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How can your church appeal to everyone? Unfortunately, that answer is quite simply, “It can’t”. Are you part of a large church or a small church? Maybe a medium or mega-sized church? There are many reasons why all sizes exist. It’s a new church. It’s an old church. It’s formal and traditional. It’s fun and contemporary. The music is loud and catchy. The music is slow and hymnal. Just like with Goldilocks and the three bears, Goldilocks had to find the bed that was most comfortable and the porridge with the perfect temperature before she was satisfied. The three bears all had different preferences for what they liked, and Goldilocks was no different. People are just like that with churches. I’m sure most people consider the larger churches of the world to be “more successful” in terms of what people like, but that all depends on how you define “success”. I went to a church from the time I was eight until I was about 21, and the reason I left was not because it went from a medium-sized church to one of the largest churches in the country, but because it no longer felt as personal or relevant to me. It is a popular church for a reason though, and because of that reason, it has fulfilled a great number of people. When I switched to the church that I currently attend, I was dating my husband who had grown up going there. I found that as I visited more and more, it became obvious that the smaller, more traditional way of things were what I wanted. It doesn’t matter how your church does it and it doesn’t make it any more or any less holy the bigger or smaller that it is. My point? Every Christian needs a church that will fulfill them. The small one down the street or the large one around the corner might not work for Goldilocks, but yours might. Just keep God as the main focus and you will find “success” in your church.


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Shelby Systems’ Check-In feature has been a helpful tool for many churches and non-profit organizations for quite some time now. The reason it remains a success is because of the benefits it provides for its users. Check-In tracks attendance, which is a quick and efficient way to keep your member and visitor information updated and organized. If you haven’t had someone attend a service in a while, it is easy to find that information with your Check-In feature and reach out to that person. Using a touchscreen monitor, a bar-coded ID badge system, or kiosks to help you manage attendance, you are given a variety of options for how you want to count heads. The Christmas holiday just passed, but by tracking your attendance numbers year-round, you will be able to see what weekends were most successful and what is working (and what isn’t) in your church. The downside of high attendance is, of course, safety. A simple mistake can happen anywhere, but in a place like childcare, mistakes need to be minimal. Safety and peace of mind are extremely important when dealing with young children, so by implementing nursery security capabilities with receipts, labels and time-stamped records, you will know where your members and children are at all times. If you are already using Shelby’s Check-In, what do you think of it?

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A Lutheran school in Wisconsin has found a Bible under a stack of other books and pamphlets… and it is 340 years old! According to CNN’s Belief Blog, the Bible was published in Germany in 1670 and weighs 20 pounds. It is also partially made up of pig skin and includes many pictures from different Biblical stories. Our Bibles don’t tell a different story than they did 340 years ago, but let’s hope yours isn’t made of old pig skin (unless, of course, that’s your kind of thing)! What a cool find!

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ISC (the International Shelby Conference) is coming up in just a few short months! From June 15-17, ISC will be held in San Antonio, TX at the Hyatt Regency River Walk hotel. There you will be a able to speak to our Arena and Shelby trainers, hear knowledgeable guest speakers and join in on different sessions where you can learn more about Shelby Systems and our products. We have just launched our ISC 2011 website and would love for you to check it out! http://isc2011.shelbyinc.com/ Not registered yet? Don’t miss the early bird discounted price opportunity from now until February 14.

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As I was reading a blog the other day that I follow on my Reader, I came across a post that really stood out to me. Jarrod Cartee of churchcrunch.com had obviously written his post because this picture below had caught his attention as well. What does this look like to you? It is the M51 galaxy, also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy. When the Hubble Telescope took a picture of it in 2005, researchers noticed the formation in the middle of this galaxy. It is open to interpretation… but to me, it’s just another one of God’s signs reminding us of his constant presence.


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When you think of something that has been around a while, you can’t help but consider words like dependable, effective, and time-tested. On the flip side, newness brings innovation, advancement, and progress. Most often the new and the old don’t intersect, but when they do, tremendous things can happen. Consider reading A Tale of Two Cities in color on an iPad. You might say this combination of the old and new is too amazing to be true, and you would be right. But we think we can offer something just as good. SoChurch and Arena ChMS are partnering to bring together a time-tested and market-proven ChMS technology with a cutting edge communication tool for a combined solution that is sure to meet the needs of many churches SoChurch and Arena ChMS are working towards product integrations that will allow users to sync important member data, event information, and group affiliations between these two applications, providing greater value, simplicity, and clarity for church leaders and members alike. With our first integration point coming out in the first part of 2011, we will allow our customers to share member and event information between our two systems, greatly simplifying member, group, and event management. So, if you are currently an Arena ChMS customer in need of more forward-facing communication tools, signup for SoChurch today. If you are a SoChurch customer that needs more comprehensive church management software, check out Arena ChMS to see how it can meet your needs. And remember, we will be working hard to find more and more seamless integrations that provide value to the Church at large as we go.

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If you have noticed the strange black and white squares showing up on a lot of the ads and household products around you- and you have no idea what they are- I’ve got your answer for you. If you haven’t noticed… maybe you will now. And you’ll be ahead of the curve, since it is still a new idea to most people. Actually, these were created in 1994, but it seems like a lot of the world is still unfamiliar. That’s my take at least. Here is my best explanation… These squares (as pictured) are called QR codes. A QR code stands for Quick Response… and it is actually a two-dimensional barcode. The information encoded in the QR code can be a URL or text and it can be read on your smartphone (or phone with a camera) or a QR scanner. If you want to read one from your phone, you simply get an app that can read the codes and hold your phone about six inches away from it. It will take you to the website that is embedded in the code. Short and sweet. I love the technologically advanced things that people create. Seems a lot like the new way to pay for something by using your phone. Smart AND dangerous since most of us have our phones glued to the palms of our hands…

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I recently read an article in “Mission” magazine entitled “Matt Carter and the Austin Stone Community Church“. It first caught my attention because I realized that this church is a friend of Shelby Systems and a user of our software. It intrigued me to write this post, however, because of the message within the article… Matt Carter is the founder and spiritual leader of the Austin Stone Community Church and he talks about the decision to build the church in a poorer neighborhood where he says, “We believe that God calls us to be more than a Christian country club for a few believers to come and hang out.” This statement stood out to me because, as a writer on a faith-based blog, I spend a lot of time following other faith-based blogs, and the comments sections can bring in a lot of faithless people. A lot of the non-believers are cynical about Christians and the way we portray ourselves in society. In my opinion, a lot of their ideas of Christian actions are true. Of course, I do not share their main “beliefs” with them, but many of their examples come from the mistakes that some Christians have made. Reading what Matt Carter had to say about Christianity and his mission for his church was reassuring, uplifting and interesting. Matt’s goal was to create a church where people will always feel welcomed and where they can be missionaries to those around them. In the interview with Matt, the writer of the article asked,
The Barna Group has given the statistic that 4 out of 10 people who don’t attend church do not attend because of negative experiences in the past with church people (i.e. legalism, judgment, lack of grace, hypocrisy, etc.). How are you discipling your people in becoming attractive for the gospel?
Matt’s answer? “This is simple: Jesus said when I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself. When a congregation exalts Jesus instead of themselves, they will be much more attractive to the world.” I had a great time reading this article and learning more about a church that we work with, and I admire the foundation that they are based on. Each church has its own idea about how to reach its community, and one idea is not any better than the next, but it was refreshing to read about one that is making such an impact in an area of Austin that was doubted so much in the beginning. After all, Jesus didn’t surround himself with the wealthy, but with those who needed Him the most.

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Maybe some of you think you are already doing great by following a blog and you are sick of hearing about the “new wave of social media” that is taking over the marketing world. My job is social media and blogging, and even I get sick of hearing about it. Being in elementary school when the internet took off and being the college student on Facebook (when only college students were allowed on Facebook), I really don’t know much else. With that being said, constantly reading about the statistics associated with social media and its effects can even wear me out. I love social media, but who wants to read every day about the effectiveness of Twitter and the statistics on how Facebook has skyrocketed in its 6 year existence? It’s true. Social media is huge and a lot of churches and non-profit organizations are jumping on board to connect with their congregations… and as it turns out, this information can be VERY important to your ministry. If you are part of a church that is still holding out on this idea, maybe this one fact will change your mind… Facebook. is. bigger. than. Google. Let that sink in for a minute… Think of all the times you have relied on Google or heard someone say, “Lets Google it.” Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is something I constantly use, too, but to realize that it was visited more in 2010 than was Google. Crazy. If this hasn’t convinced you of the huge opportunities that might be available to you on Facebook, I don’t know what will! Shelby Systems is a part of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and of course… we have our blog. We have seen a lot of great responses from these, and we think churches and non-profits could have the same (or possibly better) results. What do you think?