Most churches are using Church Management Software (ChMS or CMS). Some ChMS packages are robust while others are lacking. I’ve used ACS, FellowshipOne and Churchteams (this is the product our church now uses). Whatever Church Management Software you use, here are 6 functions I find indispensable:
- Online Small Group Search – Our church focuses heavily on discipleship in small groups so we love having a small group search available online 24/7. Having a search tool that updates continually makes it simple for people in your church to look for the group that’s right for them.
- Communication Tools – From the micro level (small groups) to the macro level (church wide) we use the communication tools in our church management software all the time. Having the ability to send out emails and text messages to specific, targeted groups in our church is incredible! Texting capability is especially helpful. We use this feature to send out texts about everything from student ministry activities, to special offerings, to tornado relief updates (our church is 3 miles from the Tornado that his Moore, Oklahoma in 2013). We even use texts to alert parents in church if their baby needs their attention.
- Online Giving – Since we’ve implemented a robust online giving plan in our church our cash flow has stabilized tremendously! We absolutely love online giving! People can give one time gifts online or even set up automatically recurring gifts. Recurring gifts are the ones that make cash flow projections much easier and allow us to create better budgets.
- Contribution Records – Our finance director is able to keep all giving records in one place. This makes it really easy for us to send out contribution statements. In fact it’s so easy that we send them quarterly, rather than annually. We email a statement and a pdf letter to each contributor. The letter reviews the great things that have happened in our church during the previous quarter and thanks the recipients for their generosity.
- Kids Ministry Check-In – It’s easy for us to maintain great children’s ministry records and to create a safer environment using computerized check in. We are just now starting to use tablets to check kids in as well. One week when our internet service crashed we had to use pen-and-paper check in. But later that day when we were online again, it was a simple matter of plugging in the data.
There are countless reasons to use Church Management Software, but these are just a few that I’m particularly fond of.