Podcast Episode 38 - How the Rock team is like cycling
Status of updates
For everyone wondering, we just released 7.4 into beta, so it will be available very soon. This is a huge release! Read the release notes for all the details on the new items, but many churches are excited about the new Data Automation features (thanks to Grace Fellowship and NewSpring for funding this through Sparkability Group)
So to all you Beta testers: get going on 7.4 and let's get this tested and released! (And if you want to be a beta tester, let us know at the beta sign-up page). The Alpha phase of 7.4 went smoothly; there were a few bugs identified that have been fixed. Our goal is 2 weeks in beta, but we need to make sure that the beta gets really tested well, so help us make sure this gets pushed out to everyone by testing!
On to v8.0: we are working hard on getting this out next! It's coming along quite well. Listen to the last podcast if you missed it, for information on how we've split out what's in 8 from what's in 9. We are aiming to go to the Alpha testers in 4 weeks (mid June). We are "very, very close" to this update, and it's exciting!
We are also considering what features are going to be in version 9 presently, and will have more to share about those soon.
As most of you know,We have an existing partnership with SignNow - it's a great service, but it has some difficulties in use and implementation. In a future update (not version 8), we want to have a natively hosted digital signature field in Rock - no service necessary. This would work in Workflows, Registrations, and just about anywhere in Rock. At some point, we will even stop supporting the existing integrations, but we're going to do that at the right time so that if you're using them, you won't be caught by surprise. We'll be doing some of the back end work needed to support this in the v8 update, so you won't see it yet, but stay tuned for more details on this service.
Our speed is picking up. As we've hired new people, we're being able to turn out code even faster than before, and we really have a solid team with more people to come. So the updates are coming faster as well, and we're really excited by what is happening.
Community: To our Slack community- you are Rock stars! You have taken loads off of the core team that we'd otherwise have to devote to support. Rock is not a product- it's a community. And we love that our Master Class graduates are going back home and then taking it on themselves to help out in the community. It's easy to see a question that someone has and just wait for the "experts" to come along an answer it, but we've seen a lot of people overcome that fear and speak up this year, answering questions and helping other churches, and not worrying about the fact that we're all going to make mistakes! And helping others really also helps those people learn and cement your understanding as well, so keep it up and jump in whenever you can!
Going hand-in-hand with the growth of our team; as the community needs pick up, and the number of churches pick up (all of whom have their own development needs), we have to come up with a way to fund all of this. We love all the reports of churches who are beginning to support Spark financially, and trying to get to where you can support us. Thank you!
We are still at about 45% of churches who have reported that they are live on Rock supporting us financially though. We need that number to grow, because 45% of the users contributing is not a sustainable model. If your church has plans to support us and knows what that looks like, please let us know just so we can plan based on what will be coming in. Rock is a ministry- we built it in such a way that cost wouldn't be a hang-up to anyone, but that means that we need churches to support other church's use of Rock too. And many churches do go above and beyond their "recommended donation" levels, which helps support other churches as well, so we are so appreciative of these churches. Check out the list of supporting churches too.
If you've tried talking to your ministry leaders about supporting Rock, but they can't get their heads around Rock as a ministry, seriously consider bringing them to the Rock conference. When the whole community is in one place together, the ministry that is represented in Rock is so palpable and obvious. And this year's conference is a lot more than just using Rock- they're going to grow and be inspired as well, even as their eyes are opened to the possibilities that Rock brings them.
On the subject of the conference: we nearly have the same number of registrants as last year, already! This conference is going to be huge, with about triple the amount of content as last year. We can't wait to see you there!
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