3 Things To Consider Before Investing In A Church Management Solution

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 7:50:00 AM Categories: Ministry & Technology
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Finding the right Church Management Software should be a decision that is never taken lightly. It’s a important because your ChMS (or CMS) will cost money, it will maintain all of your church’s most vital information, determine how you administer your data, track giving, and manage sign ups for church events. It will also determine who has access to data reports.  Whether you are looking at ChMS options for the first time or considering moving away from your current ChMS, the goal is to select the software that’s the right fit to meet your church’s unique needs. Having used several different church management systems myself, here are three tips to consider when comparing and choosing a ChMS.

·     Find Out If It’s User Friendly – Ask ministry colleagues who use or have used the products you’re considering about their experience. Then, take that feedback to determine which software is the most user friendly. A ChMS that is easy to operate is a product that is more likely to be used. Non-intuitive software just isn’t used as much, which is simply a waste of money for your church.

·     Watch Out For Hidden Costs – Again, ask your ministry friends if they have experienced any unforeseen expenses with their ChMS.  Be sure to watch out for those ChMS products that have basic packages lacking many advanced features because in most situations you have to upgrade to access advanced features. Some ChMS companies offer training for their products, but that training also costs extra.  The best church management software products are those with no surprise costs.

·     Choose A Company Who Protects YOUR Interests First – In today’s marketplace and economy, it’s vital to discern between service providers who put themselves first and those that put the client first. Companies who put on the “hard sell” and require long-term contracts with early cancellation fees are looking out only for their own interests

Take my dad for example.  He’s been a self-employed appliance repairman for over 45 years.  When he was younger he would tell people, “I’ll come to your house and diagnose your appliance for $49. If you have me do your repair, that $49 will be waived.  I’ll only charge for labor and parts.”  While it sounded good, he was actually protecting his interests.  He felt like he needed to be paid every time he set foot in a client’s home.

Now that he’s in his 80’s, he has a totally different approach. He now tells his customers, “Let me diagnose it for you over the phone for free.  If you want me to make the repair, then I’ll come do it.”  So often he tells potential customers how to fix the problem themselves without setting foot in their home.  People adore him for taking this approach because he’s putting the interests of others before his own.  In doing so, he has loyal customers for life.  He says to me frequently, “I wish I’d always done business this way.”

Let’s apply this philosophy ChMS.  A company who offers their products and services with no contracts and no cancellation fees is saying, “We are so confident that you will be happy that we are not afraid to lose you.”  Companies who sell hard and cover their interests on the back end are saying something like, “We are not confident that you’ll be happy, and we are afraid to lose your business.”

To be totally honest, my church uses Churchteams for our church management software needs, and we are one of their happiest clients. There are also other great ChMS companies out there with raving fans.  The bottom line is for your church to find the ChMS product that best meets your needs both now and moving forward. 

What comparison tips would you add to the list?

Alan Danielson is the Senior Pastor of New Life Bible Church in Norman, Oklahoma. Previously he served as Central Team Leader for LifeGroups at LifeChurch.tv in Edmond, OK, where he led over a thousand small groups on LifeChurch’s thirteen campuses in six different states. He then founded 3Threat.net to help leaders master three essential leadership skills: vision-casting, creating strategy and fostering relationships. Alan is a popular conference speaker and consults regularly with ministries and leaders on topics relating to small groups and leadership. Learn more from Alan at 3Threat.net.