Swerv starts with a few simple goals. I want to share those with you in this post to help you understand where it is going. Hopefully they are not only the goals of Swerv, but also the goals of your church.
It should also serve as a form of public accountability. As new features are considered and added they will be weighed against these goals. Hopefully you will find that with each update and change we get closer and closer to them.
1. Provide consistency
Trying to track songs in one Excel/Numbers/Google Spreadsheet, service info in another, CCLI usage in yet another, and musicians on a separate calendar is bound to have problems. There are too many points of failure and inevitably we make mistakes. The distractions that come from the mistakes we make are a disservice to our congregations. The disrupted flow, the unprepared people — these things add up and grab our attention instead of helping us to focus on Christ. Swerv aims to remove failure points by centralizing everything and taking care of the details for you.
No more forgetting to add something in every appropriate file — add it once and it’s saved everywhere it needs to be. When a song is added to a service, its usage is recorded for CCLI records, its notes from past reviews are readily available, and all the musicians involved in the service can clearly see what to expect. When a musician is added to a service no one needs to go and update calendars, it’s all handled automatically.
2. Get more out of reviews
If your church doesn’t currently have a formal review process, I would encourage you to start (we’ll have more posts on that in the future). Reviews are supposed to help us grow and make changes where necessary. However, they are often recorded in yet another document or on loose sheets of paper that are not easily recalled when looking back on past services. This makes it easy for important comments to get lost and changes that should take place never happen. Swerv aims to provide a unified review process where reviews can effect the changes they are meant to.
Swerv makes all service data available to you during a review. And because all the information is already in one location you can easily add notes directly to songs or other items to serve as reminders for future use. You can never misplace a review either because they are directly attached to services.
3. Greater transparency
The planning that we do for our services is not only useful for those directly involved in leading and preaching. It also serves to prepare our congregations to come together to worship God. When everyone knows what to expect in upcoming services they can pray more effectively for the preaching of God’s word and the gathering of his people. They can also read and study more effectively and prepare themselves to listen to the preaching of God’s word. It enables them to learn new songs before a service. Swerv aims to make it easier to provide details of upcoming services with your congregations.
Through an API Swerv allows you to integrate your service planning into your church’s website automatically. You will be able to publish details of upcoming services and series as soon as you have entered them in Swerv. Swerv will also make it easy to generate playlists of all songs used in a service to make it easier to share new songs with your congregation.
4. Reduce administrative time
Not all of our churches can afford to have administrators on staff. And those that can often have more work for them than they can accomplish. Compiling CCLI reports, emailing reminders, and updating service information on other sites could all be automated. It adds unnecessary strain to our administrators — or deacons, or whatever volunteer it falls to. Swerv aims to automate common tasks so that people can use their time more effectively.
Since Swerv already tracks all of your service data, CCLI reports can be compiled in seconds just by entering a date. Email reminders will be automatically generated and sent to people involved in upcoming services so they are ready for practice, or leading, or whatever their role is. And as mentioned above, the API will enable easy integration into your church’s website.
5. Refine our services
When we come together to worship, our focus should be on Christ. Anything that inhibits that is dross. I don’t intend for us to view services as a performance on a stage where each laser flash should be perfectly timed to the music and the sermon is exactly twenty minutes long. But I do want our churches to grow in how we glorify the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Swerv’s ultimate aim is to aid our churches in the worship of God — through better planning, through more effective reviews, through better communication, and through effective use of our time.