6 Rock Plugins We Can't Live Without

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6 Rock Plugins We Can't Live Without

As customizable as Rock is, eventually, you will come across a task that you want to do that Rock either doesn't do or you would need to use it in unorthodox ways to make it work. If you develop for Rock for very long, you will eventually think to yourself, "If I combine 5 pages, lava JavaScript, a financial transaction memo field, a transaction type, dynamic data blocks, and 2 workflows, I could …..". Before you go down that path, make sure you take a look at the Rock Shop for a plugin. Plugins are used to make rock do something it doesn't do out of the box or would be too complex to do with the tools readily available.

There are many terrific plugins available in the Rock Shop that help with administration, communication, and automation, but knowing where to start can be tough. We surveyed our team and here is a list of the plugins we install right away.

1. Lava Tester from Central Christian Church (AZ)

One of the things that makes Rock unique is the ability to combine data in your database and communications in email, text, and on your website. Lava is the language that makes this possible, among many other things. It takes time to figure out Lava, but once you do, its staggering what you can do. The Lava Tester plugin is the first plugin we install because it gives you a place to write and test your lava before you put it on a page, in an email, or in a workflow. Since you can use lava in so many places, the plugin allows you to pick a person, a group, a workflow, or an event registration to make sure your lava has the expected data.

2. Group Type Change Tool from Southeast Christian Church

You have created groups and assigned member roles, and you even followed the best practice of not creating a whole bunch of new Group Types. But now you realize your small group ministry is taking on a different shape. You want to easily organize and report on them add some attributes that you don't want to add to all the groups of the old type. That is where the Group Type Change tool shines. The group type change tool lets you select a Group Type, convert to a different Group Type, and map the member roles to the new Group Type member roles. What would have taken multiple, complex database commands, can now be accomplished from the Rock user interface - saving time and preventing mistakes.

3. Open Connections Digest from BEMA Information Technologies

You are leveraging Connection Requests to make sure that people don't fall through the cracks. You have them set up for when someone prays to accept Christ, volunteers to serve or you are making use of the new Connection Campaign feature to coordinate communication between staff and volunteers and church members. You are creating the right connection requests, but your staff and volunteers are not following up as quickly as you like. If that is the case, the Open Connections Digest is a helpful tool to send a summary email to people who have open connection requests assigned to them helping to ensure that the processes you have planned and built are carried out.

4. Pastoral Care from BEMA Information Technologies

One of the primary functions of the church is to care for and tend the people God has placed within the church. People get sick, go to the hospital, get transferred to Rehab centers, and maybe end up homebound. Making sure that people end up on the right list to receive the right care can be difficult, especially as you have more contact points letting your church know what is going on and how things are changing. The pastoral care plugin can help. Because there are different ways of doing ministry and a variety of pastoral care concerns you may want to track, you have the ability to create the care types(e.g., Hospitalization, Rehabilitation, Nursing Home, Home Bound, Communion Delivery, etc). The plugin comes with various reports and views to make sure that when someone from your church is providing care, they can take notes, record the care, and see who they may still need to contact.

5. Workflow Launcher from Southeast Christian Church

This is one tool that everyone on the team said they appreciated. There are times when you want to act on a list of people based on specific criteria, or in a specific group, or present in a data view. The workflow launcher has two parts. The first is a page where you can select a group, data view, or Registration instance and launch a workflow passing the entity. The second is a job that you can write a SQL query mapping the columns to the workflow attributes being sure to pass the value the attribute type expects. Without this plugin, you would have to launch the workflow and usually write a loop and a SQL query to loop through a list in the same workflow. Now you launch a workflow instance for each item in the list. Its actually hard to convey how much easier it is unless you've tried to loop a workflow without creating an infinite loop and crashing your server, but trust us, this plugin is great.

6. Data Toolkit from Blue Box Moon

Data Toolkit is another plugin that frequently used by the BEMA team. When building a data view, you can usually get the data you want in a single data view or by stacking 2 data views. However, there are times when the data views you want are not connected as you need them to be or become too complex to be useful. Data Toolkit, among other features, allows you to use SQL filter returning a list of people that can then be used as criteria in a data view and like all other data views be used to create reports. This makes complex queries significantly simpler or makes impossible queries possible. We would be remiss not to offer one caveat. Because you are running SQL, security is bypassed which means you need to be careful who you make these data views available to for view and edit.

These are just a sample of the plugins we use regularly when helping churches accomplish their mission in their context. There are so many other plugins we could mention, so we invite you to keep watch out for future articles where we review other plugins in-depth or list plugins themed by ministry areas.

Aug, 3 2020