options you see wherever you are in the directory. You will always find the list on the left.
Clicking .. Home – will always take you back to the start page with your details.
My communication – lists all the emails you have ever received via the database emailing system.
My children – there is a hidden childrens’ section, not publicly accessible, but you can see and amend your own child’s record. You cannot see anyone else’s children’s details.
My events – sign up and view church events and activities.
My groups – view members of discipleship groups to which you belong. You can email individual members or the whole group from this option. You can even start group conversations.
Search for others – opens an A-Z contact directory of church members who, like you, have given permission for their contact details to be displayed.
Church website – click to access the Team website.
10:59 Child registration – this is under development. It will be used to speed up young church registration.
Log out – takes you out of the directory It really is that easy.
Do try it out. If you have forgotten your password, email email@example.com
Let’s try to eliminate that old grumble and make sure as many people as possible ARE in the loop!
For this and many more stories about what is going on within our church, download your latest copy of The Bridge – the magazine of All Saints Marlow.