5 MORE Must-Have Church Management Software Features

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 7:50:00 AM Categories: Communication Leadership Membership/Assimilation Ministry & Technology
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Not long ago I wrote an article about 5 Indispensable Features for a Good Church Management System (CMS or ChMS for short).  In that article I mentioned the following 5 features:

  • Online Group Search
  • Communication Tools
  • Online Giving
  • Contribution Reports
  • & Children’s Ministry Check-In Software

There are other features, however, that are also incredibly valuable.  Here are 5 more features you should look for in a ChMS and the reasons these features are so important:

  1. Event Registration.  Churches hold and participate in lots of events.  Volunteer training, seminars, conferences, VBS, camps and mission trips are a few events that immediately come to mind. What kind of event sign-up procedures does your church currently use?  Bulletin inserts, clip boards, mail-outs, sign-up tables, and third party online forms (formsite.com, wufoo.com and formstack.com for example) are common in most churches.  While these tried and true systems have been used for a long time, there is a lot of work behind the scenes keeping all the sign-up data in order.  Most of these old methods for event registration require someone to manually enter data from one place to another in order to manage the process.  But what if your church management software could do all that for you?  A good ChMS product can!  My church uses Churchteams and we use it to create online registrations for any event.  Once people sign up online, it is automatically input into our church database.  Not only does this save us the work of manually inputting or transferring data, it allows us to look back at events and see who participated.
  2. Housed in the Cloud.  Many older ChMS products are housed locally on a computer in your church.  Such products can only be accessed on that one computer or on another computer directly connected through a local area network (LAN).  There’s just no reason for such a product in today’s technology rich culture.  When your ChMS is housed online, it can be accessed wirelessly on any mobile Internet-ready-device.  Easy access is a must in today’s marketplace.
  3. Assimilation/Discipleship Tracking.  Every church needs a good way to track who has taken steps and those who still need to take them.  For example, being able to track when someone attends a membership class, signs a membership covenant, joins a small group, volunteers to serve, and begins to tithe are all helpful bits of information to know.  With a quality ChMS, you will be able to know who has completed certain discipleship milestones in your congregation.  Tracking such information is very difficult with out the right kind of software.
  4. Volunteer Management.  Many churches use spreadsheets, calendars, and/or third-party scheduling software like Planning Center for volunteer management.  Why use other software or pay for other services to manage your volunteers when you’re already using a church management system?  Probably because you didn’t know your ChMS offers volunteer management options, or because your ChMS does not offer them.  Investigate your current ChMS and check any potential ChMS for volunteer scheduling and managing features.
  5. Feedback.  One of the greatest obstacles to good leadership is feedback.  In the case of software, I don’t mean giving people the chance to tell you what they didn’t like about last Sunday’s sermon.  Rather, I’m talking about reporting features that will help you lead better.  It’s helpful to know when someone started giving to your church for the first time or when they stopped giving for two months in-a-row.  It’s valuable to know whether you small groups are actually meeting and how often.  Wouldn’t you like to know if someone who has faithfully attended a Sunday School class suddenly stopped coming?  Feedback and reporting features in a good ChMS make it simple to learn lots of little details that help you lead your church better.

So those are five more features I thing every pastor and church leader will find vitally important as they use their church management systems.  What else 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 www.3Threat.net.