Setup Recommendations for Faith Formations

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If your church schedules faith formation sessions such as OCIA, you may want to consider adding these sessions into MSP to streamline scheduling. Adding your faith formation sessions into MSP has many benefits, including but not limited to:

  • prevents double-booking / over-scheduling for volunteers who serve in liturgical ministries and help with faith formation sessions
  • provides a smoother transition to serving in liturgical ministries for new church members, since they will already have volunteer profiles and be familiar with MSP
  • centralize communication and logistics organization for faith formation sessions by doing it all through MSP
  • automatic reminder messages for faith formation sessions
  • the ability to attach resources (USCCB readings, OCIA discussion topics, etc.) to sessions for easy access

Below are some tips to get you started with entering your faith formation sessions into MSP:

Step 1: Create faith formation ministries

Before adding the faith formation sessions themselves, we need to go to the Ministries pane in MSP and create the ministries for our faith formation sessions. The list of faith formation ministries will vary from church to church, so you may not use all of the ministries listed below -- or you may use more! Here is a list to get you started: 

  • Candidate / Catechumen
  • Catechist
  • Sponsor
  • Snack / Hospitality
  • Babysitter

When setting up your ministries, there are several optional settings you might want to use to assist in scheduling: 

Set up block scheduling for Catechists (optional)

If Catechists lead both the dismissal and gathering sessions for a given week, we can set up this ministry to be scheduled in one-week blocks. We can select this option for other faith formation ministries as well, if -- for example -- the Babysitters also serve at both the dismissal and the gathering sessions in a given week.

Make ministry private for Candidates (optional)

Since Candidates may not want their names appearing in schedules or bulletins, we can also make the Candidate ministry private to hide that information from volunteers who are not in the ministry. Candidates will still be able to see their own assignments, but volunteers in other ministries will not see those assignments. If desired, we can also make the Sponsor ministry (or any of the other faith formation ministries) private as well.

Schedule Candidate ministry as a choir (optional)

If we select "This ministry is a choir (schedule everyone together)" for the Candidate ministry, then MSP will automatically schedule every person who is qualified in the Candidate ministry at any service that uses this ministry.

This makes it easy to assign the Candidates to the weekly dismissal and gathering sessions in the next step -- when editing the service time, we simply select "Yes" next to the name of this ministry to indicate that it should be scheduled at this service:

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Selecting "Yes" will automatically assign all of the volunteers who are qualified Candidates to this service, and has the added benefit of preventing volunteers from submitting sub requests in this ministry (since it wouldn't make sense for a Candidate to "request a sub" if they were going to to miss a session).

Because the Sponsors will also be attending all of the dismissal and gathering sessions with their Candidate, we could also set up the Sponsor ministry as a choir and assign it to all of the same services.

Step 2: Create weekly services for dismissal and gathering sessions

Once your ministry is set up, the last step is to schedule the newly created ministries. In the Service Times pane, create one weekly service for your dismissal sessions and one for your gathering sessions. (If your church combines your gathering and dismissal sessions into one, you will only need to create one service.)

To add the dismissal and gathering sessions to a schedule that has already been created, be sure to follow along with our help article about adding new services to an existing schedule. If you will not be adding the faith formation sessions until you create your next schedule, simply specify the day and time of the service, add a description such as "Faith Formation Session", and specify the ministry requirements for the service.

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