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Did you know that 77% of high-performing teams use project management software? While a church is a non-profit and differs from traditional for-profit businesses in most respects, you can still improve its management processes significantly by using church management software. 

This article helps answer the common question of what church management software is and how its various forms, features, and benefits work. We will also take a look at comparing certain software with one another to ensure you find a cloud-based or web-based church management system that works for you and your congregation. 

I’ll cover:

What Is Church Management Software?

Before we discuss the complexities and details of church management software, also known as ChMS, it’s important first to define what church management is. That way, you can better understand how specific software and programs can help improve it. 

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What Is Church Management?

The Lead Pastor is dedicated to helping pastors and church leaders understand the complexities of running various-sized churches and finding ways to help them flourish. As such, we’ve written on church management and its various workflows and functionality extensively in the past. 

Church management includes managing and delegating every aspect of a church—that includes worship services, small groups, event management, administrative tasks, and beyond.

Church management software simply helps streamline these processes and workflows, creating assistance for your church administration and church leaders, rather than more hoops to jump through.   

History Of Church Management Software

Before there was any such thing as ChMS there was just project management. Project management has been a part of human civilization since our very beginnings. In fact, some of the earliest records of project management date back to 2570 BC, when people built the Great Pyramid of Giza. Since then, project management has grown and morphed to be more sophisticated and detailed for projects large and small. 

According to project management software company, what is now commonly known as project management software really started to take shape in the 1980s and 90s, when the computer became mainstream and the technology sector exploded. 

And with the rise of the Software as a Service, or SaaS industry, project management software has since made its way into fields everywhere, from finance and advertising to education and churches. 

Why Is Church Management Software Important?

Church management software is important because, whether you’re managing large or small churches, there are likely many moving projects and to-dos at any given time. For example, there are so many people you’re overseeing. 

And that comes with various tasks such as small group management, volunteer management, church membership management, event management, and more.

That doesn’t even include all the ministries to manage, more staff members to hire, and more upkeep for your building facilities. Not to mention figuring out how to manage a church website and social media, automate online giving and fundraising, and follow up with church members to get contact information.

If all of that has your head spinning, don’t worry. You can improve all these tasks with user-friendly software that can automate, track, manage, and move these projects forward.

And the best part? It does it all without you having to follow up through a text message, on a mobile app, or mass email. 

The benefit of church management software for your church is simply the freedom and free time for you to focus on your church members and the other reasons you became a pastor in the first place—things like mission, how to equip church members, evangelism, and fostering a vibrant church community.  

What Are The Benefits Of Church Management Software?

Church management software is broad but has the ability to impact many different areas of your church administration and outreach. The benefits are ample, even when they are not apparent to the average church attendee. Let’s look at just a few of them here. 

  1. Improved communication and collaboration. The ways that a church management system improves communication can not be understated. ChMS provides one location for all documents and data, which makes it much simpler to delegate tasks, share ideas and comments, and stay in touch to check-in with team members on a project’s progress. This single location also helps mitigate messages coming from various sources like email, texts, and social media, and instead, groups all communication in one place so no one forgets anything.
  2. Better budget management. Stewarding finances well is one of the most important characteristics of a strong church leader. Church management software tools can help you do a budget follow-up, analyze data, compare planned versus actual, map out projections, and so much more. This software also provides easy ways to share this critical data with key stakeholders, like your elder board or deacons, through personal dashboards, shareable URLs, and exportable reports. 
  3. Enhanced process standardization. Every individual has a particular way of doing things, but with process standardization, the team creates an agreed-upon way of doing things. This can help future team members and ensures you don’t add-on any confusion or errors. Project management software is the perfect tool to improve process standardization because it provides one convenient location to track and remind people of processes like form naming, workflow automation, and more. 

Common Features Of Church Management Software

The features of church management software can vary from platform to platform, but all of them can be of great help to churches.

Features can include:

  • Membership management tools
  • Visitor tracking and follow-up
  • Tithe and contribution management for donations from church members (both in person and online contributions)
  • Donor management
  • Financial management
  • Setup and management for small groups
  • Class sign-ups
  • Child check-in and attendance
  • Email and text messaging notifications
  • Event registration and management
  • Live streaming capabilities for services
  • Reporting
  • Volunteer scheduling
  • Templates for important church documents such as communication plans and crisis management plans

Best Church Management Software

The Lead Pastor has done an in-depth look at different kinds of ChMS to see which could be most useful to your church. Here are the high points for you to consider as you start to look into the fine print. 

  1. WildApricot: Best free ChMS for small churches
  2. Elvanto: Best all-inclusive ChMS
  3. Breeze: Best functionality and user-friendly
  4. Chmeetings: Best value for the price
  5. TouchPoint: Best mobile app experience
  6. Blackbaud: Best workflows for managing people and payments
  7. Excellerate Church Management: Best church database installation
  8. Fellowship One: Best to streamline an all-in-one solution
  9. Shelby Systems: Best ChMS for larger churches with new members
  10. Servant Keeper: Best for membership management

NOTE: we've created an exhaustively-reviewed, carefully curated list of the top church managment software currently available.

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Should I Get Church Management Software?

If you’re a church leader who’s looking to improve daily operations, steward finances well, and improve communication for your staff and members, a church management solution is a good option for you. 

It’s a great software solution that helps everyday aspects of a church like outreach, member management, attendance tracking, online giving, tithes, and more—all helping you fulfill what your church needs.

No matter if you have a large church or are proud to be one of many small churches out there, having a church management system helps make life easier for the entire church. 

To learn more about different kinds of church management software and management tools and how to start implementing it into your daily operations today, check out the following articles from the Lead Pastor. 

By Ashley Vaughan

Since she began leading worship at the age of 15, Ashley has always been passionate about supporting the local church and leading others into worship. For the past 10 years she has been leading worship teams and finds much joy and fulfillment in empowering and raising up other leaders. Ashley is a song writer with Worship Central Canada and has had the incredible opportunity to travel and lead worship, while collaborating with other worship leaders.