Transforming congregational care: alternative CRM uses with Jessie Pendergrass

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In March 2020, Jessie Pendergrass assumed the role of family pastor at a vibrant community church, ready to foster connections and provide support to the 250-300 members in his congregation. Little did he know that the challenges of a global pandemic and a change in leadership would lead him to discover an innovative use for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software -- or as he calls it: a Congregation Relational Manager!

Navigating Uncharted Waters

Shortly after joining the church, lockdown measures were put in place, and Jessie found himself thrust into the role of interim primary pastor for a year. With increased responsibilities and the need to maintain a sense of community within the congregation, he faced the daunting task of ensuring that no member's needs fell through the cracks.

The Challenge

Jessie recognized the importance of effective communication and personalized care, especially during challenging times. "I didn't want anything to fall through the cracks – when someone called in, I didn't want to forget what they said," Jessie shared.

Solution? Use a CRM

Enter Less Annoying CRM, a tool that turned out to be more than just a business management solution. Jessie previously used LACRM while working at a HVAC sales company and was familiar with how to use a CRM to manage sales and lead relationships. But as he brainstormed ways to improve his relationship management with his community, he realized he could use LACRM in more ways than one.

With that in mind, Jessie repurposed the CRM to meticulously manage his relationships with the congregation, turning it into a "Congregational Relationship Management" system.

Managing personal relationships

As a pastor, knowing when a member of his congregation was seeking care at a hospital was important to Jessie. He always makes it a point to stop by the hospital for personal visits and prayers so it was crucial that he didn’t let any of them slip through the cracks.

One unique aspect of Jessie's approach was to use the CRM's pipeline feature to track these hospital visits. He added specific fields to record details about hospitalizations, such as the hospital name and the reason for admission. This lets him know when the best time to visit someone is, and allows him to make every visit personal and meaningful. 

Additionally, Jessie used the CRM to keep detailed notes about conversations with congregation members and the status of their visits. Questions like "How is Jenny doing?" and "Have you talked with Sam recently?" could be confidently answered just by launching the CRM on his phone.

Furthermore, because he had imported the church directory into his LACRM account, Jessie had a comprehensive overview of each person's connections – spouse, son-in-law, and other vital relationships. "I could pray for him intelligently," Jessie explained, highlighting how this feature allowed him to deepen his understanding of the congregation's dynamics.

Achieving peace of mind

The CRM took the worry out of Jessie's pastoral duties. "I have peace of mind without having to worry about sharing information," he emphasized. The organized structure of the CRM ensured that follow-ups were in place, preventing anyone from feeling overlooked or thinking their pastor was too busy to care. "My CRM took the worry from me and I didn’t have to carry it around."

We often categorize the software we use for our businesses as simply just that: business software. But by doing so, we forget that these are actually tools that can be used for any part of your life. A CRM can become a powerful ally in fostering connections, and chatting with Jessie reminds us that we can adapt any tool to fit whatever needs we have, not just what they were originally designed for.

Plenty of people use LACRM to manage their personal relationships, job applications, and even house hunting journeys. If you think LACRM can be useful in some other aspect of your life but aren’t sure where to start, just contact us and we’d be happy to help!

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