Getting Started with Realm

An online and printable getting started guide for Realm.

With a little planning and strategy, Realm can become the central source of information about your ministry, as well as an indispensable tool for getting a look across all of your data, communicating with volunteers and staff, and congregants, tracking progress on complex projects or spiritual growth and discipleship pathways, managing events, launching giving campaigns, and accessing the reporting you need for understanding the health and vitality of your ministry.

Before you begin customizing your Realm site, we recommend you take the Realm Essentials course located in MinistrySmart. In Realm, click the MinistrySmart icon, then click the Getting Started menu. After you and your ministry team decide what kind of data will be helpful to track, this guide can help you identify and locate the most common setup options (aka system settings) shown here:

  • People Profiles - Your church community and your mission field is filled with people. So the information you track is important for communicating with them, ministering to them and their families, putting together teams of volunteers and identifying the right skills in the church when urgently needed. Each person's profile tracks the most common information, such as contact information, communication preferences, and more. But you can also create custom fields to track information we didn't think of.

  • Family Connections - In addition to keeping information about individuals, managing family relationships is key to making connections. While we pre-load the most common family positions such as spouse, son or daughter, you can add additional relationships (grandparent, aunt, foster mom, etc) under Family Positions.

  • Event Locations - Adding your most common meeting locations, such as "Creekside Fellowship Hall", "Room 1A", or "Preschool Pod" makes scheduling easier and event communication consistent.

  • Ministry Areas - For reporting purposes, Realm organizes groups under ministry areas, larger categories that are usually fairly defined in your church or parish. Examples of ministry areas are Worship, Adult Education, or Cradle to College Ministry.

  • Group Types - Depending on the number of groups you manage, you may want to create a pre-defined list of "group types" that can be applied to each group. For example, a team to serve inner-city breakfast every Saturday, the Haiti Relief team, and the high school summer mission trip may share a group type of "Missions".

  • Sacraments/Ordinances - Customize your language and descriptions for sacred rites, ceremonial significance, or other milestones to reflect your polity or doctrine.

  • Content in Automated Emails - Realm sends out a number emails automatically, like when you invite someone to sign up, cancel a group event, and so on. You can rewrite many of these to include your own messages

  • Customize your Website to Help People find Realm - Add a sign in or sign up link to your website, and learn how to add a search box to your website that allows people to search your online directory.

  • Note, Event, and Pathway Tags- Create labels or tags to help filter and notes, pathways, and events, making them easier to find.