Christ the King Parish uses technology to scale discipleship efforts

Christ the King partners with Mission Pathways to extend the reach of parish programs and accelerate parish growth during COVID-19 pandemic.

About Christ the King Parish

Christ the King (CTK) is a personal parish of the Diocese of Lansing, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since they are not bound by geography, membership is open to anyone who wishes to join. With just over 850 households strong and 21 staff members, their unique focus is to invite Catholics into a more profound experience of the Holy Spirit.

“We exist to joyfully worship God and raise up Spirit-filled disciples.”

Transitioning to the “new normal”

In 2021, Christ the King celebrates their 40th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of their church dedication. The parish has discerned that the focus of the year must be fellowship with building back community, making sure people know “you belong here.”

A focus on mission

A large number of intentional disciples are blessed to call CTK their parish home. Born out of an abundance of faith and zeal to share the Gospel in 1981, the parish realized that they had lost some of their initial fire several years ago.

It would have been easy to focus on the beautiful work being done through the parish. But, instead, parishioners and staff took an honest look at where they were headed and decided it was time for a change.

In many ways, it seemed like everything was going well. The parish had created a Discipleship Pathway to intentionally invite parishioners and guests deeper into relationship with Jesus Christ. The supporting events and groups were up and running. However, their tools felt woefully inadequate.

Together they formed a Senior Leadership Team led by their pastor Father Ed Fride, and the parish began the intentional shift from maintenance-mode to mission-mode.

An Intentional Shift

The disconnect

Google Forms and Sign-Up Genius handled registrations – disconnected from CTK’s ParishSOFT church management system.

Excel spreadsheets were the source of participant and volunteer lists and logistical details. They were somewhat sufficient for managing moment-to-moment information. But, they were terrible for collaboration among staff and volunteers, quickly gathering communication lists, capturing at-a-glance event information, and gaining critical insight into parish offerings.

In addition to the administrative challenges of disconnected tools, it was hard to tell if the parish’s offerings were meeting the needs of their community – and fulfilling their primary mission to evangelize and form a parish of active, growing disciples.

The parish was looking for answers to questions like:

  • Are we reaching the same parishioners, or new guests?
  • Are people staying engaged and progressing between events and groups, or not?
  • How can we get to a place where people volunteer and lead out of their gifts and strengths?

The solution

After meeting Mission Pathways, the parish says making the switch was easy, “There isn’t another tool like it out there.”

Tasks that were once cumbersome have become simple. Godfrey recalls, “Recently someone asked me for an event registration link, profusely apologizing that it was going to take me so much time. I could only laugh and reassure them, ‘I can have a registration link to you in 30 seconds!’ That’s the easiest part of my job; it’s no longer the process it was before.”

Christ the King uses Mission Suite to manage every aspect of their evangelization and discipleship offerings from Alpha and discipleship groups and retreats to RCIA and leadership training. Mission Suite handles all event logistics and communications. And it also answers critical questions about program effectiveness and reach.

“Since using Mission Suite,” Godfrey declares with relief, “we haven’t had to use another database!”

The solution

After meeting Mission Pathways, the parish says making the switch was easy, “There isn’t another tool like it out there.”

Tasks that were once cumbersome have become simple. Godfrey recalls, “Recently someone asked me for an event registration link, profusely apologizing that it was going to take me so much time. I could only laugh and reassure them, ‘I can have a registration link to you in 30 seconds!’ That’s the easiest part of my job; it’s no longer the process it was before.”

Christ the King uses Mission Suite to manage every aspect of their evangelization and discipleship offerings from Alpha and discipleship groups and retreats to RCIA and leadership training. Mission Suite handles all event logistics and communications. And it also answers critical questions about program effectiveness and reach.

“Since using Mission Suite,” Godfrey declares with relief, “we haven’t had to use another database!”

Mission Suite in action

The Find People feature gathered all their people data and made it actionable

Seamlessly hosting events and groups is essential. However, it is ultimately about creating a space for the personal transformation and spiritual growth of the individuals who attend. That is why Christ the King is relieved that Mission Suite helped them solve their “back door problem”, the phenomenon where a person attends an event, or a series of parish offerings, and then seems to drop off without explanation.

In the Mission Suite, the Find People feature enables parishes to identify who is active and inactive. In addition, as people participate, volunteer and lead, their respective Faith Journey is automatically being built, displaying both their current engagement and history of involvement.

Using their Mission Suite tools, CTK began reaching out to individuals who appeared to have fallen away. They found that, rather than having a negative experience or losing interest, people often stopped attending because they were experiencing personal hardship. When the parish reached out, it was a tangible reminder that they were not just a number, and Christ the King is there to support them.

Dashboards turned five years of data into meaningful metrics

Christ the King is also creative in utilizing Mission Suite for strategic planning.

Attentive to meeting the needs of their parish and the wider community, Godfrey decided to analyze the parish’s discipleship offerings over the past five years. The purpose? To answer the following questions:

  • What have we done? / What haven’t we done?
  • What are we currently doing?
  • What do we need to reach our community and meet our mission goals?
  • Based on our history and current offerings, where are we headed?

Mission Pathways helped Godfrey upload data from the last five years into her Mission Suite database, and the reflection proved tremendously fruitful. Using their Mission Suite tools and the insights gained, the parish can plan for the future more effectively. Based on what they have learned, Godfrey stated: “It [Mission Suite] is really going to allow me to grow our discipleship groups.”

Given the parish’s diligence and perseverance, it is not surprising that discipleship groups have grown since before the COVID-19 pandemic!  

Ongoing support

“With Mission Suite, parish staff feels they have been given the ability to “dream” about what a technology tool could do for ministry. “I’ve been so happy with Mission Suite!” says Godfrey, “It is intuitive, it works for us, and serves all our needs.”

In particular, CTK staff appreciate Mission Pathways’ attentiveness to the parish’s ideas and needs. “Every time I’ve asked for something, Mission Pathways has done it. Whenever I have an issue, you get back to me right away – even when I say it’s not urgent!” Godfrey added, “I honestly can’t think of anything you could do better at this point.”

I can have a registration link in 30 seconds! That’s the easiest part of my job; it’s no longer the process it was before.”

Aimée Godfrey, Director of Adult Discipleship

Let's work together

Mission Pathways was honored to partner with the dedicated and passionate staff of Christ the King Parish. Their forthright approach to organizational change, carefully considered evangelization and discipleship efforts, and whole-hearted approach to mission is truly an inspiration. Let’s see what we can do together with you!

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