Frequently Asked Questions

Most questions are addressed in the setup and support section of the application and elsewhere on the website.  Here are some miscellaneous questions you might find helpful to review.  We also use our blog categories and our Facebook page including the notes section for written help with questions. Feel free to ask other questions on the Facebook wall or to email or call.

1. What is a web application and how is it different than desktop software?
2. Does Churchteams interact with or replace our current database?
3. Who can see contact and group information?
4. How do people use Churchteams to find a small group, class, event or project?
5. How do leaders set up a new small group?
6. How does Churchteams help with email communication?
7. How do leaders use Churchteams to recommend or find curriculum?
8. What type of reporting capabilities does Churchteams have?
9. How does Churchteams help with ministry coaching and small group leadership structures?
10. How do we integrate Churchteams into our website?
11. How do I set up Churchteams for use?
12. Can we re-customize and repopulate the tool and start over?
13. Do you make our data available to anyone else for any reason?
14. How do you get leaders to keep their information current??
15. What is the group generation process work?
16. How do we delete inactive or duplicate groups or members?
17. How do we turn on and use GrowthFinder?
18. Does Churchteams recognize relationships between individuals and families?
19. How do the mapping features work?
20. How do I keep monthly and annual records of our small group ministry?
21. How can we use Churchteams to track guests and prospects?
22. Why are there no user names, just passwords? What does that mean?
23. How does Churchteams request members to self-update their membership information?
24. How does the option for group level security (so leaders can only see their group) work?
25. How do I keep Churchteams emails from being placed in my spam/junk email folder?
26. What keeps Churchteams emails from being considered spam by other email hosts?
27. Do you have a recommended label printer and labels for check-in?
28. How do you see who has opted out of emails and change their status?
29. How do you align mailing labels so they fit on the sheet better?
30. How can we unlist members from the directory and other member level access lists?
31. Why does Churchteams not use check scanning for contribution data entry?
32. What is the best way to discover and merge duplicates?

1. What is an Internet application and how is it different than desktop software?
An Internet application is a new way of thinking about information and computers. Your desktop computer is no longer the central storage unit for your software program and information. It is now a doorway to your program and information. With Churchteams as your “IT Department” your program is always up-to-date and your information secure and accessible from anywhere in real time.

2. Does Churchteams interact with or replace our current database?
The Churchteams database can be used either as a full church management system or as a "module" to another database. If you choose the modular approach, begin by exporting basic information to Churchteams from your other database. Use emails generated by Churchteams when online changes are made to keep the main database updated. Periodically refresh Churchteams data with new people and new address information from your primary database. If you choose to use Churchteams as your full database, you can easily customize Churchteams to import the fields you want to import and either do it yourself with our import process or have us do it for you.

3. Who can see contact and group information?
Because of its customizability, you determine who can see what information and how much. There are multiple levels of security that enable greater or lesser access for guests, members, leaders, coaches, staff, check-in and administrators. There are even options within these levels that can be toggled on or off to increase or decrease information access. For more information on security, see our privacy policy.

4. How do people use Churchteams to find a small group, class, event or project?
Most churches set up a browse groups option on their website that allows people to preview groups and either email the leader or join a group. You will be able to see all the details of the group plus a picture, map and other links to more info about the group. After you create groups for them you can use the linkbuilder feature (customization features, then church website integration) to create links to any individual or set of groups, classes, events, teams or projects.

5. How do leaders set up a new small group?
We recommend bringing leaders together with their laptops and walking them through the setup process all at once. This introduces them to the tool, streamlines administration and creates readiness for using it. You can also set their groups up for them or give them the password and a link to login. They can intuitively follow the step by step instructions from the “Create a small group” link. For a printable and reproducable guideline on how to do this click here.

6. How does Churchteams help with email communication?
Small group leaders can use Churchteams meeting reports as communication to their entire group as well as to their coach or pastor. This is a convenient way for them to email prayer requests, snack schedules and review a meeting for members who may have missed. The ways to use this are limitless. Small Group Pastors or point persons should use the tool to email all their leaders or for that matter any member type at any time. Use this for reminders, administrative communication, or for passing on training tid-bits. The tool can even be used to email churchwide newsletters or last minute reminders or other communication. It does have opt out options for members. It also supports individual, group, or mass texting.

7. How do leaders use Churchteams to recommend or find curriculum?
Growthfinder is a built in, customizable discipleship assessment that includes resources. Once customized, the resources table is linked to the leader main menu for easy access. You can also create an associates page with Amazon or CBD or any other web app and link it to the leader main menu (customization features, then organization options). Many churches have a resource page for leaders as part of their website, you can make this a landing page once leaders complete their meeting reports (customization features, email reminders).

8. What type of reporting capabilities does Churchteams have?
For best view of these, see the Reports and Communication section of the Churchteams features and accessibility chart. This is also located in the right column on the Admin and IT page.

9. How does Churchteams help with ministry coaching and small group leadership structures?
Churchteams has 2 levels of leadership between the small group leader and the administrator. The Coach’s area allows leaders of small group leaders to see all their groups at once. From this area they can communicate with, track their interactions with, and get reports on their leaders and small groups. The Community Leaders Area is designed to do much the same thing for those who lead coaches. The default terms for these positions are coach and community leader, however, these terms can be customized by the administrator to fit a particular church’s language in Basic Settings, step #1. These levels are great for other ministry areas as well.

10. How do we integrate Churchteams into our website?
Basic Settings, Step #5 deals specifically with this question and leads you to the church website integration page which gives you many options for html code and links that can be used to integrate your database into your website. See the website integration page for examples.

11. What is involved in setting up Churchteams for use?
When you sign up for the 30 day free trial, your account is created. You will immediately get an email back with next step instructions. On the group admin main menu is a Basic Setting / Start Here link that takes you step by step through the setup process including embedded videos.

12. Can we re-customize and repopulate the tool and start over?
In some situations it makes sense for a church to completely re-customize and repopulate their Churchteams tool and database. To do this, simply email mark@churchteams.com for further instructions.

13. Do you make our data available to anyone else for any reason?
No, we do not sell, give or make available any of your information to anyone else. Your data belongs to you. See our privacy policy for more details.

14. How do you get leaders to keep their information current?
Small group leaders are the key to the ongoing successful usage of Churchteams and Churchteams. They are the ones responsible to keep the information updated on their small groups. How do we get already busy people to give time to updating this information? Here are some proven ideas:

  • Make it easily accessible. Give them a favorites or bookmark link that includes the password. Look under Customization Options, Security and accessibility for this link. Just email it to your group leaders and it will take them right to the Churchteams main menu. Note: one reason not to do this is to keep traffic flowing through your church’s website.
  • Encourage small group leaders to recruit a communication coordinator from the group to keep info up-to-date.
  • Use the small group meeting report form! This is huge. Use it to report attendance as well as communicate details like prayer requests to their small group via email. The email goes to everyone in the group, the coach and the small group administrator or director. Everyone benefits!
  • Get coaches involved to encourage their small group leaders and follow up with them.
  • Communicate with your small group leaders by email regularly with news, updates, reminders, training, stories and other ideas. This gets them used to e-managing small groups. (Use Churchteams as your email distribution list. It will be more up-to-date than any other type of distribution list).
  • Recruit an assistant (volunteer or paid) to keep regular attendance records using Churchteams as the reporting tool.
  • EMAIL REMINDER – The best way to get leaders to do meeting reports is by turning on the email reminder as the administrator (Customization Features – Security and Accessiblity) and for each applicable group (Group Information Page – Update Group Information). Churchteams will automatically send up to 3 email reminders over the next several days to group leaders asking them to fill out a meeting report and providing quick links to assist them in this. A 4th email reminder, if necessary, is emailed to the leader’s coach.
  • Use the leader training video on the setup and training videos playlist to help you train your leaders.

15. What is the group generation process work and how does it work?
Before the browse groups page, we used a matching system to suggest groups for people. We found people less willing to fill out a profile and be matched than simply giving them easy access to find groups based on the same variables. However, that feature is still in Churchteams. When this system is used, the group generation process takes all members in the database who are not in a group but have completed a Churchteams profile and matches them to a group based on the group’s profile and the individual’s profile. The logic used to match the groups is the same logic that is used to recommend groups to an individual who fills out a profile in Churchteams. The group generation process just takes the highest ranked match and assigns that member as a temporary group member. Temporary group members are only displayed as members of the group for the Churchteams administrator (other security levels only see permanent members) and are denoted with an * when the group members are viewed by the administrator. On the group info page members can be changed to permanent status if the administrator wants to assign them to that group. After the group generation is complete a report displays the members and what group they were placed in. The generation process also considers the group’s maximum size when looking at adding members and will not add more members than the maximum to a group even if the group is a good match for a person. It will then go to the second best group match and try to add the member to that group and so on. If there are no matches that at least meet the required criteria by the member will not be assigned to a group and this will be noted on the report.

16. How do we delete inactive or duplicate groups or members?
Only administrative level access can delete groups or members. Groups can be deleted from the “Browse Small Groups” page. Members can be deleted individually by selecting them from the “Browse Members" link and deleting them from their member information page. There are also options to “Delete multiple members” and "Members not in groups" on the "Browse Members" page.

17. How do we turn on and use GrowthFinder?
By default this customizable discipleship feature is turned off. When you are ready to use it, go to Customization Features, then click on Customize GrowthFinder. On the next page simply click the Disable GrowthFinder link. You can disable this feature in the exact same manner.

18. Does Churchteams recognize relationships between individuals/families?
Churchteams is built to recognize relationships between individuals based on their address or home phone number and last name You can also create, merge and delete these on either the member or family page.

19. How do the mapping features work?
Churchteams uses Google Maps premium to provide a wide variety of maps based on small group and member profiles. To view these at any level, select the browse groups option, then filter the groups and click on the map icon. You can also use member or groups reports to customize maps. The report initiates a new window with the appropriate map. Note: If a popup blocker is used then you may need to add www.churchteams.com to the allowable pop up list.

20. How do I keep monthly and annual records of our small group ministry?
When you enable and use the email reminders to capture attendance for you, Churchteams automatically tabulates that data and emails you a monthly key health indicator report. You download and save this spreadsheet for your ongoing reference. It includes all past history on monthly worksheets. Each monthly report gives you an 18 month summary and shows the relative consistency of each group. To fully understand the power of this process, we recommend a small group webinar.

21. How can we use Churchteams to track guests and prospects?
As Churchteams expanded to become a full church management system innovative ways for assimilation were developed using groups as pools that later became dashboards for tracking progress through individual notes and attributes. The church management webinar covers this in detail.

22. Why are there no user names, just passwords? What does that mean?
The passwords allow access according to function or level of responsibility. So, there is just one password for all the leaders, for instance. This makes it simple for them to login, but it does give them access to other group information. You can secure each group with a second password if you want (see the option to enable group level security under security and accessibility from customization features). However, we suggest starting with that feature disabled which is the default. Typically, once a leader has logged in and created his group, from that point on he will receive an email after the group meeting that has a link that will take him back to his own group page in order to update any information. i.e. Leaders will primarily interact with the tool using their email as a portal into the software rather than logging in directly. The simplicity of this model is the key to 90-100% of the leaders using the tool. Also, the email approach keeps leaders from accidentally interacting with another group’s information. The same is true of the coach level. By default at the member level, there is a second “individual” password required in order for a member to change or update personal information. We’ve learned that personal information is typically changed by a small group leader or staff rather than an individual, so this second password at the member level is rarely used. Rather individual members typically use the software to find a group using the normal non-password protected Churchteams process.

23. How does Churchteams request members to self-update their membership information? You can update your full database automatically by going to reports and communication, then member reports. On that page select “Send request for updated information”. You can further limit who the email goes to using the various options listed. However, at this time, it is recommended you update your full database at once. That will keep you from confusing dates and to whom you sent out a request for updated information. If you are sending the request a second or subsequent time, then go to “Other Options” and select a date range that ends on the day before you sent the first (2nd, 3rd, etc.) request to your members. If you do this on an annual or semi-annual basis, just keep those updated dates and the task on a calendar, then send out 3-5 reminders to catch those who don’t respond each time. Ex. If you designate January and July as database update months. Then each January, you send out emails on Jan 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 with date ranges from August 3 to January 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 respectively. Do the same each July 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 for February 3 to June 30, July 7, 14, 21 & 28 respectively. That way those who update in response to an email do not get pinged with another email. You’ll be able to customize the text of each email and it is recommended you reference it in your worship folder, announcements and/or newsletter so that people recognize it when it comes. To see who didn’t update their information, simply select “Member Listing” on the report page and then the appropriate dates. For 100% accuracy of your data, you can use this list to centralize the process and make phone calls.

24. How does the option for group level security (so leaders can only see their group) work?

If you enable group level security (under security and accessibility), then group leaders are given an initial password to secure their group. They then use this password to create their own. When enabled a leader can see everyone in a group, but only contact information for the leaders of other groups. When they click on any link they will be prompted for a password. There is also a link to login to the group. Once logged in through whichever means, then as long as that session is active, they will be able to work with their group. When they respond to their meeting report email, the tool takes them directly to their meeting report. If they respond that they need to update their group information, they will need to enter a password to change things just as above.

25. How do I keep Churchteams emails from being placed in my spam/junk email folder?

Click here for instructions on how to whitelist Churchteams emails in various email applications and services.

26. What keeps Churchteams emails from being considered spam by other email hosts?

Churchteams does a few things to deal with this problem. One example is we register our server IP addresses using Sender Policy Framework (SPF) to list what servers mail for churchteams.com can originate from. That way when other mail servers get email from Churchteams.com, they can check and make sure it came from an IP address that is registered for churchteams.com. This helps prevent spammers from sending forged emails that appear to come from churchteams.com.

27. Do you have a recommended label printer and labels for check-in?

Any label printer will work, but Dymo 450 labelwriter printer is a common one. Generally the Dymo Shipping/Name Badge labels (99014) which are about 4" x 2"or any label in that ballpark if you want to print typical information like parents names, room number and allergies. Some churches limit the data and use the smaller address labels (30572) which are about 3.5" x 1.125" but you have to keep the information on the label pretty basic vertically.

28. How do you see who has opted out of emails and change their status?

People can opt out of church email communications sent using our reports feature. To see who has done this, go to member reports and select member listing. Then in the "Limit report to" section select "Other options". You'll see an option there to identify people who've opted out over a date range. Select the date and run the report. The resulting list has each name hyperlinked so that you can go directly to their page to change their opt out status. If you know someone who has opted out, you can go to their member info page directly to change the status if they choose to opt in again.

29. How do you align mailing labels so they fit on the sheet better?

When you print through Churchteams, you are printing your labels through your browser. To align these, it's typically best to use Print Preview and adjust the margins and headers/footers as needed. Another helpful option depending on the label or printer and browser you are using is the "Scale to fit" or "Shrink to fit" options as you can adjust the overall size with those. Generally Internet Explorer and Firefox have the best printing support but other browsers are improving in that area as well.

30. How can we unlist members from the directory and other member level access lists?

For people in your church who need to remain anonymous at the member level for any reason, just go to their member information page and select yes for unlisted status. This will remove them from the online directory, the list of people to select from when they want to join a group/class/event or project, and any other member level access list of people. However, the pushout email for them to update their own information will still work. Their name will continue to show up in member lists when logged in at the leader level and higher.

31. Why does Churchteams not use check scanning for contribution data entry?

Check scanning does not have the ability to identify split designations since that information is not on the check in a format that can be scanned and so it must be manually designated significantly slowing down the end to end entry time for a transaction.  Churchteams uses fast searching technology to locate the contributor and remembers previous transactions providing a quick copy feature that includes split designations and other details about the contribution.  Additionally there is extra expense involved for hardware and maintenance of that hardware over time.  Finally, only workstations with a scanner can enter data, whereas with Churchteams contributions can be entered from any computer or location.  

32. What is the best way to discover and merge duplicates?

We suggest opening up two windows on your computer, in one window have a list of your members (member reports select member listing) so that you can scroll through and spot duplicates. In the other window have the member merge screen (member button, click merge). That way when you discover a duplicate in one window, you can immediately merge them in the other.