Taking the pain out of establishing new youth leaders

Simply Youth Ministry ToolsPerhaps the must time-consuming administrative task at my previous church was keeping up with all the volunteer interviews, background checks, screenings, references, applications, who watched the child safety video, who still needed to watch it, and which forms were returned and which ones weren’t. It was crazy! And since organizing paperwork is not my strong suit, I totally wish Simply Youth Ministry Tools would’ve been available then.

They recently expanded their Tools system to include “Team” features, which not only streamlines and digitizes the whole screening process, but also includes training features.

Simply Youth Ministry Tools has a 30-day free trial, so I signed up and took it for a test drive. The following are my thoughts and observations as I played around with the various aspects of SYM Tools’ Team system.

Sign-up process

First I had to sign-up. The registration form was pretty straight-forward, although it was unclear why it asked for both an organization username and then another username and password. It was a bit confusing at first, but later I realized it’s because your account can have different users, but everyone on your account first needs to use the same organization login username along with their own unique username and password.

TEAM Features: What I Love

Simply Youth Ministry Tools - TeamThis is the Simply Youth Ministry Tool for managing your team of adult youth leaders.

  • You get your own URL branded for your ministry where you send potential volunteers to full out the application online. You can add your own welcome video, logo, customize what questions are asked, what info is gathered, and more. It’s really slick!
  • There are 12 training videos currently included, all by Kurt Johnston of Saddleback Church. You can assign videos to different volunteers and the system lets you know when they’ve completed watching the video. You can even upload your own videos (up to 100 MB in size) if you have your own screening, training, or introduction videos.
  • The system organizes your volunteer database very nicely, but it also lets you export it to Excel for other projects you might have.
  • To setup the background check system, you have to fill out a form for Shepherd’s Watch, the organization that runs the screenings, and fax it in. After it’s accepted and your account is enabled, the system makes it as easy as clicking a button to submit a volunteer’s info for a background check (provided the volunteer filled it out with the application URL you sent them).
  • The included Library of documents contains a lot of helpful information: what to look for in background checks when they’re returned, questions to ask their references, responding to a background check that has grounds for disqualification, interview questions to use with the volunteer, and a lot more.

TEAM Features: My Suggestions

  • Once I logged in, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I had no team members listed and wasn’t quite sure what to click on to get started. Then I noticed a little sub-navigation menu. I clicked “admin” and then started seeing instructional messages on how to get setup and started.
  • While I can add my own training videos for my leaders to go through, I’d love to be able to include other things in that same system, like content I write, surveys, announcements that need to be shared, or videos I find on YouTube.

TEAM Features: Summary

I love the Teams feature in SYM Tools! This has the potential to shorten the length of leader meetings, allow trainings to take place without having to align everyone’s schedules, ensures that every youth worker completes the screening process, keeps all your information in one place, and so much more. The training section is really helpful and is definitely ready for use. In the future, I’d love to see it’s features expanded to make it an absolute killer tool.

Check out SYM Tools and go through their 30-day free trial to test it out for yourself (no payment information is necessary to try it out).

[ Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored review, but, as always, these are still my honest thoughts and opinions about SYM Tools. ]

Posted on September 6, 2011

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