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What is
Church Management Software?

The Ultimate Guide to ChMS

Churches have unique needs when it comes to their daily operational tasks.

Yes, like corporations they manage money and people, but they differ greatly in how (and why) that is done. Religious organizations mainly operate with one of their major goals being to minister 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.

Managing these tasks can be quite complicated without established procedures and programs. That’s why it’s important for churches to have an administrator (or five!) to help tackle the ins and outs of the tasks related to the work of ministry. 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, not to mention to lighten the burden of church administrators everywhere.

Church management software is computer technology designed for the church, so church admins, pastors, and staff can be well equipped with the necessary resources to engage their community, stay organized, and expand as the organization grows.

In this article, we’ll discuss what church management software is, what the benefits are, and the distinct integrations that make up a powerful ChMS.

What is ChMS?

A specialized computer technology specifically designed for churches and other ministry-based organizations, Church Management Software, or ChMS, assists with streamlining daily operations. Integrations help with the organization and optimization of membership databases, scheduling, volunteer management, events, reporting, finances, and communications.

It is a full-bodied software program that aims to support churches by encouraging collaboration that allows multiple people to view, track, and update the various systems. It centralizes administrative tasks that help church growth and to build community.

How did Church Management Software originate?

At first, church management was done by hand or typed and then compiled in some sort of filing system. Church admins or volunteers would have to manually gather and transfer member data. Depending on the technology at the time, they would then have to enter it into a word processor or spreadsheet.

Though this was the only form of church management at the time, it was difficult because it took a great amount of time and didn’t allow for much collaboration. Communication was also challenging because you couldn’t send a text message to hundreds of people all at the same time, thus taking hours to contact people individually with important updates.

When church management software first arrived on the scene, it was mainly a data processing system to simplify mailing lists and track membership information. Today, ChMS is a powerful, web-based tool to help churches audit, manage, and organize the various aspects of ministry, including visitors, members, volunteers, small groups, finances, and 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.

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Why your church should have 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. This means fewer logins and passwords to remember, and more importantly, that all of the tools work together.

  1. Stay up to date with your people. Remain updated by capturing and maintaining your members’ data. Monitor where they’re at in their involvement—are they a visitor, member, or volunteer? You can even save administrative time by allowing your congregation to keep their own information up to date.
  2. Stay engaged. Communicate easily with your congregation through mass text and email messaging. You can send an update immediately or schedule out in advance. Segment into groups or send a message to everyone at the same time.
  3. 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. Also integrate church accounting to make budgeting, payroll, and tracking finances even easier.
  4. Make training easy. Equip your team members, whether volunteers or staff, and then view where they are at in the process. Notify them if they need to take a new class. Easily upload files and completion certificates to their account.
  5. Generate reports. If you want to see how your church is growing, or even where there are dips in attendance or giving, reporting analytics helps your ministry track specific data over time. Gain insightful trends and use reports to leverage ministry.
  6. Keep people safe. Provide safety for your people with an automated process that integrates seamlessly with your church database. Utilize security functions and check-in processes. Implement background checks for staff and volunteers to provide an extra level of security to your congregation.
  7. Do more ministry. One of the most difficult things about ministry is organizing and updating all the administrative work. But by combining a wide variety of tools into an easy-to-use system, 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 two churches simplified church management with time-saving features and functionality of ChMS.

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Benefits of Integrated Church Management Software

Obtain whole-church management at your fingertips with cloud-based church administrative software. With so many people working in places other than the office, it’s helpful to have a system you can access from anywhere. View 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 was created to specifically improve the church’s day-to-day tasks. This is beneficial because you have a method that is especially 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, often chaotic day-to-day tasks that churches encounter.
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As mentioned previously, integrated ChMS can greatly increase the productivity of the organizational and operational aspects of a church. The complete suite of tools within an integrated system will help with management across the board. Check out the features of these various tools that work cohesively.

Administer your whole 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 that the software provides.

People 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—keeping members’ phone numbers, addresses, etc. current.

Automated Software

All from the same program, you can create events and schedule volunteers. Arrange use of facilities for those events. Keep track of attendance and who is serving where. Create forms to connect with new guests or receive online prayer requests.

Staff members can run reports to gain valuable insight into trends within the church. Check off the to-do lists quickly with the support of an automated, administratively sufficient platform.

Grow your ministry with flexible online giving options

Reduce administrative burden when generosity is simplified through an online giving platform that is synched directly to your ChMS.

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Provide a variety of giving options through your website, mobile app, text messaging, and kiosk giving so members can conveniently contribute to the church. With access at your congregation’s fingertips, you’ll be able to foster generosity from anywhere, at any time. Now you won’t have to rely on only the offering plate contributions because people will be giving through multiple avenues.

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.

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. With all of the features of online giving within your ChMS, you’ll be able to see your church grow.

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Connect with your community with enhanced engagement

Sometimes church communication is a little difficult. You have first figure out what to say, then to whom you will say it and when. Increase effectiveness of communications and keep your congregation connected with multiple contact methods supported by ChMS.

Send updates instantly or schedule in advance with mass text and email options. Let everybody know about an upcoming church-wide event by messaging the entire church. Or segment into groups and contact only specified people, like the parents of middle and high school students, to promote the summer youth camp.

Demonstrate exceptional member care by keeping in contact with your people. Send a welcome email to new visitors and let them know you’re glad they came. Reach out to volunteers in a ministry group and appreciate them for their time. Thank donors for their contributions and share how their generosity is truly making a difference.

And don’t just send emails, now you can see email engagement statistics all within the same system. View and gather reports on how many emails are being delivered successfully and which ones are bouncing. Observe open rates and click rates, and notice insights to people who are unsubscribing. Follow email best practices to increase congregation engagement through your communications.

Simplify the complexities of church accounting

Accounting for non-profits, especially churches, differs from regular, for-profit businesses. Churches have different needs, different issues, and different tax considerations. Just because general financial software can be used by the church, that doesn’t mean it’s the best option.

Financial management is a critical tool to have in the ChMS suite. Be sure to use a ChMS that offers church accounting because it will make it easier to handle the 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.

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Generate valuable reports to help align your ministry goals with data an financial insight. Remove the stress of providing financial statements to donors, pastors, etc. because you’ll have access to run reports with ease.

Build a church website that reflects your ministry

One of the ways people find your church is through your website. It 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, not a general website builder that cannot accommodate your needs.

Use your website to reach more people through digital evangelism. Attract new members and have your church rank higher in search queries with Search Engine Optimization.

An effective CMS will be easy to manage and update. Change copy, add graphics and photos, and edit pages with a user-friendly front-end editor. Create a website that aligns with your ministry.

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Reach beyond your church walls with live streaming

Live streaming became necessity to stay connected with the congregation when the entire world had to shut down during the pandemic. Now churches are seeing how valuable live streaming is, even with services opening back up.

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, extending far beyond the walls of your church.

Interact with members through live chat during the service. Provide Bible passages and sermon notes to help the people who are watching stay engaged. 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

Visitors, members, and volunteers all want to feel safe at church. That’s why church security and protection is important. Background checks for church staff and volunteers enable churches of all sizes to take a substantial step in the quest to protect their people.

With a robust 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 critical 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 volunteer assignments. 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.

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Engage your congregation with a personalized mobile app

People are mobile, your ministry should be able to go with them. With advances in mobile technology, people are more digitally 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.

You can 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. This turns ministry from a once-a-week thing to a 24/7 thing.

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 receive updates immediately.

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Enhance your services with digitally managed worship planning

Take volunteer management even further by integrating worship planning software with your ChMS. Rather than the hassle it used to be, make scheduling a breeze by easily organizing which volunteers are serving at which services.

Conveniently coordinate worship services. Specify details by dragging and dropping, use a template, or develop a worship flow from scratch. Create pre-service elements like videos or countdowns, 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. This will provide your team with ample time to find a replacement.

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Church Management Software to Help You Do More Ministry

Increase efficiency and put more time back in the day with powerful accessories that work together. Allowing your church to be able to focus even more on ministry. With whole-church management at your fingertips, you can grow your impact, whether you’re a new 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. At Elexio, we look forward to partnering with you for all of your ChMS needs. Contact us today to get started or start your free trial now!

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.

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