This article walks you through the steps to add and build your church's Response Teams through your church's Responder Sign-Up Form or by uploading pre-approved members directly from the Team Leader's dashboard.
Church Leaders: Primary Point Person, Team Leaders
Included in This Article
- Adding a New Response Team
- Adding Pre-Approved Response Team Members One by One
- Upload a List of Pre-Approved Response Team Members
- Have Response Team Members Sign-up Themselves
- Updating Your Response Team Settings
- Managing Your Response Teams
Adding a New Response Team
- Your church's Primary Point Person or any other Church Leader can add a new team by going to the Response Teams tab and clicking the button to add a new team
- Enter the following information about the new Response Team:
- Team Name (displayed publicly)
- A Physical Address (determines which requests to alert this team about)
Note: This is helpful if you'd like to create additional teams for small groups from your church that want to see requests that are closer to where they meet
- Team Leader (more leaders can be added later by clicking the Edit button next to the team name on the Response Team tab)
- When you click Save, the new team will be added in "Active" status, meaning the Team Leader will begin receiving request notifications. This means the team leader should be fully trained and approved for activation by a church leader prior to adding their Response Team.
- If the Team Leader you entered did not already have an active CarePortal account, an email will automatically be sent to them with the opportunity to set their password and access their Team Leader dashboard to manage their team's settings and responder list
Add Pre-Approved Response Team Members One by One
- Click the "Add Responder" button on your Responders tab (shown below)
- Fill out the form with the new responder's information. Be sure you:
- Have the correct Response Team selected
- Ensure the box for "System Email" is checked (emails related to individual requests)
- Check the box that you have received consent from this responder to add them
- Select which request tier the responder is interested in
(Connect with your local Network Leader to learn about these tiers)
- Click Save to add the new responder
Upload a List of Pre-Approved Response Team Members
- Click the "Upload List" button on your Responders tab (shown below)
- Download the Sample File provided in the pop-up window, which gives you the format needed by the CarePortal platform to successfully add your list. Remember: there is no limit to how many responders can be on a Response Team!
- Replace the sample responder information in this file with your list of responders, keeping the format of First Name, Last Name, Email Address, Phone Number
- Save the Sample File to your computer and then use the Choose File button (shown below) to select the responder list you saved
- Check the box to confirm you have consent from each of the responders on your list to add them to your Response Team
- Confirm which Response Team you'd like to add your list to (changes and reassignments can be made later from the Responders tab as well)
- Click the "Create Responders" button to add your list to your Response Team
Have Response Team Members Sign-up Themselves
There are multiple strategies and options to encourage your various church members to add themselves to a Response Team according to your church's approval settings:
Option 1: Responder Sign-Up Form
- Use your team's Responder Sign-up Form (included in your Custom Links on your Dashboard tab and also accessible through the button on your Response Team page)
- The link to your custom Responder Sign-up Form can be copied and used in many ways to allow members to fill out the simple, mobile-friendly form and add themselves to your Response Team:
- Have a tablet or laptop set up at your church that allows members to come by and sign-up
- Send a text invitation to your church members with the link
- Direct your church members to text a keyword such as "CarePortal" or your ministry name to a specific auto-reply service your church uses, and have the Responder Sign-up Form included in the reply so they can sign-up directly from their phones
Option 2: Guide Members to Respond to a Request and Select Your Church in the Sign-up Process
- In the process of responding to a request, CarePortal will direct new users to create an account, which includes the process of selecting their church (if applicable)
- When a new user identifies your church, they will be added to your Default Response Team according to your church settings
- Drive church members to your church or team's Public Page, which curates the most relevant, local requests in one place and provides the opportunity to respond. Public Page links are also found on the Dashboard tab of church leader dashboards.
Updating Your Response Team Settings
See this article to learn more about the options and settings that determine:
- How new responders are approved to join your response team
- Who those responders are connected with when they respond
- What kind of requests your team receives
- And more!
Managing Your Response Teams
Response Teams are the primary vehicles that churches have to create meaningful connections. Team Leaders have the incredible opportunity and responsibility to help prepare, train, and debrief their responders as they go to meet local needs together.
There is an incredible opportunity when new responders join a team or a completely new team is formed to learn best practices on creating meaningful connections. It is vital to always remember that the child is our why. CarePortal does not exist as a delivery tool, but rather as a facilitator tool to create and help sustain meaningful connections through the means of meeting tangible needs.
A Response Team's primary function is not to just meet physical (Tier 1 - Tangible) needs, it is also to create connections where relationships can be built from and where spiritual healing can take place.
Team Leaders can meet with their team to brief responders on a few things and answer a few questions:
- What request are we responding to?
- Where is the request?
- What can we expect as we respond to the request?
- How can we lead in our response with humility, gratitude, and servanthood?
- How can we see beyond the need to address spiritual needs, or other physical needs?
Response Teams are set up to help create discipleship within your church. That is, disciples who make disciples, who make disciples, and so forth!
In addition to briefing responders on what to expect it is also vital that Team Leaders take the time to understand and train their responders on best practices and mindsets to remember when out responding to a need. There is a seemingly endless list of training topics that are relevant to Response Teams, including:
- Meaningful Connection Best Practices
- Working with Agency Workers
- Discipleship & Evangelism
CarePortal has developed a recommended Response Team Training curriculum covering these topics that your network leader can facilitate for you and your teams. You're welcome to ask them about that and develop a plan to equip your team in this way.
Response Teams are truly at the front lines of the James 1:27 ministry, caring for the widows and orphans. As your team grows in these various areas (and the countless others you can dive into) you will likely be able to identify new leaders who can create another response team in order to diversify your church's reach into your community.
After a Response Team meets a need there is an opportunity to sit down with the team members to talk about what they just witnessed. Some needs are very straightforward and could require little debrief time, while others can be very weighty and difficult to understand. It is important to help team members process what they are feeling as well as what they experienced.
Taking time to process through some prepared debrief questions can also be a place where you discuss how you and your team can further your support of the family that was just helped, if appropriate. This time is also a great space to talk about the impact and to gather stories. Storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to help create momentum, cast vision, and pull others into the mission of serving vulnerable children and families.