Pastor, you should be interacting with church members, attenders, and guests frequently since you are their shepherd. Shepherding comes in many forms: hospital visits, “checking in” phone calls, home visits, meetings in the office, texts and Facebook messages, lunches, coffee meetings, and others.
My question: do you record those interactions?
My encouragement: do it!
Why Record Shepherding Interactions?
- You will learn details about someone or their situation that will help you minister in the future to that person. It’s easy to forget unless you record it somewhere.
- In a more negative sense, you have a record in case you are ever challenged. Someone complains that you never visited with them–what do you do? Unless you have a record, it is your word against theirs and probably will not build much unity as you flesh it out. If you have a record, you can either say, actually, I did, or you can honestly say, you’re right, I didn’t. And then minister to that person accordingly.
How To Record Shepherding Interactions
I have found AirTable to be very helpful for this task and many others (maybe I’ll write about those later). If you have never used it, it is a web-based spreadsheet tool that is pretty simple to use, has accompanying apps, and is sharable with a team if needed.
I set up an AirTable with these headings: NAME, STAFF, DATE, INTERACTION TYPE, LOCATION, TIME, NOTES, ATTACHMENTS.
After an interaction, I record that information. Most of the headings are self-explanatory, but let me explain some:
- STAFF. If you have multiple staff members, elders, deacons, etc., who might have access to this table, then you can put each person’s name and select one or more who had the interaction. Bonus: AirTable has nice sorting options and you can save different “views.” So, you could save a view that makes it easy to see what interactions each staff member has had.
- INTERACTION TYPE. Phone call, contact from member, encouragement card, visit, meeting, text message, etc. All can be set up as options to choose from.
- NOTES: I record a simple summary of what was discussed or any important follow-up items so that I don’t forget…
- ATTACHMENTS. There might have been a picture or document pertaining to that interaction that you’ll want to remember.