Understanding Triggers and Actions

Two parts comprise a Ministry Workflow: Triggers and Actions. A trigger is an alert that is activated when a specific event takes place in your ChMS software. Create these triggers so that certain events automatically activate actions that you automate to occur ahead-of-time.

Trigger Types

There are six categories / types of triggers:  Giving,  PersonGroups (adding or removing a person from a group), Group Membership Duration (an individual belonging to a group for a period of time), Attendance, and Form Submission.

workflow trigger list

Action Types

There are seven types of associated actions that you can connect to triggers.

workflow actions

Email→ Email the person, their parent, their spouse, and / or their group leader.

Group→ Add | Remove the individual in a group.

Interaction→ Assign an interaction to the individual’s group leader and / or someone else.

Update Progress→ Update the person's progress through the workflow, so you can see how far along they are. It is likened to making a certain sequence of events as being 'True' as the workflow processes. This is a very helpful and key piece when stacking a number of Triggers and Actions together so a loop is not created.

Admin Message→ Post a notification message (you create the text) in the Messages list for administrators, which is accessible from the sidebar.

SMS (Text)→ SMS text the person, their parent, spouse, group leader, and / or other individuals.

Mailchimp→ This can update a Mailchimp audience by either adding or removing that member. This is best paired with the Group Add/Remove trigger. Find out more...

Present In Group→ This leverages forms and workflows being linked. There is a dedicated article around Forms for Online Attendance.



  • A person attends a new small group (attendance trigger), so the small groups leader is automatically assigned an interaction (interaction action) to call the new small group visitor.
  • An individual makes a gift greater than $100 to the Building Fund (giving trigger), so they are sent an email automatically (mass contact / email action) thanking them for their gift.
  • An individual is added to the Membership Prospects group (group add trigger), so the Membership Prospects group leader (the outreach pastor if you so choose) is assigned an interaction (interaction action) to call the new visitor to invite them to a membership preview luncheon.
  • An individual remains a member of the New Members group for 12 weeks (group membership duration trigger), so they are added to a special group (group add action) for the assimilation pastor to monitor and oversee. Perhaps the assimilation pastor then sends a mass email to this group of potential members, and then also calls each group member personally.

 View More Workflow Examples:

Can one workflow have multiple triggers or actions?

Yes! A workflow can have multiple triggers, multiple actions, or both.


Create a trigger for someone being added to the New Visitors group. This will trigger two actions: An email sent to the visitor and an interaction assigned to a pastor to call the visitor. The next trigger in the workflow is an attendance trigger: If an individual attends the Membership Preview group once in a period of one week, the Membership Preview group leader is assigned an interaction to call the individual who attended the class. 

See the Assimilate Visitors with Automated Follow-Ups workflow example above to see this in action.


Trigger Timeframes

Triggers and actions typically run around every 15 minutes, so be aware that triggers and actions do not occur instantaneously. Your account is monitored continuously so that triggers and actions are executed correctly and in a timely fashion. 

  • Attendance triggers → will run once a week if they are set for more than 6 days. Attendance workflows that are set for 6 days or less run daily. The time they run/fire is based on when the workflow was created. You can 'reset' the clock on this by manually running the trigger which will update the timestamp and the workflow will continue to run based on that date until it is manually run again.
    • Example: if you create a workflow on Monday at 10:00 am for attendance (trigger) that adds a person to a group (action), then the following Monday about 10:00 am, the attendance trigger will run and put any members with that attendance into the group.
  • Added to a Group → Runs periodically throughout the day.
  • Form Submission → Continuous
  • Giving and Pledge Creation → Continuous
  • Membership Duration → Continuous






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