Church IT

Reach 09 ver. 1.0

Today was the official kick-off day for Reach09. It started with a great keynote address by Eric Geiger, author of Simple Church. Previously I was not a fan of his book. I liked the concept and agreed with his conclusions, it just seemed like the book was too slow of a read. Seemed like a good pamphlet that was stretched out into a book. Granted, my favorite genre is classic Russian literature, so I am a little off. After hearing him speak, I am willing to give it another shot. Very dynamic speaker who hit on some very key paradigms that MUST shift within the church community if we are to be vibrant leaders once again. He talked a lot about the drift toward complexity and away from discipleship.
One of his points that resonated with me was that “if you personally can’t do everything you are asking your people to do, then you are asking too much. We should go to church, be involved in a small group (or whatever you call it), serve…but then be in the community with our neighbors. Be at the little league park. Be on the HOA board. Get out there and live life and be exposed to the rest of the world and let them be exposed to you.”
Another key part of his message was that discipleship is not something we “do” but it is the WHOLE PROCESS and anything that does not contribute to that process is causing us to drift off mission.
I can’t do it justice, but suffice it to say he was on point.

With the convention in full swing, all of the products were out there and on demo. I’ll try to have a few more pictures tomorrow including the fingerSCAN checkin system. (Don’t say fingerPRINT, it’ll make your members think of George Orwell. Say fingerSCAN and it is less scary.) The nice thing about the finger scanner is the odds of someone leaving their fingers behind are slim. It is also faster than a bar code or number look-up. No need to pull a card out of your wallet, etc.

The big hit of the day came from R&D. Who else? They unveiled their new Facebook app as well as a host of other projects that are either just completed or near completion.
What this app does is take your current online member database-AccessACS and bring the interface directly into the Facebook iFrame. It looks a little like this:

Yes, that is right. You are infact seeing tabs for your church directory, your church member profile and your groups right in Facebook. This picture shows the view when the “groups” tab is selected.
It pulls the information straight out of AccessACS. Oh, and see that little ‘mark attendance’ link? Yep, if you have the correct permissions within AccessACS, you can mark attendance for your small group right within Facebook, which will send it to AccessACS, which will send it to the church office. All automatically based on your login. Once you do the initial set-up, when you log into your Facebook account, you are logged into your AccessACS account.
Browsing Facebook and need a member number? That is what the Church Directory tab is for. Again, all based on security profiles.
Change your email address or cell phone? Make the edit under “My Profile” and it pushes back to the church office.
It is a “working beta”. There are no technological limitations at this point. There are some final details to work out with Facebook’s terms of service (go figure).
There is more customization coming as well.
Those of you who have issues with creation of “Christian Ghettos” have got to love this. This was born out of someone saying “As the body of Christ, we need to go where the current is. And the current current is Facebook.”
And all this time you’ve been “throwing sheep”.

I didn’t have time to check out the integration with Unifyer or some of the new features in Broadcast-digital signage pulling information dynamically from your church calendar. Hopefully tomorrow.

Follow the twitter hashtag #reach09 for all the latest up to the minute news.


2 thoughts on “Reach 09 ver. 1.0

    • Hey Josh,
      This is just a duplicate of the email I sent. Shoot an email to keith.thompson “at”acstechnologies”dot”com and he will be happy to talk about it and the plans for the future.
      I am sure there will be some more official news shortly.

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