Getting Started with Google.

Google has a great number of tools that churches can use to leverage their effectiveness in communicating internally and externally to their communities.  We used Google for pretty much everything. These tools allowed us to collaborate as a church staff during the week in a way that allowed us to maximize our time, energy an resources. We want to share with you some tips on getting started with Google for your church.

How We Got Started:

1. Our Lead Pastor created a Google account for our church that he was the ultimate owner of and would be able to create the key documents.(Creating an account for the church versus an account under just the pastor would make staffing transitions easier when the time came.)

2. Once our account was created, he began creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets, forms and calendars with the appropriate staff and assigned us privileges to view and/or edit as needed.

3. We added content.

 How Can Your Church Start Using This Today?

Google Docs

Google Docs was a great tool for us. They’re free (free is good!), they are stored in the cloud (access anywhere!), and they offer collaboration tools. Plus, you can share (sharing is caring!) documents with others both privately and publicly.

  • Create shared folders for different ministries within your church. Doing this will allow any new documents to be automagically shared with your teams.
  • Share important internal documents like systems, job descriptions, safe church policies, weekly evaluations, sermon outlines and style guides. (We were able to keep these constantly changing documents current without having to print and/or distribute out updated versions.)

Google Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets work pretty much like Excel (Microsoft) or Numbers (Apple), but are stored in the cloud and allow for multiple collaborators.

  • Organize  and sort data from connection cards, first-time guest cards, surveys etc. Since you can have multiple collaborators, this will allow them to view and edit the spreadsheet. (There is a notifications feature that is great and will email you with updates and/or a daily summary).

Google Forms

This can give your church the ability to receive data from a form and it will put into a spreadsheet for you.

  • Event Registration – We used this for any event that was free. (Google doesn’t accept payments so if you have an event that requires payment, Wufoo.com is a great tool for this as well).
  • On-Site Registration – Whenever we had an event where people could register the day of, we used Google Forms at the registration table. This saved us from the headache of trying to figure out whether someone wrote “Ameliya” or “Amethyst” (yes, this did happen at a Fall Festival event once.)
  • Communications Requests – Use this for staff to fill out for any communications/marketing needs.
  • Spending Report – Our Executive Pastor used Google Forms as an Employee Spending Report for sometime. Basically, anytime any of us spent money for our area of ministry – we filled out a short form with our name, how the money was spent (card, check, cash) how much was spent, and the name of the vendor used. This helped him keep a better tab on our budgets during the holiday season.

Google Calendar

This is an incredible tool that can keep your church calendar organized and make it easier to publish to your website and calendars. You can create as many as you want to but be weary not to make it too complicated. Keep it simple.

  • Internal Calendar – Create a private calendar to share with all the staff. We used this for staff and key volunteers to communicate about any internal events. We mainly used this for sermon planning, staff meetings, facilities use, staff calendars/vacations and committee meetings.
  • External Calendar – This can be a calendar shared publicly but should be only edited by the communications department leaders.  You can use this to share worship service times and other church events.
  • Shared Calendars – We used this feature religiously (ha!) for our staff. We subscribed to each others’ calendars and were able to know and see staff schedules.

 

Google has a ton of great services and they are always pushing out new projects. Be warned though that Google also gives and takes away (Reader is now the new Feedly) so enjoy these great Google tools while you can!