Looking forward to 2016

Posted on November 12, 2015 by Jonathan Reinink

2015 has been a quiet year for Church Social. We haven't released any big new features. We haven't been active on social media. We haven't communicated on a regular basis. We've even been slow in responding to support emails. Some of you may be wondering where things are at. We understand that, and we apologize for the silence.

While it's no excuse for poor communication, behind the scenes it's actually been a busy year. This blog post will hopefully shed some light on where things are at, and improvements we plan to make moving forward.

Change in ownership

Church Social was started by Jonathan Reinink in 2009. It was an after-hours project for the first few years. In 2012 we welcomed Josh Sieders and Jason Bouwman to the project. With their assistance we were finally able to finish the product, market it, and start taking on new churches. Without their help, Church Social likely would never have materialized. It was at this time that Church Social was actually incorporated.

Skip forward a couple years to 2015, and we were faced with another challenge: the company needed more than after-hours attention. Our personal lives had become too busy. Between growing families, being office bearers, and running other businesses, little time was left over for Church Social. Something had to change. We decided it made the most sense for Jonathan to buy out the business, and to make it part of his regular day job.

So, for the first time, starting in 2016, Church Social will have regular-business-hours customer support and development one day a week. It may not sound like much, but this will be an enormous improvement.

New blog

To provide a "home base" for our communications moving forward, we've already added this new blog to our website. We plan to provide regular updates on software improvements and other Church Social related news. This is a key part of our effort to provide more consistent communications to you, our customers.

New mailing list

If you're interested in more "up to the minute" updates, we've also setup an email list. This will essentially be the same content the blog, but sent out via email. If you're interested in joining this mailing list, you can sign up here:

Improved support

As noted earlier, we haven't always been as reliable as we've wanted to be when it comes to responding to customer support emails in a timely manner. We again apologize to those of you who've had to wait days, or even weeks to hear back from us. Moving forward we've set an internal goal of responding to all emails within 48-hours. We realize how important customer service is, and are excited to improve in this area.

Finalize switch to WordPress

Some of you may remember that in 2014 we made the decision to drop our home-grown website builder in favour of WordPress hosting. Looking back on that decision, it was certainly the right one. The WordPress platform continues to grow, and it's estimated that approximately 25% of the Internet runs on it today. Further, this change allowed us to focus on where we really added value: our app.

While this was a positive change, it meant a lot of work for us. We had to convert our existing themes to WordPress themes, and then migrate all our existing customer websites to WordPress. Some of this work has happened, but there is still a lot more to do.

Our goal is to finish the WordPress changes by the end of 2015. If you're congregation is still using the old website builder, expect to hear from us on this sometime in December.

New features

Finally, the most exciting stuff, new features! Yes, we have new features planned for 2016. However, our short term focus is finalizing the WordPress transition. Once that is completed, we'll have time for development of new features. Honestly, we can't wait! Thank you all so much for your patience. We're looking forward to 2016.

—Jonathan Reinink