Much prayer and preparation go into a church plant before it ever opens its doors. A secure location, volunteers to manage ministries, and the necessary technology are all important considerations. As church planters determine if they’re ready for a ChMS and which provider to choose, they should keep these eight items in mind:
1. Ease of Use
Church plants might only have one staff member to preach, clean, and pay the bills, so any tools like software should simplify tasks, not make them more challenging. An easy-to-use ChMS will cut down the workload for an overwhelmed staff and make administrative responsibilities more manageable.
Because church plants typically have limited staff, they heavily rely on volunteers to keep things running. Organizing volunteers for every ministry and event can be challenging, even for a church plant. A ChMS should provide simple tools for people to sign up for service opportunities and stay in the loop online.
3. First impressions
Church plants hope to see dozens of new faces each week as the congregation continues to grow. The experience for those visitors is critical. An efficient way of capturing their contact information and a simple, secure child check-system can make all the difference in that important first impression.
Part of growing the church plant is engaging the visitors and getting them to return and ultimately become active members of the church community. A swift follow-up is the first step in transitioning visitors into disciples, so tools that simplify that process are critical to a ChMS for church plants.
The assimilation process is often quicker with church plants, and they see a lot of people join within the first year or two. Those new members of the church community need simple ways to connect with a small group and find opportunities to volunteer. An online small group finder or ministry sign-up that’s integrated with the church database will help each person get plugged in.
Communication is always critical to the local church, but especially in the early stages of a church plant. That church needs to communicate with staff, volunteers, visitors, and members in addition to engaging the surrounding community. The ability to reach all these people in a variety of formats from a single platform—within a ChMS—will streamline communication.
During the first year of a church plant, contributions are critical to keeping the ministry alive. Integrated options like text to give, mobile giving, and online giving will make it easy for people to make donations and simplify contribution management.
Budgets are tight for church plants, so some believe that church management software is just a luxury for established churches. But starting off on the right—organized—foot is important and many ChMS providers will provide special pricing for church plants.
Is your church plant utilizing a ChMS as it grows?