Church Management Software?
A Complete Guide to ChMS
Churches can be small or large organizations with the goal of ministering to their congregation and communities.
As ministry happens and the church grows, there needs to be some sort of system in place to keep track of the visitors, members, volunteers, events, and finances.
It can be a daunting and complicated task to manage, and that's why most churches have an administratively gifted person (or multiple people) to oversee these operations. With such a wide array of people, finances, and activities to monitor and process, church management software (ChMS) is a helpful tool to increase efficiency and reserve more time for ministry.
Church management software is technology designed for the church, so church administrators, pastors, and staff can be well equipped with the necessary resources to engage their community and expand as the organization grows.
In this post, we'll answer your questions about what church management software is, what the benefits are, and the various integrations that make up a fully robust ChMS.
What is ChMS?
Church Management Software, or ChMS, is specialized technology specifically designed for churches and other ministry-based institutions to assist in streamlining the organization and optimization of daily operations, with integrations to help with membership databases, volunteer management, scheduling, reporting, events, finances, and communications.
It is a full-bodied software program that aims to support churches by encouraging collaboration and centralizing administrative tasks while tracking growth and building community.
History of Church Management Software
Originally, churches had to rely on complex organization systems that would be done by hand or typed and then compiled in some sort of structure. Church admins would have to decipher people's handwriting as they turned in their connection card. Then they would input that member's information into a filing cabinet or enter it into a word processor or excel spreadsheet.
The problem was that it took entirely too much time and it was difficult to find what people needed and to collaborate using this process. It was also challenging to send any communication to church members without using some sort of prayer telephone chain or taking hours to contact each person. Imagine doing that with the mega churches we have today? Even in smaller congregations this task would take precious time away from doing ministry.
When ChMS first arrived on the scene, it was mainly a data processing system to simplify mailing lists and other basic functions. Today, church management software is a powerful, web-based tool to help churches track, manage, and organize visitors, members, volunteers, small groups, finances, and more, including mass communication. With integrated functionality, all the back-end administrative work can happen seamlessly, allow for collaboration across staff and departments, and produce Kingdom growth.
Why your church needs an integrated ChMS
With an integrated church management software, you'll have access to everything you need for your ministry to run smoothly. With ChMS, pastors, staff, and church administrators will be able to streamline the behind-the-scenes administrative work. Rather than having a different software or online platform for membership, online giving, communications, website and content management, security, and events, an integrated ChMS cohesively ties all the tasks into one system.
- Keep track of your people. Capture, monitor, and maintain members' data. No more losing phone numbers or not being able to keep their information up to date.
- Stay engaged. Communication is made simple with mass text and email messaging. Segment groups or update everyone all at one time.
- Track finances. Manage donations and contributions. Monitor growth or dips in giving. And, with an included online giving platform, your congregation can contribute from anywhere.
- Make training easy. Train new staff and volunteers and observe where they're at in the process. Upload files and completion certificates.
- Generate reports. Church reporting analytics help your ministry to track specific data over time. Gain insightful trends about attendance, giving, and group activity.
- Keep people safe. With security functions, check-in processes, and background checks, provide safety for your people with an automated process that integrates seamlessly with your church database.
- Do more ministry. By combining a wide variety of tools into an easy-to-use system that is specifically designed for the church, it will free up the time your team would have spent doing paperwork, inputting information, and entering data. With a streamlined process through innovative technology, you can spend more time doing what matters most — ministry.
Learn more about how one church simplified church management with time-saving features and functionality of ChMS.
Benefits of Integrated Church Management Software
Obtain whole-church management at your fingertips with cloud-based church administrative software. Access visitors' information from your smart phone to send them a quick follow up welcoming them to your church. Download and print reports from your computer at the office. Or schedule an event with volunteers and a registration page from your laptop at the local café.
A church management system is designed for, well, the church. This is beneficial because you have a method that is specifically created to help ministries thrive. Churches have unique needs that require a software program (and a team behind that program) that understands how the church operates.
One of the main benefits is that ChMS is designed to assist churches with structuring and managing all aspects of daily operations. ChMS simplifies the complex, day-to-day tasks that churches face.
Integrated church management software can increase the productivity of the organizational and operational aspects of a church. The suite of tools within an integrated system will help with management across the board. Check out the features of these tools below.
Administer all of your church from one system
The general administrative tasks of a church can be streamlined with an effective ChMS. You'll be able to better support your ministry with the automation provided through the software.
Member data management will be simplified with cloud-based access from anywhere. Church staff can easily connect with their people because their information is not only easy to find but can be updated effortlessly.
From the same program, create events and schedule volunteers and use of facilities. Keep track of attendance and who is serving where. Create forms to connect with new guests or receive online prayer requests.
Administrative teams can run reports to gain valuable insight into trends within the church. To-do lists will shrink drastically (or at least the time it takes to check them off) with the support of an automated, administratively sufficient platform.
Grow your ministry with flexible online giving options
Administrative burden will be reduced because everything related to generosity is simplified through an online giving platform that is synched directly to the ChMS.
Provide convenient and flexible giving options — Website, Mobile App, Text Message, and Kiosk Giving — for members to contribute to the church. Foster generosity from anywhere, at any time, with access at your congregation's fingertips.
See church growth and manage all contributions, gifts, and donations in one system. View a range of custom reports by person, transaction, fund, and date range. Access graphical reports of monthly trends, automatic recurring giving, and forecasting.
Encourage generosity with a convenient recurring gifts feature and allow donors to access what and when they have contributed. Don't forget to thank your donors for their gifts too. It's easy to do with giving workflows so you never miss an opportunity to engage those who are supporting the ministry.
Other Giving Resources:
Build your community with enhanced engagement
Increase effectiveness of church communications and keep your congregation connected with various contact methods supported by ChMS. Send updates instantly or schedule in advance with mass text and email options. Message the entire church or segment into groups for specific content. Let everybody know about an upcoming church-wide event or contact only specified people, like the parents of middle and high school students, to promote the summer youth camp.
Create an environment of exceptional member care by staying in contact with your people. Send a welcome email to new visitors and let them know how they can get connected. Reach out to volunteers in a ministry group, appreciating them for their time. Thank donors for their contributions and share how their generosity is making a difference.
With the ability to see email engagement statistics, you can view and gather reports on how many emails are being delivered successfully and which ones are bouncing. View open rates and click rates and view insights to people who are unsubscribing. Follow email best practices to increase congregation engagement through your communications.
Simplify the complex world of church accounting
Accounting for non-profits, especially churches, is different than for regular, for-profit businesses. Churches have different needs, different issues, and different tax considerations. And just because a local business succeeds with the financial software it uses, that doesn't mean that it's the best option for churches with their unique needs.
Financial management is a critical tool in the ChMS suite. Some church management systems do not have the ability to do accounting, so be sure to find one that does because it will make it easier to handle financial particulars that come with the territory of church finances.
Through ChMS, financial software can help manage and maximize ministry growth through appropriately stewarding resources. With integrated church accounting software, access and update ledgers, payroll, receivables, and payables, and stay on track with your budget.
Align ministry goals with data and financial insight by effortlessly generating valuable reports. This can also take the stress out of providing financial statements to donors, pastors, etc. Your sensitive accounting data will also be secure.
Share your message and attract new members with a church website that reflects your ministry
In the digital age that we live in, your website is critical for people finding and connecting with your church. With an integrated church website, build a virtual extension of your church's message. Because your website is the new front door, you'll want a content management system (CMS) that is designed specifically for the church.
Grow your church's reach through digital evangelism via your website. Attract new members and get your church found on the web with SEO. Set a great first impression with visitors and connect with your members.
An effective CMS will be quick and simple to manage and update. Change copy, add graphics, and edit pages with a user-friendly front-end editor. Create a website as unique as your ministry, designed specifically for the church.
Reach beyond the walls of your church with live streaming
As the world had to quickly go digital, including church services, live streaming became a necessity to stay connected with the congregation. Integrating live streaming with your church management software makes for a seamless opportunity to continue in community.
Easy-to-use, all-in-one live streaming that's created for the church will help expand your reach. You can share your services, in real time, through social media and your website.
Help your members grow with live chat, Bible passages, and sermon notes. Even if your people can't attend in person, they can continue to feel included through live church streaming.
Protect your church and staff by implementing background checks
Church security and protection is important to your visitors, members, and volunteers. Background checks for church staff and volunteers enable churches of every size to take a substantial step in the quest to protect their people.
With a powerful ChMS, the security and background check feature will help you manage tens, hundreds, or even thousands of volunteers. Reduce the risk to children, adults, property and information by utilizing this pivotal tool. Between 4-10% of background checks reveal a criminal record. Knowing ahead of time can help protect your people.
Background checks are vital for recruitment, security approval, and assignments of volunteers. As the world has begun to open back up, churches need to be mindful of the safety (and the concern for safety) of their congregation. In fact, from the first quarter of 2021, 9,942 ministries have ordered over 440,000 background checks.
Having a secure system in place to recruit and track volunteers is crucial. The protection aspect of church management software should be able to accept volunteer applications, track where they're at in the process, and allow you to see which ministries they're serving in.
Engage your congregation with a personalized mobile app
People are mobile, your ministry should be, too. With advances in mobile technology, people are more connected than ever. If your ministry isn't mobile-optimized, then you are missing out on one of the best ways to connect and engage with your congregation.
Encourage member engagement through your church app throughout the week. Inspire them to give, sign up for events, and request prayer, all from their fingertips.
Minister to people no matter where they are with a mobile-friendly app. People can watch sermons and live streaming on the go. They can get connected to a group during the week. They can also receive push notifications to get updates immediately.
A church mobile app is a convenient way to connect and engage with your community.
Enhance your services with digitally managed worship planning
Take volunteer management even further by integrating worship planning software with your ChMS. Make scheduling a breeze and organize which volunteers are serving at which services. You can also do everything you need to coordinate your worship services.
Specify details by dragging and dropping, use a template, or create a worship flow from scratch. Create pre-service elements, provide notes for team members, and share music sheets.
With a worship planner, get alerted if there are scheduling conflicts and allow your volunteers to block out any dates ahead of time if they're unable to serve.
Directly manage your services with this intuitive software planning tool.
Church Management Software to Move Your Ministry Forward
Increase efficiency for your teams with powerful accessories that put more time back their day, so your church can focus even more on ministry. With whole-church management at your fingertips, you can grow your impact, whether you’re a church plant or a large, multi-campus megachurch.
With an integrated ChMS, you'll have access to a suite of tools that will save you time, organize your people, and streamline your processes.