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I was inspired to write today’s post after reading an article about an evangelical pastor in Las Vegas, who, from the death of her son, found a way to lead dozens of other people to salvation through faith in Jesus. Forgiveness can be a hard pill to swallow because it demands humility and the grace of God. In an article in Outreach Magazine from January & February of this year, Jayne Post talks about the day she came home to find that her 16 year-old son had been accidentally killed on his bicycle by a 16 year-old driver, who happened to be one of his classmates. The story instantly impacted me because a similar incident had happened to two boys from my high school years back. At her son’s funeral, Post was confronted by Tommy, the driver of the car. He apologized for what had happened and she handed him her son’s ring and said, “This is so you know that I forgive you and God loves you. It was a terrible accident, and if you could take it back, you would. I know you would.” After that encounter, Post and Tommy met regularly… and on the one year anniversary of her son’s death, she helped 24 kids (including Tommy) come to know faith in Jesus. She even took her story of forgiveness to a Valentine’s banquet soon after her son’s death and led 30 women to faith in Jesus as well. This touching story shows just how positive the power of forgiveness can be. I was always taught that forgiveness was less for the person that you are forgiving, and more about the peace that you will find in yourself. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” -(Matthew 5:7) 7

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Whether you are hoping to convert from one software system to another, or even trying church management software for the first time, you probably know by now that it takes a lot of planning and consideration before you and your church finally decide. Below is a list of what we consider to be the eight most important questions to ask in order to find what the best fit is for your church needs. What are your staff needs? Start by gathering the most important needs of each ministry at your church. While very few software companies can meet every need, it’s best to know where the gaps reside. Where are you going/growing as a church? Talk to the leaders of your church to get a better understanding of the vision and goal for the next 5-10 years. Try looking at software that offers features like Background Screenings for a growing staff or Events Management to provide members and visitors with more opportunities to get involved. Features like these can better prepare everyone for growth. What is your member “type” & what are their needs/expectations? Take note of the demographics in your congregation and focus on what would improve their connection with your church. Visitors are always important to focus on, but current members are the foundation of the church, so keeping them happy is something that your church software should help with. How much support do you need from your software vendor? This can be tricky since some companies can have great support but a product that is pretty complex. Other companies might label themselves as “simple” but they provide low-level support. Just remember: Simple can be good, but it can also mean that it lacks many important features. Talk to the rest of your church staff about support because this decision will make a big difference down the road. Can the application you purchase grow with you? With smaller churches, a system that can manage small amounts of data might be all that is needed… but once the church starts growing, it’ll be necessary to find a more advanced and structured software system. If you see your church growing in the next few years, take that vision and focus on the software that is most capable of handling changes, growth, and involvement. Is your prospective software vendor an established company with a good track record? Knowing a company’s history and experience is a great indicator of how well their software and support function. If the company’s history doesn’t make you feel completely confident with your decision, keep looking. Do you require consultation from your vendor? If you do require consultation, make sure you find a trustworthy company who understands what it takes to manage a church.  Again, check the background of the company and talk to someone there about their services. What is the cost of the software package? Purchasing software with the possibility of hidden fees is one of those important things that you might forget to plan out before you buy. Make sure that this is something you consider so that your final price is not different from what you budgeted for. And remember, the ‘cost’ of your software isn’t always measured in dollars and cents. Thanks everyone! Hope you have a great day.

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“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.” -Leonardo da Vinci

As most of us know, Leonardo da Vinci was a great artist from the 13th and 14th centuries who created the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. This quote rings true of why Christianity is so important. “…A life well spent…” as Christians can only be completely possible where there is trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11


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Tomorrow is another really fun day for us. We will be at the Unleash 2011 Conference in Anderson, SC!  We will have two of our sales guys there to give everyone more information on our products and to help you with any questions that you might have. If you aren’t attending Unleash, you can catch us next month at: We hope to see you there!

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As the main writer for this blog site, I get to do a lot of cool things (and get to know a lot of interesting people). A few weeks ago when I sat down with our Arena Software Trainer, Ben Lane, I got to learn a lot more about his life inside and outside of Shelby. That got me thinking about who I could talk to next. So… today let’s meet Karen Bishop! She is Shelby’s Events Manager and she did a great job of letting me in on what she does, who she is, and why Shelby is so important to her. If you ever want to meet a kind-hearted and highly driven person, you will definitely find that in Karen. Interestingly enough, Karen’s brother-in-law, Ernie Hamilton, was the founder of Shelby Systems. When I asked Karen about her hobbies, she said she has really come to love working out in just the last 2 years. She recently completed the St. Jude Half Marathon in Memphis last December. She also enjoys knitting, traveling, a cup of coffee with friends at Starbucks, and deep conversations. Once a school teacher and grad student, Karen left that life to help support her family with their new company. Of Shelby’s 35 year existence, Karen has been here for 26, first starting out in the Sales and Marketing Department. She really enjoys being in Events now, and explained that,
“Each day is different here… every hour is different! Right now, we’re getting classes in order for ISC (International Shelby Conference). We’ve got new sessions that will happen in the evenings where people can meet with other customers to see how they are using certain features, such as Check-In or Membership. We’ve also got Grammy award-winning artist, Nicole C. Mullen, performing this year… and we are so excited about that.”
“I love working here,” said Karen, “I love the people who work here and I think we have the best customers anywhere… so when you put it all together, I just have it made.”

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I’ve mentioned size and age conflicts that exist in every church, but what happens when you get crazy requests from members who are threatening to leave? My Sunday School teacher recently told our class about a couple that had left the church after complaining multiple times that there was a red guitar on stage. He then told us about running into old church members at the grocery store who wanted to brag to him about their new church where they can wear blue jeans. You can’t please everyone, but isn’t church meant to be more about the message than the decor? Many people have even complained about the music at my church being too upbeat, while others have complained about it being too slow and traditional. There is always a huge risk in losing people when they are unhappy with something at church, so do you just let them go and bid them adieu? What crazy requests/complaints have you gotten?


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Are you trying to start a blog of your own? Do you already have one? How sick are you of reading about every blogger’s “10 Rules for Writing A Good Blog Post”? I think if I see another one, I’ll face plant into the growing stack of papers on my desk (trying to avoid my coffee on the way down). Here’s the thing, there isn’t one solid set of guidelines for every writer. The Pioneer Woman hasn’t been named one of the best bloggers because she spends her time writing 10 step rules. Something that stuck with me from her blog is that she writes as if she’s talking to her sister. She also uses a lot of pictures. She makes you feel like you know her and you can relate to her and that is what is so intriguing about her posts. My take: The “rules” are thoughtfully put together and can be very beneficial, but once you’ve heard them, you’ve heard them enough. People usually do want the facts, but those alone won’t keep them there… especially if you are writing for a church. People want to know your heart and what is going on in your church’s community. They want to grow their relationship with you and to the church. Your readers want to learn from you, yes, but they want it to feel like you are speaking to them. I’m definitely no pro, but maybe we can learn together. Have a great day!

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The 4th Commandment states, “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” In one of my recent Bible studies, we discussed our personal rules for the Sabbath and the traditions that our families grew up with. I’ll start by saying that I grew up in a Christian household, I am pretty involved in my church, and the importance of the Sabbath has never been stressed to me. Or maybe I never paid enough attention. That can’t be it. But it probably is. Anyway, one of the group members said that his mother never allowed laundry to be done on Sundays, so when he waited 2 weeks to do it and Sunday rolled around, they would get into arguments because he didn’t have any clean clothes. “We could do anything else and we didn’t do anything for the sake of praising God any time after we left church, but touching the laundry was a big deal to my mom,” he said. A few laughs came from that one. Another member said that she won’t allow her family to do any chores, whether it be vacuuming or mowing the yard. My husband and I sat in silence, because quite frankly, we leave church and (besides the monthly Bible studies on Sunday nights) just go about our day like it’s any other. Being a Christian isn’t hard work, but it does take consideration and a conscious effort. What do you do on the Sabbath? Do you ever find it hard to honor it?

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This is neat! The book “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum” focuses on the importance of engineers in today’s world and the overflow of computer technology and new innovative gadgets that they create. Author Alan Cooper makes an interesting point about how accidental inventions can lead to huge benefits. An adhesive engineer named Art Fry couldn’t find a practical way to save a page in his hymnal while singing in his church choir, since standard bookmarks fell out and tape created too much damage to the pages. He started thinking about an old adhesive that he had worked on in the past and remembered that it was too weak to stick very well. He tried adding the adhesive to a few small square pieces of paper and the 3M Post-it Note was created. This minor thought forever changed the way homes and offices organize their materials. Whodathunkit? The famous Post-it Notes were started all because a church choir engineer needed a good bookmark!