Podcast Episode 46 - Version 8: It's alive!
Welcome back for this edition of the Rock Cast! Let's jump right in with what you've all been waiting to hear:
Rock version 8 is available now for Early Access! If you don't have access to version 8 yet, please check your Early Access
status. Version 8 will be generally available to all
churches 3 months from now. Remember that the Early Access program helps us make sure that everything is going well and is ready for absolutely everyone to install (even those people we don't even know are running Rock), and also as a "thank you" to churches who support us financially.
What a procpess version 8's release was though! There were some huge changes in version 8, even down to data views and caching, so there was a long list of things that COULD have broken. We all owe so much to our Alpha and Beta testers- they found some issues during testing that we were able to fix before this point, which is really great. Now, a word to our Beta testers: have you considered becoming an Alpha tester? This is a really important phase of testing because once we hit Beta, we don't change code to fix issues. So we'd really like the Alpha team to be bigger than the Beta team, so that we can fix any issues you spot BEFORE it even hits beta.
In other news:
This last week, in addition to getting version 8 released, there were also two Master Classes this week- one small-format class at our Spark Global Headquarters in Phoenix, and another large-format class put on by BEMA. So there are a lot of new Master Class Grads hitting Slack and ready to help churches out. And right on the heels of this class, we've got another small-format class coming up in November, so look around your church and see if some of your colleagues would benefit from attending a class like this. (And if you need even more motivation, remember that November is a REALLY great time to come and visit Phoenix).
While we're on the subject, there's another way to be recognized, influential and helpful in the community - become a Rock Star! In August at RX2018, we were on stage and congratulating our new Rock Star inductees (which have almost doubled since last year). But we want to start talking about Rock Stars more than just once a year at the conference. Here's what you need to know about becoming a Rock Star: sure, we look at objective measures like Points in chat, answers you've provided in the Q&A, and even pull requests you've made sometimes, but being a Rock Star is really about getting out of your comfort zone and just SHARING
. You don't have all of the answers- but you do already
have some answers. So: answer questions. Post ideas on shouldertheboulder.com
. Just realize that you have some knowledge that not everyone else does, and look for people who can benefit from that information. Think back to your last pain point and what you learned to get through it - and share those items so others can get through that same issue! Rock Stars are not a community of really technical people- we really need every type of contributor for Rock Stars. Maybe you have experience and information on financial processes, or privacy - the community will definitely benefit from that knowledge too! Slack is a friendly pool- jump in with both feet!
To everyone already in the pool: be sure we keep the pool friendly! Encourage people when they share content and tell them how much you appreciate what they did.
OK, so now that version 8 is out, that means ... version 9 is already well in progress. We talked at the conference about what the major features are going to be- go back and review that video if you'd like. The Assets feature is nearly complete, and we're polishing it and expanding it just a little bit more. It's going to let you connect in external file storage providers and link directly in from them- it's similar to File Types but much more powerful.
Content Components are also complete now- remember that's the marriage of an HTML block and the Content Channel View block. This turned out really well and very quickly, so we're excited to let you get your hands on it.
And of course we're working with Greg and his team at Healthy Growing Leaders to get more assessments added to Rock, coming in version 9. Even DISC is getting some polish you'll love. The Spiritual Gifts assessment is being actively implemented right now. The three other assessments that are in process are: Conflict Profile, Emotional Quotient, and Motivators. And we're being able to use the Rock community to help them test and implement these assessments- this is having effects that will be felt by the wider church, so we love being able to help them that way also. As we work with Greg and Healthy Growing Leaders, it's been really encouraging to see that their hearts really match those of the Rock community, and we've even been working on the next generation of assessments that will come after these five.
Another item we talked about at the community was building the pool of technical people serving the Church. We've been working with Liberty University- we're going to be advising them on their capstone project. We were really excited to get to meet with them for the first time this week and we were really impressed with them. We're also going to travel out there later this year for a career fair that we're going to be able to use to place people in the community in a great way. And while we are interested in being able to recruit from this pool, we're really doing it to be able to help the entire Rock community- we're trying to raise up a pool of people who will have the skill sets and be invested in working with churches. With all of this development we're working on building, we've also created an interest list for churches who are actively seeking technical workers, so we can help start to make some of those connection. Find that list here
We are excited to be able to share that our funding level has moved up a few percentage points; about 49% of churches using Rock today are supporting us financially. Obviously there's some room for growth there, but it's great that churches have been stepping up, even very recently, and allowing us to devote more and more resources to Core development. If you haven't pledged yet, please let us know if you have any plans for supporting us by going to https://www.rockrms.com/pledge. Remember, we operate like you do: you don't charge people to come in your doors and we don't charge churches to use Rock. But like you, our mission can be limited - or expanded - by the generosity of the people who do come.
You are the voice for Rock in your church- so remember as you're having conversations about coming features, or about moving onto Rock for the first time, your executives will be listening for "How much does Rock cost"? And yes, we make it accessible to every church who asks, but we ask that any church that can afford it will aim for our recommended level of $1.50 per average weekend attendee, per year. So for a church of 1,000 that would be $1,500 per year.
Rock Partners provide crucial support for Spark Development Network, and important services for the community. A special "Thank You" goes out to the following partners who sponsored today's episode:
FrontPorch is the provider of Wi-Fi presence tracking in Rock.
Healthy Growing Leaders:
Healthy Growing Leaders are the creators of the new True Wiring assessment package