The core objectives behind the design of the service are twofold:
- 100% of assignments are filled at every mass
- All ministers are content with the performance of the service
Our initial design of the service centered around these objectives and all enhancements made since then were done to further these objectives. As future developments are introduced, these goals will remain the driving force.
Read through the pages of this service description to learn how the service meets these goals.
Filling All Assignments
The goal to have all liturgical minister positions filled at every mass permeates the design of this service. At its core, this goal requires a schedule that reflects the desires and constraints of the parish's ministers. However, this core is insufficient because in the real world things change that require the schedule be adapted to the new emerging constraints. So, this service is designed to recognize this reality and to provide the features to facilitate evolving the schedule to the new requirements.
The initial schedule must be developed in a manner that merges the needs of the parish with the preferences and constraints of the ministers who serve. This service uses a proprietary multi-pass scheduling engine to develop the initial schedule for the parish. Whether ministers participate in multiple ministries, have scheduling constraints involving other ministers, or just cannot serve on certain days, the schedule produced will honor the ministers' choices.
Adapting to Change
When a conflict emerges that interferes with a scheduled assignment, this service will assist in finding a substitute minister to take the assignment. A parish can establish "substitute" ministries as a back-up for emerging conflicts. Ministers who prefer not to be scheduled to serve can enroll in these "substitute" ministries and be available to step in when the situation arises.
A minister who has a scheduling conflict can request assistance to find a substitute through the personal account dedicated to the minister. Available ministers in the ministry and the "substitute" ministry, if one has been established, are notified of the need for a substitute minister. Any of the notified ministers can volunteer to take the assignment by simply clicking a link.
Several weeks may pass between the time that the schedule is published and the time a minister is scheduled to serve. To refresh the memory of scheduled ministers, this service issues reminders the week that a minister is serving. The reminders are sent far enough in advance to allow time for finding substitutions when necessary.
Meeting Minister Needs
For ministers to be content with the performance of this service, it must meet their needs regardless of the role that they play in their ministry. Whether a minister serves at mass, leads a ministry or produces the liturgical schedule for the parish, it is important that the service is easy and convenient to use and produces the desired results.
Because MinisterScheduling.com service is provided over the Internet, it is available anywhere that a minister has access to a computer with an Internet connection, or even from a Smart Phone equipped with an Internet browser. Plus, it is available virtually any time, day or night, giving the service unparalleled convenience.
A minister interacts with the service using simple form fields and button clicks to make operation of the service intuitive. In the event of questions, the labels of most fields are equipped with a "tip" that can be read by placing the mouse cursor over the label.
The layered structure of the service minimizes the effort required from any individual minister. Whether the minister serves at mass, leads a ministry, or creates the liturgical schedule for the parish, the effort required from that minister is minimized by the distributed maintenance of scheduling information. Each minister is provided with a personal password protected account which provides the means to enter information to be used in upcoming schedule preparation. Ministry leaders access a password protected account which provides a console for controlling the scheduling information for the ministry. Access to the parish administrator's console is provide through a dedicated password protected account established for this purpose. Through this console, the parish scheduler can control all of the high-level information needed for scheduling and actually produce the periodic schedules. Because of the three-level structure provided by the service, the workload to maintain the scheduling information is distributed and the effort required from each minister, regardless of role, is minimized.