One of the tools that the Sojourn staff has recently found to aid in multi-site leadership is called Dropbox, a web-based file-sharing platform that allows you to share files and folders with multiple users and across multiple platforms (Apple, PC, iPhone, Blackberry, etc.). I recently used it to help in planning our baby dedication service. One folder contains the checklists, gift booklet design, service liturgy, and First Steps notes. I shared the folder with service pastors, First Steps class teachers, and Campus Kids Directors to aid them in planning. As files were updated, they automatically update for everyone who shares the folder. It's really an amazing tool:
Advantages over Google Docs:
- Allows you to do file sharing no matter the format of the file.
- The folder is in my Mac finder bar. I can access it and update the files anytime. I don't need an internet connection to access the file (though I need one for it to update the folder for other users / computers / phones)
How I use it:
- Sharing files with volunteer leaders who need common lessons, forms, handouts, checklists, schedules, and notes.
- Sharing files with staff leaders at others campuses who need common training documents, policy explanations, forms, checklists, etc.
- Sharing files with other children’s and family ministry leaders in our church planting network. I just shared our baby dedication materials with Daniel Davis at Covenant Community Church in Pearland, TX. They are planning their first baby dedication!
Disadvantages / Improvements Needed:
- Be careful because you give the folks that you share the documents with an ability to edit your documents. I'm hoping that Dropbox is working on a way to share read-only versions of folders.
- For obsessive folks that embed lots of subfolder categories in your primary folders, you should know that when you share a folder, embeded subfolders do not automatically share as well.
- Unlike Google docs, two people cannot edit at the same time without erasing one another's work. So, Sojourn is still using Google docs to update our weekly stats.