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The First Church Of YouTube: Getting Your Ministry Online Fast!

Day after day, the world moves further toward a full service economy where groceries, fast food, and even furniture are delivered to your door. People are living to older ages than ever before, and even people with disabilities are connecting in ways they never could before the age of the Internet. 

According to a U.S. Census report released in April 2021, by 2018, 85% of U.S. households had a broadband internet subscription, and 84% of households used smartphones. Your church members use the internet to connect to the world around them. You can use the internet to connect to them as well.

I’m Lexie Schmidt, and, by the end of this article, I will teach you how to bring your church into the 21st century and start reaching some of our most underserved populations. I was trained to be a pastor by my grandfather, and spent a great deal of time in my youth learning everything he knew about the ministry. When my grandfather was between churches, my mom took my siblings and me to a megachurch where my mom founded the first IT department, which I helped her run. 

That church put on plays, illustrated sermons, and other multimedia presentations. I worked my way up to Assistant Youth Pastor, taking nearly every job in between, where I was in charge of producing announcement videos, coordinating leadership teams, and running sound while playing lead guitar for worship, so multimedia leadership and ministry are my wheelhouse.

This article applies to every church no matter how big or small. Be sure to keep that in mind as you go forward. While this article will have you ready to go live, the actual content you provide depends on your congregation. No one knows your congregation and their specific needs better than you.

Before we get into the nuts-and-bolts of creating your church’s YouTube channel, let’s look at the benefits of having a channel and, at the end of the article, we’ll examine a few goals that your new channel can help you complete.

Here’s what I’ll cover specifically:

Benefits Of Youtube Channels For Ministries 

First, having a YouTube channel makes it easy for members of your congregation who have limited mobility to participate in services from home. This also applies to those who have to work during church hours to provide for their families.

Instead of missing church by two hours, the waitress working the breakfast shift at the local diner can praise the Lord and listen to the Word after her shift. The disabled man who can only come once a month when someone can give him a ride will now be able to attend every service.

Another benefit is that YouTube is free to the user and creator. The ability to reach into someone’s home and touch their hearts is not the realm of the rich anymore. Your church no longer needs expensive television time slots. Your viewers no longer need cable or satellite packages that specifically include Christian content.

How To Set Up Your YouTube Channel

1. Creating a Google Account and Getting to YouTube

Now, to the fun stuff! The first step to creating your channel is to create a Google account. If your church already has a Gmail account, you should use that one. If not, go to Gmail and click on “create account”. Follow the instructions. It should only take a minute or so before you come to a page that looks like this…

Gmail Screenshot
A brand new Gmail account, ready to start a channel.

The circle on the top-right corner is where you can access all of your account information. The nine dots to the left are where you find all of Google’s apps, including YouTube. Click on the YouTube icon, and you will be sent to YouTube’s front page. Once there, click on the circle to get a list of options.

Youtube Account Menu Screenshot
Your account menu on YouTube.

As you can see, I set my appearance to “Dark” which I recommend to anyone who uses a computer for long periods of time. Save yourself from eye strain!

2. Creating Your Channel

Next, click on “Create a channel”. Upload a picture that represents your church. The photo could be of the congregation, a cross, a Bible, or even your church building itself. As long as your photo is easy to identify for your members.

A name will be auto-filled based on the name of your Google account, but you can change it at this stage. Typically, you want your channel to have the same name as your church so that there is no confusion for search engines and people who are less tech-savvy than others.

If you are happy with the photo and name of your channel, click on “Create Channel” in the lower-right corner. Congratulations! Your ministry is now on YouTube. My work here is done. Wait…I promised to get you to your first uploaded video. It is very simple, but I’ll be thorough so that you understand the whole process.

3. Recording A Welcome Video

The next step is recording a welcome video. This video will display on your church’s YouTube page every time someone comes to see what’s new. This video should be around one minute long, and no longer than two minutes. 

Say welcome, state your church’s purpose, and explain what newcomers to your channel can expect. Don’t worry if this first video feels weak. Working in front of a camera is much different than working in front of your congregation, and it can take time to get used to new media.

How To Record The Welcome Video

The easiest way to record is to use your smartphone. A laptop with a built-in camera works, too. As long as the visuals are sharp and the audio is clear, whichever method you choose is the right one. You can upload videos from any device that can access your YouTube account, so don’t be afraid to experiment with a few choices from what is available to you. 

Current smartphone cameras are comparable to television cameras, and their quality is just a bit behind movie cameras since those switched to all-digital productions. If you decide to make more videos, investing in better equipment can help take you to the next level. Until then, stick with what you have at hand.

Camera work, especially for preachers, takes practice. When preaching, you ebb and flow. You’re quiet one moment, shouting the next. You walk from one side of the stage to the other. You hold up the Bible to emphasize a point. For something like a welcome message, you have to speak as though you are talking personally to the viewer. The softness of counseling someone should come through as you invite them to spend time with your ministry in worship and the message you have prepared.

Now, there are good videos and bad videos on YouTube. Your loyal members might be forgiving of a bad video, but newcomers are typically harsh, so before you start recording, keep these things in mind:

  • Lighting. Keep yourself in the light, and out of shadow. Sometimes, the best place for this is at your pulpit or in a chair on stage where lighting is already designed to be balanced. Bad lighting can make an otherwise good video unwatchable.
  • Presence. Presence is how you fill the screen and where you are on it. Is this a headshot? Are you sitting in a chair? Do you have a church symbol you want to display next to you? My advice is use a one-quarter shot, which includes your head and shoulders. Your viewers will be able to see you from the tiny box that the welcome video plays in on your channel’s page, while also not being too close for people who watch it in the larger video player. Remember, you’re not filling the entire stage like you are when you preach. Fill the screen.
  • Wardrobe. This should go without saying since pastors are usually expected to be presentable. First impressions are always the most important, so record this in your Sunday best.
  • Smile. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget to smile when you are recording a video. So many other things go through your head that you forget to be pleasant. You are inviting people into your church. Show them you’re happy that they have come.

4. Uploading Your Video

The next step is to go back to YouTube. Make sure you are signed in under the church’s account, not your own or someone else’s account. Click the circle, which should now be the photo you uploaded during channel creation, and click “YouTube Studio.” On the left, you will see this list. If all the options are not visible, the list should be scrollable.

Channel Screen Left Hand Side Screenshot
The left side of your channel screen.

You can play around in all the different areas later. First, click on “Content”. It will say “No content available” just above a button that reads “Upload Videos”. Click the button and select the video from wherever it is saved on your device. A new window will pop up asking for a title and description. More options are available under the description, like “Thumbnail” and “Playlist”. The one to take note of is the only required selection (other than the title), which is whether the video’s intended audience is kids. 

Video Upload Details Screen Screenshot
The Details screen.
Details Screen Continued Screenshot
Details continued. Unless your video is made for your children’s church, select No.

Select “No, it’s not made for kids.” The way that YouTube indexes children’s content can hide it from some people due to how YouTube’s content algorithm works. It can also restrict certain options like comments. Click “Next”. 

Video elements Screenshot
Video Elements. These options add accessibility and can help keep viewers engaged by linking to other videos you make.

The “Video Elements” screen has three options. 

Subtitles

If you are trying to reach people who are deaf and hard of hearing, you might be interested in subtitles. YouTube subtitles are not perfect, but they work. The language selection is on the “Details” screen. Scroll down and click on “Show more” and continue scrolling to the language section. Select your country’s language, and then select “This content has never aired on television in the US” for Caption Certification. Back on “Video Elements”, you can enable subtitles. 

End Screen

“End Screen” is something that will display at the end of your video for a few seconds. Later on, as YouTube becomes a bigger part of your ministry, you might want to consider adding one. 

Cards

“Cards” display over your “End Screen”, if you have one. They are small previews of other videos on your channel that your viewers can click on to watch. If you are doing a multi-part Bible study, for example, you could add links to other videos in the series using the cards option.

Language Captions Screen Screenshot
This is only needed if you want subtitles.

On the next screen,” Checks”, YouTube checks for copyright violations, but you should be fine unless you were playing music in the background of your video. Finally, on “Visibility”, your welcome video should probably be published immediately. Later videos can be published at different times, based on the situation.

Copyright Checks Screen Screenshot
Copyright can get your video taken down. Be careful of music especially.
Visibility Screen Screenshot
Visibility. You decide when your video becomes active and who can see it. These options can be changed later.

Hooray! Your upload is completed, and you have published a video that anyone can see! There is only one thing left to do: make it your channel trailer. Click “Customization” from the list on the left (shown in the third screenshot above), select your welcome video, and you’re done! 

Channel Customization Screenshot
Channel customization. Your channel trailer is the perfect way to highlight your welcome video.

Now, when you want to livestream your Sunday service, click on “Create” next to the circle in the top-right, and click “Go live” from the menu. The method of recording is the same as your other videos, but make sure that the person who is recording has a full view of the stage so that you can preach to the congregation within the building as well. Your live videos of services will, most likely, not be made with the same personal nature that you recorded your welcome video with. 

You may ask why you would want to stream your services live instead of putting up recordings later. The answer is two-fold. First, streamed videos stay on your channel and can be watched later by people as they would a recording. Second, your members who cannot join in person will experience your service at the same time as the members in the building, which increases the feeling of fellowship with their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Upload Live Option Screenshot
Upload or Go Live from the Create button.

Moving Forward Online

This is where your goals come in. A channel is useless without videos to put on it. Videos can come from many sources: your services, your Bible studies, or your prayer meetings. What parts of your ministry do you want to be available to everyone? When they search your church’s name, what do you want to pop up on Google and YouTube? Is there a group in your community that you are trying to make inroads with? The answers to these questions will inform the specific content you make from week to week.

Creating videos is as hard or as easy as you make it, and finding the right tech-wiz in your congregation can make a world of difference, but I hope I’ve shown that you can do this on your own without much trouble. If you have questions or comments about any part of this, comment below. If you would like to see more in-depth tutorials about different aspects of creating content for your YouTube channel, please comment also.

I hope you have been as blessed following this tutorial as I have been writing it. The Lead Pastor has many other tutorials, such as these on communicating with your congregation and developing an effective church communications plan, with new ones being added all the time. Check out what we have available, and feel free to suggest new ideas in the comments.

And if you’re just getting started on your journey towards embracing technology, here’s a very helpful list on the 10 Best Church Management Software For Small Churches.

Categories
Tools

10 Best Church Giving Apps For Donations And Tithe Collection

Donations and tithe collection are crucial for churches because they are the primary fund source that helps churches operate and serve their members. An excellent way to manage donations is through a church giving app that can make online donations, text giving, and credit card/debit card donations more straightforward and secure for your congregation. 

Here are some of the most popular church giving tools available in the market and the features that make them ideal for your church. 

The Best Church Giving App List

Here’s a shortlist of the best church giving apps: 

  1. My Well Ministry 
  2. Anedot 
  3. DONATION 
  4. Gyve
  5. FlockBase 
  6. Vanco 
  7. easyTithe 
  8. Church Windows
  9. Pushpay
  10. Tithe.ly

Church Giving Apps Comparison Criteria

What do I look for when I select the best church giving apps? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria: 

  1. User Interface (UI): Churches have old and young members. I’m looking for an easy-to-navigate tool that is user-friendly for both senior and young members.
  2. Giving Options: Churches receive donations from different sources for convenience. Does the tool offer church members with a variety of giving options like text giving, checks, online donations, or credit and debit cards?
  3. Security: Can the app protect the church member’s financial information? 
  4. Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent and flexible?

Church Giving Apps: Key Features

1. Giving forms: Forms that members can fill up to sign-up for donations

2. Collection Reports: This allows users to generate reports about donations, donors, and donation history.

3. Text giving: Allows church members to give donations using text messaging. 

4. Fund Management: Allows church members to choose which fund they want to contribute to. 

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Overviews Of The 10 Best Church Giving Apps

Here’s a brief description of each church giving apps to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the interface. 

1. My Well Ministry – Best for donation allocation

My Well Ministry Church Giving App Screenshot
Donors can indicate which fund they want to donate to and whether it will be recurring or a one-time donation.

My Well Ministry is a church giving app that you can use to receive donations from church members safely and securely with the help of biometric security.

My Well Ministry is accessible via desktop browser or a smartphone app accessible on Android and iOS devices. You can use the app to generate receipts and yearly statements to promote transparency and inspire confidence among donors. 

My Well Ministry is the best giving platform for handling multiple fund categories because it allows church members to indicate which pool they want to donate to. Donors can also indicate if their donation to a specific fund is just a one-time donation or a recurring one.

Church leaders can benefit from this feature because they can encourage congregants to donate to causes that matter most to them: the church facility maintenance, non-profit contributions, mission trips for youth, or annual events. 

My Well Ministry starts at $49/month for up to 100 gifts.

2. Anedot – Best for multi-source fundraisers

Anedot Church Giving App Screenshot
You can partner with another church or group with an Anedot account if you want to raise funds for a common cause.

Anedot is a mobile giving app that accepts donations using credit cards, debit cards, bank drafts, Apple Pay, and PayPal. Anedot has a reporting tool you can use to assess your fundraising capabilities and improve on fundraising efforts that are not yielding results. 

Anedot is the best mobile giving app to partner with another local church or a group on a fundraising activity. As long as the other church or group has an Anedot account, you can raise funds together and increase the likelihood of hitting your goals. Partnering exposes your church to other church’s donors, increases name recall and might help you convert them to your donors too. 

Anedot integrates with MailChimp, Google Analytics, Planning Center, and other similar apps. 

Anedot doesn’t have a lump-sum monthly cost but uses a per-transaction fee system at 3.0% + 30¢ (Credit/debit cards, Apple Pay, PayPal) or 0.3% + 30¢ (ACH/bank draft).

3. DONATION – Best for small churches

DONATION Church Giving App Screenshot
DONATION (by Software4Nonprofits) has a free Lite version ideal for small churches.

DONATION is an online giving app that you can use to track donations to your church and manage your database of donors. This giving platform allows you to send mail correspondence to donors to thank them for their contributions. 

DONATION is the best online giving platform for small churches because you can get the program for free for the initial year. The cost for managing less than 100,000 donations a year is just $100 per year, making it competitive in pricing.

DONATION also allows you to send charitable receipts that comply with US and Canadian standards. 

DONATION Lite costs nothing during the initial year and $20/year for renewals, while DONATION Standard costs $100/year. DONATION offers a 60-day free evaluation period.

4. GYVE – Best for donation analytics

GYVE Church Giving App Screenshot
GYVE allows you to generate in-depth reports that can help you implement plans to improve your fundraising efforts.

GYVE is a mobile giving app you can download from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, making it easy to use on any mobile device. It allows you to create personalized text messages, emails, and videos to ensure that you are connecting to your congregation.

You can use GYVE to schedule and automate your communications and create messages in advance, like fundraising campaigns, thank you notes, and donation receipts. 

GYVE is a great giving app for donation tracking and analytics with an intuitive dashboard that takes the pain out of accounting. You can use GYVE to sort information by the location of the donors, type of giving, or gift category so you can understand your donors better.

GYVE also lets you generate reports that you can use in formulating action plans that can help improve your fundraisings, like reports on lapsed givers, decreased givers, and transaction detail reports.  

GYVE doesn’t charge sign-up or monthly fees, just transaction fees at 2.5% + $0.30 or $1.30 depending on the feature.

5. FlockBase – Best for tracking individual giving records

FlockBase Church Giving App Screenshot
You can use FlockBase to keep individual giving records of church members.

FlockBase is an all-in-one church management app with an online giving feature to receive contributions via credit card, debit card, or eCheck. It allows your donors to schedule recurring donations or contribute as a one-time action.

FlockBase’s online giving feature also allows users to choose where they want to allocate their donations, making it ideal for donors who are passionate about a particular project in your church, like choir enthusiasts or Sunday school supporters. 

FlockBase is best for maintaining the donation records of church members. You can use FlockBase to track which causes a church member supports and the amount they contribute so you can concentrate on improving fundraising efforts for areas that receive less support. 

FlockBase online giving has a monthly fee of $15 per month. You can also get it as a free feature of the Cloud Plus and Cloud Pro versions of the FlockBase church management software.

6. Vanco – Best kiosk and card reader tech

Vanco Church Giving App Screenshot
Vanco has a communications feature allowing administrators to send private or group messages to make planning fundraisers easier.

Vanco is a church giving tool with additional features for seating capacity management, in-app communication, and directory administration. The app also acts as a centralized hub for online worship where members can access materials like online bulletins and Zoom links.

Vanco provides church members with a wide variety of options when it comes to modes of giving. Members can use a web-based portal, text-to-give, a Vanco kiosk device (provided by the company), or their mobile accessory for card payments on-the-go.

Vanco is one of the few church giving apps that offers physical solutions for in-person giving, like a kiosk (branded to your church specifications) and a card-reader called GivePlus Swipe that can plug into smart devices and accept ad hoc credit and debit payments. This ensures that your congregation has a variety of ways to donate based on what they find easiest. 

Vanco’s pricing starts at $10/month for churches receiving less than $20,000 per month in donations. 

7. easyTithe – Best online giving form builder

easyTithe Church Giving App Screenshot
easyTithe is best for creating unique forms because you can personalize forms depending on the campaign where you will use them.

easyTithe is an online giving app that makes donating, contributing, and tithing easier for church members because they can donate through text, using online forms, kiosks, or virtual terminals. It also has reporting functionality you can use to understand your donors and prevailing giving trends better.

easyTithe also provides your church members with the option to automate donations based on their preferred amounts and frequencies, so they don’t need to repeat the process each time. 

easyTithe is best for church leaders who need a giving form for their website because it comes with customizable templates or a from-scratch drag-and-drop builder. Using forms can help you organize your fundraising efforts because you can create separate forms for different campaigns. You can also add images, texts, and colors in different forms to make them stand out. 

easyTithe costs from 1.99% + 39¢ per debit/credit gift OR 0.75% + 39¢ per ACH gift.

8. Church Windows – Best all-in-one church management

Church Windows Church Giving App Screenshot
Church Windows comes integrated into the Church Windows church management software, making it ideal for churches looking for a management system with a donations functionality.

Church Windows is a church giving app that has a donation module with electronic giving that integrates with a variety of online payment sources. You can record donations by individual or family unit, giver name or envelope number, and general fund or campaign-specific pool. It can also help you record pledges to actual received amounts for better future financial planning. 

Church Windows’ online giving platform is an integrated feature to the church management software of the same name, making it ideal for those looking for an all-in-one software.

You can use Church Windows to manage your database of members and ensure that all information is up to date. You can also use Church Windows to manage church events and worship services through its calendar management feature. 

Church Windows Donations starts at a one-time payment of $303.

9. Pushpay – Best for virtual events & services

Pushpay Church Giving App Screenshot
Pushpay is ideal for churches whose members prefer text giving as a means of donating.

Pushpay is part of the ChurchStaq family of products for church management, virtual giving, and even service streaming solutions. Pushpay lets members make donations either through mobile app, web browser, or text message, making it possible to give no matter what time of day. Pushpay is available in English and Spanish. 

Pushpay is part of ChurchStaq, which means its virtual giving technology integrates with other software solutions for a holistic church management approach. For churches who host online services or events, ChurchStaq can accommodate streaming solutions alongside digital donation and tithe apps. You can manage your whole church community online. 

Pushpay integrates with Intuit QuickBooks and a wide range of church management systems such as Elvanto, OneChurch, and Church Community Builder. 

Pushpay pricing is available upon request.

10. Tithe.ly – Best for check donations

Tithe.ly Church Giving App Screenshot
You can use Tithe.ly to look at the giving patterns of members so you can leverage giving methods that yield better results.

Tithe.ly is a giving platform with a mobile app available for iOS and Android users. You can use Tithe.ly to manage fundraising events and take care of event registration, ensuring that the number of attendees gets appropriately recorded. Tithe.ly also comes with QuickBooks and Planning Center integration making bookkeeping and accounting easier. 

Tithe.ly is best for churches that receive a lot of check donations because of its check scanning capability. Tithe.ly’s can scan, reconcile, and remotely deposit checks using the app. Check scanning can also help you avoid document loss since you don’t need to keep a physical copy of the check donation.  

Tithe.ly costs $0 per month, but there is a fee of 2.9% + C$0.30 per trx AMEX: 3.5% + C$0.30 on a per-transaction basis.

Other Church Giving App Options

Here’s a few more that didn’t make the top list.

  1. One Church – Best for Service Planning.
  2. Shelby Systems – Best for Recurring donations.
  3. Elexio – Longest Trial Period.
  4. Church Office Online – Best for Kiosks.
  5. grplife Church Edition – Best for Newsletter Creation.
  6. Aware3 – Best for Multichannel Giving.
  7. SimpleChurch CRM – Best for Reports Generation.
  8. Acts246 – Best for Large Churches.

What do churches use for online giving?

Churches use giving apps for online giving because these apps provide church members with a convenient and secure way of donating online. Giving apps are also convenient to use because church members can donate even if they are not present during worship services or fundraising events.

How can I donate to my church online?

You can use text giving to donate to your church. Giving apps also allow you to make donations within the app. Some giving apps also come with check readers so you can donate using your checking account.

What Do You Think About These Church Giving Apps?

Church giving apps can help make donations easy for church administrators and church members because it makes donating easy, convenient, and secure. If you don’t have a church giving app yet for your church, look at the features of the apps listed above so you can choose the app that will suit your church’s needs. If you want to learn more about other software and apps that can help your church grow, be sure to read more informative articles at The Lead Pastor.

Categories
Tools

The 10 Best Church Management Software For Small Churches

A church management software is a program that can help churches of all sizes centralize administrative tasks, communication, and facility needs. Although church management software is common for large churches, church leaders of small churches can also benefit from using church management software.

In this article, I will discuss some of the best church management solutions for small churches that you can use for basic communication and facility organization needs.

The Best Church Management Software for Small Churches

Here’s a shortlist of the best church management software for small churches:

  1. ChurchInfo
  2. ChurchCRM
  3. ChurchTrac
  4. Flocknote
  5. ChMeetings 
  6. DonorPerfect
  7. Church Windows
  8. Neon One
  9. ChurchStq
  10. Elexio

Comparison Criteria

What do I look for when I select the best church management software for small churches? 

Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria: 

  1. User Interface (UI): Small churches usually struggle with limited resources, meaning they can’t spend a lot of time or energy learning the ins-and-outs of a new tool. I’m looking for an intuitive, clean interface that does away with complex clutter.
  2. Usability: Small churches often have young and old members. It’s important to find a software that is user-friendly, easy to learn, and easy to master for all age groups. I’m looking for a tool that offers good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training.
  3. Value for $: Small churches will need a good balance of fair pricing (preferably a free or low cost plan) with must-have features, like communication tools and facility administration. 

Church Management Software for Small Churches Key Features

  1. Membership Management: A feature that allows a church administration to maintain a record of church membership, personal details, phone numbers, and other crucial information. 
  2. Volunteer Management: Volunteer management helps ensure that the volunteer schedule is updated, ensuring that all tasks and events have an adequate workforce. 
  3. Event Management: Churches can use this feature to plan events, outreach programs, print name tags, handle event registration, and attendance tracking during events. 
  4. Donation Management: allows users to track online giving, tithes, and payments from donors and stakeholders. 
  5. Communication Tools: Allows users to reach out to the church community through mass emails and SMS reminders, and follow-ups. 
  6. Church Accounting Software: Allows users to handle accounting-related church needs such as expense tracking, fund accounting, budgeting, and tax filing. 

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Overviews Of The 10 Best Church Management Software for Small Churches

Here’s a brief description of each church management software for small churches to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the interface. 

1. ChurchInfo – Best for organizing Sunday schools

ChurchInfo Church Management Software for Small Churches Screenshot
You can organize Sunday school schedules, assign students and teachers to classes, and send schedule notifications.

ChurchInfo is a free software solution that you can use to record and maintain data about your members and groups. You can use ChurchInfo to manage pledges, launch text-giving initiatives, and even track donations. ChurchInfo can be ideal for you if you want to use a free management software to manage volunteer opportunities.

ChurchInfo is best for your church if you have a Sunday school class or program because you can use it to maintain a Sunday school database of participants, class schedules, and volunteers. You can assign roles to members such as servant keeper, student, liaison, or teacher. You can generate attendance sheets using ChurchInfo for easier record-keeping.

ChurchInfo is a free software created and supported by an open-source community.

2. ChurchCRM – Best mobile app

ChurchCRM Church Management Software for Small Churches Screenshot
ChurchCRM has a mobile app version, so you can access ChurchCRM’s functionalities and features while working remotely.

ChurchCRM is a cloud-based CRM that your church can use to keep track of your members, contributions, and facility data. You can count on ChurchCRM when creating volunteer programs, fundraisers, and other church events. ChurchCRM allows you to input an unlimited number of people and families into the system, making it ideal for growing churches.

ChurchCRM is best for churches that organize outdoor activities such as bible camps, team building activities, and family days. Its mobile app version allows you to use the program while working remotely. ChurchCRM’s intuitive mobile app lets members check-in for events and organizes volunteers while on the field. The app lets you use your tablet or mobile phone to attend to your congregation’s needs even if you’re not in front of your workstation.

ChurchCRM is a free church management software. You can try ChurchCRM’s features through their demo version so you can decide if ChurchCRM will fit the needs of your church.

3. Churchtrac – Best accounting features

Churchtrac Church Management Software for Small Churches Screenshot
Churchtrac’s accounting capabilities make it easier to track donations, funds, and expenses.

Churchtrac is a SaaS program you can use to manage the membership of your congregation. You can use the program to designate roles to members, donors, or prospects to know which members will be a fit for specific tasks. Churchtrac also allows you to organize worship services and schedule essential worship team members such as greeters or choir members. It also helps you organize your worship song library to pull up appropriate songs depending on the occasion.

Churchtrac is best for religious organizations that need a church management program with accounting capabilities. You can use Churchtrac to manage donors and their contributions. You can also use Churchtrac to monitor your funds and spending. Churchtrac also allows you to create budget plans to ensure that your funds can support the needs of your congregation. 

Churchtrac is free to use. Paid plans with additional features start at $50/month.

4. Flocknote – Best for Text and Email Communications

Flocknotes Church Management Software for Small Churches Screenshot
Use Flocknotes to send an unlimited number of text messages to members of your congregation for a low monthly fee.

Flocknotes is a user-friendly church management program that you can use to stay in touch with members of your congregation. You can use it to send newsletters to keep your congregation abreast of the latest news and articles about your church. You can also use Flocknotes to maintain a member database so you will have access to contact information, important documents, and attendance records.

Flocknote is the best church management software if you use text messages and emails to engage your congregation because it offers unlimited text messages and emails with its monthly plan. Flocknote also has an email composer that you can use to send emails with customizable colors, gifs, layouts, and fonts. The email composer allows you to take polls, send attachments, embed videos, and track RSVPs to special events.

Flocknote has a free plan for churches with under 40 members. Paid plans cost from $8/month. And up depending on the length of your contact list. 

5. ChMeetings – Best for events management

ChMeetings Church Management Software for Small Churches Screenshot
Use ChMeetings to quickly check-in attendees and generate attendance reports after each event.

ChMeetings is a church management software that you can use to track and store your members’ data. It has a mobile app version that works on iOS and Android mobile devices and is accessible to both admins and members. 

What I love about this tool is its customization features. You can get a custom-named app to reflect the name of your church. You can also get customized icons, store listing, and login screen for a small add-on fee. ChMeetings also empowers church members to access their profiles and update their information or customize their notification settings.

ChMeetings is the best church management software if you frequently organize events because you can use it to create events and send invites via text messaging, email, or push notifications. You can also use it as a planning hub to handle event registration and print QR codes or QR cards for easier management of attendees. You can use your ChMeetings generated QR codes to quickly check-in attendees and avoid long queues during registrations.

ChMeetings is free for up to 100 people. Paid plans cost from $10/month and go up depending on the size of your congregation. 

6. DonorPerfect – Best for donor management

DonorPerfect Church Management Software for Small Churches Screenshot
DonorPerfect makes donating easy for supporters through a simple click-and-pay interface.

DonorPerfect is a fundraising CRM that can help your church optimize your fundraising efforts. You can use DonorPerfect to create branded forms that include your church’s logo to encourage more donors to join your fundraising efforts. DonorPerfect’s forms are configurable and mobile-friendly; you can send them via email, your church website, or through social media accounts.

DonorPerfect is the best fundraising CRM to build a better relationship with your donors because it lets you sustain a constant email marketing campaign to keep your donors engaged. You can also use DonorPerfect to make donating easier through a simple click-and-pay method. You can also use DonorPerfect to send automated receipts with thank you messages to show gratitude to your supporters.  

DonorPerfect costs from $99/month for up to 1,000 records.

7. Church Windows – Best for payroll management

Church Windows Church Management Software for Small Churches Screenshot
You can use Church Windows to customize the compensation of different church workers according to their positions and requirements.

Church Windows is a church management software that you can use to maintain individual and household records for your congregation. It also gives you a means of connecting with members through customized emails and by scheduling personal visitations. The software also has reporting capabilities so that you can generate visitation and attendance reports based on the criteria of your choice.

Church Windows is the best church management program for handling your church’s payroll because it can accommodate a wide range of compensation requirements. It has updated tax tables so that you won’t encounter any issues during tax season. You can use Church Windows to produce reports on salaries, allowances, taxes, donations, and deductions so you can avoid errors usually brought by manual computations.  

You can integrate TaxBandits in Church Windows as an optional service so you can file your taxes electronically.

Church Windows costs from a one-time payment of $303 and up, depending on your needs.

8. Neon One – Best for customizations & integrations

Neon One Church Management Software for Small Churches Screenshot
Neon One allows you access to a wide range of productivity apps so you can customize your program to meet the needs of your congregation.

Neon One is a management software that can provide non-profit organizations with a unified platform to manage their relationship with stakeholders. You can use Neon One to manage fundraisers, community-giving activities, and donor-centered events for your church. It also has built-in digital (video messages, social media posts) and conventional communications tools (text messaging, newsletters) that you can personalize to stay in touch with members of your congregation.

Neon One is the best management software to personalize your church management solution because you can develop tools and features through Neon One’s API. Integrations are also available so you can connect to preexisting software like GivBee, Salesforce, VolunteerLocal, and Fundraise Up.

Neon One integrates with Zapier so you can access additional communication, project management, marketing, and accounting software if you have a paid plan with them.

Neon One costs from $99/month.

9. ChurchStaq – Best for community building

ChurchStaq Church Management Software for Small Churches Screenshot
Use ChurchStaq to manage your calendar and improve community engagement by scheduling events and visitations with congregants.

ChurchStaq is a community engagement solution that you can use to manage the profiles of the members of your congregation. It has a custom church app that you can use to access ChurchStaq data while working remotely. You can also use ChurchStaq to manage your calendar and schedule events.

ChurchStaq is best for those who want to improve community engagement because it can help you measure and understand the impact of your ministry to your community through easy-to-generate reports. It also provides you with a means of connecting to congregants both in-person and online. 

ChurchStaq integrates with Intuit QuickBooks, Elvanto, and other CMS programs.

ChurchStaq offers customized pricing upon request.

 10. Elexio – Best for workflow automation

Elexio Church Management Software for Small Churches Screenshot
You can use Elexio to automate simple tasks, so you don’t forget about them while dealing with crucial tasks.

Elexio is a church management system that you can use to manage groups, track attendance metrics, and maintain a database of your congregation. You can use it as a central communications portal to send text messages, emails, or newsletters with your members. You can also use Elexio to improve coordination within your ministry through a calendar management feature to schedule events, make church room reservations, and allocate church facilities and equipment.

Elexio is best for churches that want to streamline their workflow by automating repetitive and straightforward tasks. You can use workflow automation to send text reminders for events or welcome new members to your congregation. You can also use it to send an automated thank you note to donors for their contributions.

Elexio’s pricing plan starts at $35.13 per month and offers a 30-day free trial.

Other church management software Options

Here’s a few more that didn’t make the top list.

  1. Simple Church CRM – ChMS with modules for communication, giving, training, and organization. Sliding scale monthly fee based on directory size.
  2. Continue to Give – ChMS that enables users to send communications, organize events, print tickets, and audit funds.  
  3. Raklet – App that allows users to organize a contacts database, send communications, organize events and raise funds. 
  4. Cahaba Works – A church accounting software with features that allow users to manage contributions, payroll and balance accounts.

Are there any free church management software options?

Yes! In fact, many on our list are free to use or offer a free subscription tier for small churches. Try ChurchInfo, ChurchCRM, ChurchTrac, Flocknote, ChMeetings, Continue to Give, Raklet, and Cahaba Works. 

What Do You Think About These Church Management Software?

Church Management Software can equip religious organizations with the proper tools to ensure that their members are well-taken care of. Make sure that you follow The Lead Pastor if you want to learn about the latest church management software and tools in the market.

Looking for more tools for your church? Check our list out of the 10 Best Church Giving Apps For Donations and Tithe Collection.

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The Best Church Technology Conferences 2021

If you want to know the best church technology conferences to attend in 2021, you’ve come to the right place. Our specially curated list includes both in-person and virtual events that feature renowned Christian thought leaders and practitioners from across the globe. 

Church technology can help you stay connected and relate with your church members and the world more effectively. While some church leaders shun technology, these conferences will help demonstrate to you why it’s worth embracing.  

Best Church Technology Conferences List

These conferences are great for teaching you how to leverage the latest church tech trends to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ wider and farther than ever. 

1. Church Facilities Conference & Expo (CFX) 2021

Dates: September 21-22, 2021

Price: Free for the virtual events

Location: Texas

Church Facilities Conference & Expo (CFX) 2021 Screenshot
CFX is aimed at helped churches up their technology game.

The CFX event is focused on equipping churches for a changing ministry landscape by becoming more technology savvy. It cuts across the board from leadership, management and communication to event production and facilities management. It is aimed at all church leaders from pastors, executive pastors and church staff, to technical artists and operations managers.

You can also access the events through live streaming on platforms like Facebook and video calls with the exhibitors. 

2. Live Design International (LDI) Conference

Dates: November 15-21, 2021

Price: $425-$705 onsite depending on preferred sessions

Location: Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC)

Live Design International (LDI) Conference Screenshot
LDI is great for a variety of professionals, including church leaders and pastors.

LDI is a conference and trade exhibition for various live design professionals across the world. It has over 16,000 members drawn from sectors like corporate events, houses of worship, concerts, and theme parks. 

Attendees will learn about the latest technologies, interact with industry experts, and nourish their creativity. The conference is a great fit for filmmakers and innovators interested in how church tech systems work for effective and productive church communication.

3. First In Last Out (FILO) Conference

Dates: May 11-12, 2021

Price: Available upon request

Location: Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Illinois

First In Last Out (FILO) Conference Screenshot
Anyone on your church stuff can benefit from the FILO conference.

The FILO Conference is for anyone involved in technology at their local church. It’s great for church staff working in audio or lighting, technical artists, music directors, creative directors, and worship pastors to anyone else who works with technical artists. 

The event encompasses the FILO Conference, FILO podcast, FILO Coaching, and the FILO Blog. The event will live streamed this year to accommodate those who are unable to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions.

4. SALT Conference

Dates: TBC

Price: To be communicated soon

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

SALT Conference Screenshot
SALT is a well known church conference focused on technology.

SALT is all about using technology creatively as a vehicle for God to communicate powerfully and intimately to His people. The conference is aimed at nurturing a technical and creative arts community and combines workshops on creativity with powerful talks and inspiring moments of worship. The 2020 edition of the SALT Conference was a virtual three-day event. Since plans for the 2021 edition are still underway, interested attendees can register for email updates on their sign-up page.

5. That Church Conference

Dates: 4th – 5th May, 2021

Price: Free online streaming, $97 for replay access

Location: Virtual

That Church Conference Screenshot
That Church Conference is an online conference for digital communicators within the church.

That Church Conference focuses on enabling Christian digital communicators to tell stories. Attendees will learn about church communication and practical marketing strategies, covering topics such as communications, technology, social media, marketing, and design. 

Top-notch speakers and Christian practitioners including leadership coaches, media producers, creative strategists, ministry consultants, communicators, pastors, and directors of communications will grace the event. 

Interested attendees will have the opportunity to stream the two-day virtual event for free or access a paid replay.

You can buy a Replay Pass at only $97 per year to view all the 5+ years of conference sessions.

6. Christian Leadership Alliance Outcomes Conference

Dates: June 15-17, 2021

Price: $899 for members, $1099 for non-members, $2,996 for a group of five

Location: Orlando, Florida

Christian Leadership Alliance Outcomes Conference Screenshot
Outcomes focuses on technology, people management, leadership, and more.

The Outcomes Conference has been a mainstay in the Cristian conference calendar for over 40 years. It aims to strengthen Christian leadership and impact, with a focus on:

  • Internet and Technology
  • People Management and Care
  • Financial Management
  • Executive Leadership
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Resource Development

It is a popular choice for church tech teams, church leaders, and Christian thought leaders. 

7. Thrive NorCal Conference

Dates: To be communicated soon

Price: From $199 for individuals

Location: Bayside Church, Granite Bay, California

Thrive NorCal Conference Screenshot
Thrive includes breakout sessions for churchgoers and pastors.

Thrive exists to create experiences and resources that encourage and inspire people everyone from church pastors to school students. 

The Thrive Conference features four mid and pre-conference breakouts through which attending churchgoers will gain inspiration on topics such as creative communications, preaching and speaking, worship and production, among others. Oh, they’re seriously fun too.

8. Christian Musician Summit

Dates: November 4-6, 2021

Price: $159

Location: Our Savior Lutheran Church, Tacoma, Washington

Christian Musician Summit Screenshot
The Christian Musician Summit is intended for worship leaders, teams, and other Christian musicians.

The Christian Musician Summit is for you if you are a Christian songwriter, worship leader, indie artist, church leader, gospel musician, or church technician. The summit has been running since 2003 and seeks to improve the skills and talents of musical individuals for the glory of God. 

Attendees are provided with practical sessions and resources to improve their skills and inspire talent for God’s glory. Workshops and performances are held by top industry musicians and there’s a real festival atmosphere.

Let Us Know How You Get On

Attending one or more of these conferences will provide you with plenty of knowledge and opportunities to network with other leaders in the Christian community.

Let us know how you get on and if there are any we missed off the list that you think are worthwhile to attend. 

While waiting for the conferences, here’s an article that will surely help you improve: 10 Top Church Technology Resources For Leaders in 2021.

If you’re an experienced church leader, consider joining our exclusive community to share fresh ideas and develop best practice in the local church.

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10 Top Church Technology Resources For Leaders [2021]

We live in an era where church technology resources are an essential part of any successful ministry. Statistics show that these resources can help churches and their staff members in many ways. These include enhancing worship, improving church communication, and automating administrative tasks.

Many people tend to associate technology with entertainment. Pope Francis once noted this among his congregants when they were using their phones to take photographs instead of concentrating on his sermon. Church leaders should set an example on proper usage of these resources in educating and strengthening congregations. 

In this article, I’m going to share ten church technology resources you can use to guide your adoption of church technology.

Church Technology Resources

1. Ministry Tech’s Magazine

Ministry Tech’s Magazine Screenshot
Ministry Tech Magazine has monthly publications.

Ministry Tech Magazine helps church leaders and administrative pastors solve technological challenges. 

This magazine also covers:

Ministry Tech Magazine is a free publication. Church leaders can subscribe to have monthly releases delivered in their email inboxes.

2. Resource UMC’s Communications & Marketing Blog

Resource UMC’s Communications Marketing Blog Screenshot
Get help with email communication and marketing.

Resource UMC is the ultimate church leader’s guide for all forms of communication, modern marketing, and church messaging. 

Other than being a great outreach and communication resource, Resource UMC also offers:

  • Tips on growing email audience and getting people to open your emails 
  • Church logo branding services
  • Digital ministry ideas
  • Outreach and marketing tools
  • Basics for sending urgent ministry updates via email

3. Technologies For Worship Magazine

Technologies For Worship Magazine Screenshot
Technologies for Worship homepage.

Technologies for Worship Magazine is a practical publication offering training on how worship leaders can make the best use of technology in churches.

Other benefits include:

  • Ministry Tech lessons.
  • Monthly magazines on developing technological trends.
  • Access to the best church audio App in the world-Turn It Up.

4. ChurchTechToday

Church Tech Today Screenshot
ChurchTechToday offers content on chuch management software.

ChurchTechToday is a website dedicated to helping church leaders, pastors, and church communicators gain insight into topics like:

  • Social media and worship
  • Websites
  • Software usage
  • Mobile phones

ChurchTechToday’s main aim is to shed light on empowering and positioning churches for growth through church technology. 

5. The Church Juice Blog eBook

The Church Juice Blog eBook Screenshot
ChurchJuice Technology Guide Resources for the Church.

ChurchJuice knows the importance of social media in how congregations, churches, and communities interact. 

It offers:

  • Tips and strategies on how your church can benefit from Facebook 
  • 5 things to include in your church website
  • A list of 25 best church websites and their values.

This eBook is free and church leaders can get it delivered to their email inbox once they subscribe. The resource is also downloadable from the ChurchJuice website.

6. Behind the Mixer Church Audio Artistry

Behind the Mixer Church Audio Artistry Screenshot
Church audio equipment.

Behind the Mixer is a church technology resource dedicated to teaching churches about enhancing their sound systems. 

The team of engineers will:

  • Guide you on buying the best equipment 
  • Teach you the basics of audio productions
  • Offer free question and answer sessions on church tech

Behind the Mixer has a lot of useful, free resources and church podcasts on their website.

7. Church Magazine

Church Magazine Screenshot
An example Churchmag post from 2020.

Church magazine documents all the occurrences in the church. For example, 2020 being a year of COVID-19 pandemic, reflections posts include:

  • Church life through pandemic
  • Tools used during the pandemic by leaders to take their church online
  • Church response to COVID-19 pandemic
  • Effects of the pandemic on Christian faith

This non-profit magazine may cover many topics on church activities that church leaders can use to take the ministry to the next level.

8. Discplr Children Ministry Magazine

Discplr Children Ministry Magazine Screenshot
Children Bible Story Books.

Discplr magazine contains beneficial lessons church leaders can use to train and prepare kids for ministry from a young age.

Key teachings included are:

  • Free Sunday school lessons
  • How to organize kids ministry
  • Ministry empowerment tools for parents and teachers
  • Children’s’ Bible stories and lessons 

The Discplr magazine also includes adult teachings discussing methods to stick to the mission of the church and maximize your potential in the ministry lessons are discussed.

9. Church Motion Graphics

Church Motion Graphics Screenshot
How church leaders can use CMG.

Church Motion Graphics is a technology resource meant to help church leaders:

  • Learn how to improve live streaming
  • Set up video calls
  • Virtually engage their audiences
  • Organize church media

10. Pushpay and Church Management

Pushpay and Church Management Screenshot
Church leader using a church software.

Pushpay is a template that offers various important church technology resources for church leaders including:

  • On-demand Pushpay University lessons for church leaders
  • Tips on planning and managing church budget
  • Church management software
  • Custom-branded church Apps.

Final Thoughts

It is the 21st century and Church leaders should take full advantage of church technology resources to enhance their worship services. Here’s our list of The Best Church Technology Conferences In 2021 you should take a good look at.

Are you looking to set your church up with a website but don’t know where to start? Find some inspiration here: 20 Best Church Website Designs In 2021

Check out The Lead Pastor community for more resources and content for church leaders.

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10 Best Church Leadership Books

While a leader’s primary source of wisdom will always be the Bible, those who embrace other sources of knowledge have more tools and context for its interpretation, and case studies for how best to apply biblical teaching in a modern church leadership role. 

When searching for church leadership books there are a lot to choose from, but not all authors have the strong theological education and discipleship experience to provide instruction on church leadership.

So how do you find the best books for you and your leadership team without reading through the entire bookstore? The humble book review is here to help. In this list, we bring you some of the most iconic Christian leadership books that teach different approaches to the unique challenges of pastoral ministry. 

Best Church Leadership Books

1. Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence For Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders

Part of the Sanders Spiritual Growth series, this book is best read by church leaders looking to enhance their leadership in the spiritual and physical realms to lead their congregation or church community better under the strong guidance of the teachings of Jesus Christ. 

The book draws from the Scripture and has elaborate examples of charismatic servants of God like Nehemiah, Moses, Paul the apostle, and Charles Spurgeon. While Sanders recognizes that natural leadership attributes are a gift from God, they are only truly effective when used to bring glory to God. As such, church leaders keen on enhancing their leadership abilities should check out this book and draw from its teachings on topics such as:

  • The one major requirement of true leadership
  • The cost of true leadership
  • Leadership responsibility
  • Tests of leadership
  • How to reproduce good leaders
  • The attributes of quality leadership
  • The criteria of quality leadership.
  • The key principles of true leadership

2. The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World by Peter Scazzero

This is part of the eight books in Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality series and is best for church leaders looking to enhance their inner life to make more impact in their leadership in the church and the world at large. 

The book shows church leaders how they can build a satisfying Christ-led inner life and focuses on key areas such as overcoming stress, planning, decision-making, team building, influencing other people and nurturing a healthy culture. It is geared toward helping you become a holistic individual with the proper emotional health required to lead as a Christian. 

The book focuses on some key areas such as:

  • Helpful tips on facing your shadow, leading others whether you are married or single, slowing down, and embracing new beginnings out of different endings
  • Elaborate assessments meant for leaders to gauge their leadership health
  • Practical, tried, and tested ways for equipping leaders both at local churches and internationally all over the world
  • Core issues of unique Christian leadership.

3. Who Moved My Pulpit?: Leading Change in the Church by Thom S. Rainer

This 160-page church leadership book is a good choice for ministers, pastors, lay leaders, and other key leaders in the church who are struggling with understanding and managing change in a fast-changing world. As much as change is inevitable and is beneficial for the development of a church, Christian leaders need to know how to embrace such change to ensure both they, and the entire church, remain spiritually healthy. 

This short book will cost you a few hours of your time to read or listen to but it will be a gem in your journey with church leadership, especially where changes are frequent and intensive. It will equip you with some of the following key points:

  • Knowing where change is coming from
  • Knowing why changes are happening
  • Finding out how you should deal with the changes while still following God all along
  • Being ahead of change to ensure your church remains true to its timeless calling while still serving opportunities in the new era
  • How to change approaches to reach a fast-changing culture.

You can also check out Rainer’s other bestseller, Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive. 

4. Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger

Sometimes as a church leader, minister, or pastor you may find that the tables have turned and you are leading in a cultural context that is way different than your expectations. 

You may realize that, at such times, your training holds you back rather than carrying you along. This celebrated book by Tod Bolsinger changes such scenarios for you and illuminates your leadership path with practical insights for reimagining effective leadership.

In a fast-changing world, you will need more than just canoes to conquer the mountains of modern-day Christian ministry. I like Bolsinger’s book as it leads the reader into finding new navigational tools to be able to conquer the hardships of ministry. 

The book now has a study guide that helps you formulate ways to lead in Christianity with courage and confidence. The most important thing to do when you find yourself in a different cultural context is to adapt to new ways of leadership, and this book will help you do so drawing from Bolsinger’s extensive pastoral experience.

5. Courageous Leadership: Field-Tested Strategy for the 360° Leader by Bill Hybels

If your zeal is to do your best to effectively lead your church in spreading God’s message of hope to bring change in the world, then this is the right book for you. As a leader, you have the potential to positively change the world by bringing believers together and nurturing their spiritual gifts to help non-believers become devout followers of Jesus Christ. This book will show you the right tools to use to achieve this noble responsibility.

The one major aspect I like about the book is that it draws heavily from Hybels’ personal life experiences, through which he brings out important life principles with compelling first-hand stories. Hybels explores the challenges, tasks, and tools of your true calling. Among other things, he helps you to:

  • Discover the power of a vision and turn it into constructive action
  • Embrace change
  • Discover your leadership style
  • Walk with God and stay put in your God-given course
  • Develop other leaders; and 
  • Make the best of the spiritual gift of leadership in you.

6. Leading Change Without Losing It: Five Strategies That Can Revolutionize How You Lead Change When Facing Opposition by Carey Nieuwhof

Leading Change Without Losing It is part of Nieuwhof’s The Change Trilogy and is a good fit for the church leader who has encountered opposition while trying to bring about change. 

As a leader you try your best to bring change into an otherwise disoriented world, but this is often met by opposition and you have to equip yourself with means of navigating the change itself as well as the opposition.

Nieuwhof’s book helps you bring about change without losing it through the following five strategies:

  • Determining the people who support or are opposed to the change and why
  • Deciding where to put your undivided attention
  • Developing the questions that will inform your course of action
  • Learning to attack problems rather than the people fronting them
  • Persevering right up to the crucial breakthrough.

Other church leaders will find this book a gem as they try to navigate the uncertain waters of bringing change in the ministry and leaving a positive lasting legacy in their churches and beyond. 

7. In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri Nouwen

At only 107 pages, Henri Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus is a short read. It’s aimed at church leaders curious about discovering Nouwen’s unique approach to Christian leadership as not just the effort of church leaders but also that of the entire church community. 

Nouwen believes that the best way to determine the success of leadership is to consider the “communal and mutual experience” rather than the ordinary consideration of the effectiveness of the leader only. This unique approach posits that leadership without the community is impossible since, as Christians, we are all collectively called by God into enjoying a common experience. 

Church leaders, pastors, and ministers will find this book a game-changer amongst the broad outlook on matters of church leadership as they now have to factor in the contribution of the congregation in shaping leadership. 

It is not enough to recognize that, as a leader, you have the responsibility to lead. It is important to know and understand the role your community plays in how effective or ineffective your leadership turns out. 

8. The Motive: Why So Many Leaders Abdicate Their Most Important Responsibilities by Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni’s approach to major leadership lessons using simple fables endears him to scores of readers across the world. The Motive is one such fable that Christian and business leaders can look to for tips on examining their true motivation for taking up leadership. 

While it calls for utmost honesty to oneself, not many leaders would be able to fully discover the true motivation behind their zeal to lead. Lencioni presents us with practical ways of examining ourselves to see what spurs us into leadership.

By following his actionable tips, as leaders we are able to avoid the loopholes that kill our church communities and eliminate the pitfalls that cause hurt to the very followers we are serving. 

Lencioni uses plot twists and dialogues to bring us to an unexpected and equally enlightening resolution, coupled with simple life lessons from the fable and practical advice drawn from his theory on leadership and life in general. 

9. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

This bestseller is part of Sinek’s Start with Why series. It explores, in depth, the idea that leaders need to determine the reasons or motives that drive people into joining a movement or service. For the leader, the Why part would include assessing oneself to determine the reason you are involved in leadership.

This is a must-read leadership book for examining the real-life motivations that guide people into different lines of action. He also draws comparisons between major world leaders who, although from different backgrounds, exhibit similarities in their manner of thinking, acting, and communicating. Sinek names this aspect The Golden Circle. 

The Golden Circle offers a system through which movements are led, organizations built, and people inspired. Sinek provokes us with several questions, such as why some people command greater loyalty from both employees and customers. The same methods can be replicated in church situations. 

10. Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future by Andy Stanley

Church leadership will soon become obsolete if churches fail to invest in leadership development to bring up a future disciple team from the youth ranks. In this book, Andy Stanley notes that missional mandates can be instilled in the youth to prepare them for leadership roles in the future through equipping them with the five basic characteristics: 

  • Clarity
  • Courage
  • Coachability
  • Competence; and
  • Character.

Andy Stanley shows us how the future crop of leaders can be mentored through practical advice and approaches to:

  • Leverage uncertainty
  • Maintain stable moral authority
  • Discover and tap into one’s strengths
  • Enlist the help of leadership coaches
  • Harness one’s fears.

At only 176 pages long, this is a must-read for all church leaders who realize the importance of nurturing the next generation. Just like a robust country thrives on how best the youths are trained, a healthy church calls for an equipped young generation.


Other ways to improve your ability to lead churches and congregations include church leadership training programs and attending church leadership conferences. And as we all know, leaders are always learning new things. Why not take a look at this article: 10 Top Church Technology Resources For Leaders in 2021.

Make sure to check out our membership program as well, where we connect church leaders and pastors and help each other grow.

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10 Best Church Leadership Training Programs In 2021

Looking for the best church leadership training in 2021? Join us to explore and rate leadership training programs that will to help you and your teams build stronger church leadership strategies for your congregation. 

10 Best Church Leadership Training Programs

1. Arrow LeadershipFind clarity for an uncertain future

Arrow Leadership screenshot for Church Leadership Training Programs Screenshot
Learn to become a Jesus-centered leader with the Arrow Leadership Program.

The Arrow Leadership Program for church leaders is divided into Team Development, One-on-one Coaching, an Executive Leaders Stream, and an Emerging Leaders Stream. All these modules are structured differently to serve the unique needs of different levels of church leadership. The program offers various resources including small groups, the monthly Sharpening Leaders blog, leadership tune-ups, and free downloadable tools.

The Emerging Leaders Stream launches virtually on March 19, 2021 and runs through June 18, 2022 at $5,500, with a partner pricing option available.

The Virtual Executive Stream for senior church leaders launches on June 25, 2021, and runs through August 26, 2022 at $9,250, also with the partner pricing option available.

2. Foundations in Missional Ministry and Church Leadership CurriculumCertificate and diploma courses in church leadership

Foundations in Missional Ministry and Church Leadership Curriculum Screenshot
Certificate and diploma Christian courses courtesy of Tyndale University.

The Tyndale University church leadership program features a certificate and diploma course. Christian leaders are expected to complete four units for the certificate, and eight units for the diploma course. Students who have completed the certificate can obtain a diploma by studying four more units at the diploma level.

Some of the topics include Bible Interpretation and Survey of the Old and the New Testament.

3. Pastoral Care and Leadership – Short course for advanced pastors

Pastoral Care and Leadership Screenshot for Church Leadership Training Programs
Free online course on pastoral care and leadership.

Dr. John Johson of Western Seminary offers a free online course for advanced pastors on pastoral care and leadership focusing on preaching, leadership, and Biblical theology. A succinct 17 hours, this audio and video course equips you with the skills and knowledge required to be a good leader, nurture good leaders in the local church, grow from conflict, and relate well with the members and church staff. 

4. Mindful Leadership Training – Best customized training for an all-round, healthy church

Mindful Leadership Training for Church Leadership Training Programs Screenshot
Organization-specific training and public eLearning from the Institute for Mindful Leadership.

The Institute for Mindful Leadership has been running this training program for over 15 years with custom offerings to organizations, in-person workshops, and retreats. The program is aimed at equipping leaders with greater resiliency and more capacity for excellence.

The program currently has an online course for February, a workshop for March, and an upcoming retreat whose dates will be released soon.

5. Certificate of Biblical Leadership Course – Learn and grow in leadership for spiritual influence

Certificate of Biblical Leadership Course Screenshot
Three-part, 78-lesson Christian leadership training from Axx.

This course is best for beginner leaders starting their biblical leadership journey and looking to benefit from excellent ministry training for spiritual influence in the church and beyond. Leaders on the program have full lifetime access to the course materials and get a personalized certificate upon completion.

We love the low cost of the program as it is affordable for most leaders at only AUD 30 per month.

6. Administration and Leadership Webinars and Online Classes – Best courses for church administration

Administration and Leadership Webinars and Online Classes for Church Leadership Training Programs Screenshot
Webinars and Online Classes about Administration from Sacred Space Online Learning.

This leadership training focuses on ensuring people in the church leadership pipeline are fully equipped for church administration and religious leadership, with topics such as Nonprofit management, developing leadership styles, church fair trade stores, church websites, running small groups, and volunteer management.

The courses are offered on an on-demand basis across Canada and the U.S.

7. Emotionally Healthy Discipleship – Becoming the emotionally healthy leader your church needs

Emotionally Healthy Discipleship for Church Leadership Training Programs Screenshot
Transform into an emotionally healthy church leader for your church and the world.

Peter Scazzero shows you how to transform from an ordinary to the executive pastor your church needs by improving your emotional intelligence and well-being. You’ll be able to develop a new vision for healthy church leadership, integrate your personality with your calling, and lead the transformation of your church staff.

You’ll also draw inspiration from one of Scazzero’s bestseller leadership books – The Emotionally Healthy Leader.

8. Equipping Leaders International Leadership training – Courses for equipping leaders to transform their world

Equipping Leaders International Leadership Training Screenshot
Training on church leadership development from Equipping Leaders Inc.

Equipping Leaders International focuses on training that covers local church leadership, church rejuvenation, church planting, and administration of Christian schools. It seeks to equip pastors with formal training required for the effective running and management of the rapidly expanding churches.

The course covers the effects of hindrances such as corrupt governments, Western dependence, limited opportunities for ongoing education, and economic poverty to ensure that leaders can still bring glory to God through their service.

9. Building Church Leaders – Practical training tools for team members

Building Church Leaders Screenshot for Church Leadership Training Programs Screenshot
Best leadership training for a holistic church.

This program aims at producing a holistic church with high capacity ministry leadership across the board from pastors to lay leaders and other general church staff. The training focuses on mentoring church teams to enhance their competencies, gifting, and discipleship with a renewed passion for outreach to bring more people to God.

The training is best for leaders looking to enhance both themselves and their entire church by developing a united church as per the teachings of Ephesians 4.

10. Dallas Theological Seminary courses – Free Christian courses for podcast lovers

Dallas Theological Seminary Courses for Church Leadership Training Program Screenshot
Free podcast and email-based courses from the Dallas Theological Seminary.

The Dallas Theological Seminary offers free Christian courses on church leadership skills and other aspects through their podcast and weekly emails. Key topics include suffering, racial reconciliation, repentance, and walking with God through church leadership.

Next Steps

Finding the best church leadership training for yourself or church staff doesn’t have to be an uphill task if you consider insights from our list. There’s at least one training suitable for your every Christian leadership need! 

In fact, we’ve also compiled a list of the 10 Best Church Leadership Conferences In 2021 to make it easier for you!

If you’re simply looking for more resources to add to your library, here’s our list of the 10 Best Church Leadership Books.

Are you a church leader who wants to connect with others to share knowledge and best practices? Apply to join our exclusive community of church leaders and access to a private, moderated forum with other lead pastors.

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19 Best Church Website Designs In 2021 [With Stats + Analysis]

Planning to upgrade your church website in 2021, and looking for inspiration? Look no further than our list of the top 21 church websites.

We compiled this list based on how engaging and intuitive the website design is for site visitors.

Our Comparison Criteria For The Best Church Websites:

So how did we compare and compile this list of the best church websites? These rankings are based on a snap judgment test. The average web user forms an opinion in about 50 milliseconds based on many factors: structure, colors, spacing, symmetry, amount of text, fonts, and more.

So this is the test we’ve used – we tested each of these websites as if I were a new visitor in the area looking for a church. Ultimately though, we’re evaluating the church website design and user experience. We estimate how easy the website makes it to:

  • Find service information
  • Get in touch with someone
  • Catch up on the latest sermon or podcast
  • Get involved

20 Best Church Website Designs

1. Elevation Church – Best church website for newcomers

Elevation Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Elevation Church’s website homepage: probably the best church website in 2021!

What we like:

The Elevation Church website is clean and simple. They’ve got stacks of content, but they draw you in with the primary call to action to watch their latest sermon and service. We love how easy they’ve made it to get involved with quick links to Giving, Groups, Volunteering, Outreach, and their e-Fam. They make it really easy for newcomers with their ‘New here?’ call to action which takes you through to easily digestible content for newcomers, and a way to engage their VIP program – which is really just a form, but it feels good!

2. Passion City Church – Best church website for everyday sharefaith resources

Passion City Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Passion City Church website: your go-to site for daily Christian resources.

What we like:

The website is simple and appealing to the eye with attractive videos playing in the background. The site has several resources in the form of tutorials, and it is even easy to watch the last Sunday’s sermon right from the homepage. 

The site invites you to their next online session with an option to mark it on your calendar for ease of remembrance! From their homepage, there’s a link for giving with several options like online giving, mobile phone giving, cash and checks, and Amazon Smile.

3. Glow Church – Best church website for Christian podcasts

Glow Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Glow Church website: enjoy the site’s laser glow color scheme.

What we like:

The homepage enlists some basic links to podcasts, giving, prayer requests, and connection options. The podcasts are available on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Spotify to offer new visitors a variety of ways to access them. Giving is easy based on your location in Australia or through their online giving platform. You can also use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum for giving!

It’s easy to connect with the leadership when you fill in the prayer and request form, join connect groups, or visit their online campus, which is the major item with a call to action on the site. 

4. All Souls – Best church website for downloadable sermons

All Souls Best Church Website Design Screenshot
All Souls Church website: easy does it!

What we like:

The website is simply designed with easily accessible site controls for every church service, involvement in the church community, giving, upcoming events, and past sermons. 

The site welcomes users to the sermon library where they can download MP3 versions of past sermons for free. There are different ways to give, and the site has downloadable copies of financial accounts for the past years!

5. Christ Church London – Best church website for online church services

Christ Church London Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Christ Church London website: one of the most vibrant church sites.

What we like:

The website has a lot of links to different functions, but the most eye-catching is the primary call to action for visitors to watch the services online through their Church at Home feature. We also love the straightforward links to options like pastoral support, online courses, connect groups, giving, and the latest podcasts that are accessible right from the homepage! 

6. Holy Trinity Brompton Church – Best church website for free Christian courses

Holy Trinity Brompton Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
HTB Church website: best church website coupled with a strong online presence.

What we like:

The website has a very simple design with a minimalist approach. New visitors are invited to access the free online courses on theology, marriage, and bereavement. You can also stay fully connected through their social media platforms and monthly email newsletter, HTB Snapshot. The giving platform offers you over seven ways to give depending on your preference. You’ll find a detailed navigation menu at the bottom of the homepage. 

7. Church of the City New York – Best church site with clear service times

Church Of The City New York Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Church of the City New York website: conquering the city spiritually.

What we like:

This is a New York church community that currently hosts online services each Sunday under four unique service times, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. The main call to action for new visitors is to join the community Morning Prayer sessions each weekday to pray together through the previous Sunday’s sermon. You’ll find the links to giving, church calendar, podcast, and social media in the navigation menu at the bottom. 

8. C3 Toronto – Best church site for sermon playbacks

C3 Toronto Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
C3 Toronto church website: best site with large icons and diverse color scheme.

What we like:

What meets your eye on the site are large blocks with various links to access playbacks for the previous Sunday’s sermon, connection options for newcomers, online giving, and podcasts. You can further connect with the church by filling out their Online Connect Card and following them on social media. 

9. Bethel Church – Best church website for ongoing followers

Bethel Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Bethel Church website: the best website with sliding tabs.

What we like:

The website has a detailed navigation menu with controls best suited for the existing church members. The UX makes it easy for you to access upcoming events, Bethel Store, downloadable podcasts, and Christian music. You can also stream some of the online church services via Bethel.TV for free.

10. Westminster Chapel – Most welcoming church site

Westminster Chapel Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Westminster Chapel website: simple, compact, easy to navigate.

What we like:

The most outstanding feature that draws the eyes of new visitors to the site is the ‘Come As You Are’ clarion call inviting people from all walks of life to join the church community, which they describe as a ‘Family of all sorts’. New visitors can join the online church Sunday services as well as weekly life groups. There’s a link for giving options and downloading free MP3 versions of the latest sermons. 

11. Reality Church London – Best site for Bible study sessions

Reality Church London Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Reality Church London website: simplicity and high-quality combined.

What we like:

The Reality Church London has a simple but high-quality website design with basic action links to connect groups, giving, and resources like the latest sermons. New visitors can easily join the men’s or women’s Bible study sessions that take place online. 

12. Summit Park Church – Best church website for life group access

Summit Park Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Summit Park Church website: One of the most easy-to-navigate websites.

What we like:

The website strikes a lasting first impression as it opens to a homepage with a lively video background with high-quality Christian videography. The weekday and Sunday service times for their two locations are listed. New visitors can choose between joining the online or in-person sessions. The Life Groups are in nine categories and users can request advice on the best ones to join as a newcomer. 

13. Isla Vista Church – Most basic church website with a minimalist approach to text

Isla Vista Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Isla Vista church website: best site with the most basic web design.

What we like:

Perhaps the most basic church website design, the Isla Vista Church website has a simple layout with direct access buttons to giving, latest sermons, church podcast, and weekly calendar. New visitors can receive regular church updates via text once they register for the same through the SMS number provided on the site. 

14. Citipointe Church – Best church website for pre-attendance reservations

Citipointe Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Citipointe Church website: perhaps the best website with colorful video backgrounds.

What we like:

The website opens to a full-screen video background on the homepage and has large blocks with links to life groups, world events and updates, different church locations, and giving options. New visitors can join the online services or opt to either join in-person sessions with or without prior reservations. 

15. Embrace Church – Best church website with chatbot support

Embrace Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Embrace Church website: white space meets large access icons.

What we like:

The website is simply designed with very little text and plenty of open white space. The header menu displays basic links to giving options, the latest sermons, and church contacts. Potential visitors can use the ‘New Here?’ call button to access groups, a connection card, and even contact the church through the chatbot. 

16. Flatirons Community Church – Best church website for transparency on giving dynamics

Flatirons Community Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Flatirons Community Church website: color and functionality blended into one.

What we like:

The website opens to a video background with a call to watch the latest sermon. From the large blocks, new visitors can link to groups and giving statements for the previous year. The giving and Flatirons Academy links are accessible at the bottom. 

17. World Changers International Church – Best church website for streaming services

World Changers International Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
World Changers Church website: one of the best sites with colorful video backgrounds.

What we like:

The website combines the latest design trends like video background with colorful static images and large blocks inviting visitors to access various options like streaming church services, registering for upcoming events and blood donation drives, and giving. First-time visitors can watch a series of past sermons and podcasts via the resource center once they click on the ‘Watch’ call to action button under the First Time Visitor banner. 

18. Second Baptist Church – Best church website with the most attractive color scheme

Second Baptist Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Second Baptist Church website: for the simplest domain name.

What we like:

The website has a simple design with a pleasant color scheme and high-quality photography. I love the colorful interplay when scrolling through the large banners with links to giving, past sermons, prayer requests, upcoming events, locations, and the next steps to take as a newcomer to nurture your faith with the church. 

19. Gateway Church – Best church website for dual language users

Gateway Church Best Church Website Designs Screenshot
Gateway Church website: keeping it simple and easy to navigate.

What we like:

The website opens to a video of the latest service playable right on the website. I love the eye-catching large banners with links and action buttons to different options like planning a first-time, in-person or online visit, registering your child for the Children’s Ministry, connecting with Gateway groups, Gateway Essentials store, and the online Equip Library. The site offers text in both English and Espanol.

Other Great Church Websites For 2021

These didn’t quite make the cut for the best church website, but if you’re looking for more inspiration, check these out:

  1. Fellowship Church
  2. Life Church
  3. Lakewood Church
  4. Saddleback Church
  5. Christ’s Church Of The Valley
  6. Willow Creek Community Church
  7. Newspring Church
  8. Southeast Christian Church
  9. Central Church
  10. North Point Community Church
  11. Calvary Church
  12. Eagle Brook Church
  13. Woodlands Church
  14. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale
  15. Christ Fellowship Church
  16. Dream City Church
  17. Church Of The Highlands
  18. Crossroads Church

How Can I Have My Church’s Website Considered For The List?

Add a comment at the end of the post and include your church website’s URL. That’s it! You’ll be considered for the list when we compile it again for 2022.

Get started building your own church website with church website builder software!

Have you ever considered setting a YouTube channel up for your church? Here’s our guide on how to get started.

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10 Best Church Leadership Conferences In 2021

Church leadership conferences are a great way for leaders to unwind from daily church life tasks. They are an opportunity to recharge, refresh, learn, collect resources and connect with other like-minded leaders. 

These conferences have many benefits, and that is why church leaders set aside time every year to attend them. Some leaders choose to bring along other church staff so that they can learn and grow together. 

In this article, we will share the ten best in-person and online church leadership conferences of 2021.

Best Church Leadership Conferences List

This a selection of the best church leadership conferences you can attend in 2021.

1. LeaderCast Live

Dates: May 5, 2021
Price: $79
Location: Cincinnati, OH 45221, United States

Leadercast Live Church Leadership Conferences Image
Previous LeaderCast Live Conference.

This is a one-day annual leadership event targeting leaders attending individually or in small groups. The event is meant to inspire and help pastors better their leadership roles and attracts over 100,000 visionaries every year.

LeaderCast’s mission is to create confident and infectiously inspired leaders who spread their impact on others. They cover every aspect of what it is to be an effective leader.

The conference can be attended virtually, but you can still connect with other leaders in your area to enjoy the classes by leadership experts.

2. Church Leaders Conference

Dates: April 27-29, 2021
Price: $180 (individual), $120-$150 (groups)
Location: Dallas, TX

Church Leaders Conferences Church Leadership Conferences Image
Jubilation at a past Church Leaders Conference.

Thousands of church leaders from different places meet in Dallas, TX to be encouraged by God’s vision, refreshed among other servant-leaders, and get equipped with leadership roles to advance God’s ministry.

It is a three-day conference with a pre-conference workshop to give you personal training and an opportunity to learn from other ministry leaders.

Breakout sessions will equip and resource you in many areas. Ministry overviews, leadership developments, and culture-relevant topics are just a few areas that will be featured in the talks.

All attendees receive all breakout session audios, podcasts, and resources at no additional fee.  

3. Christian Leadership Alliance Outcomes Conference

Dates: June 15-17, 2021
Price: $899 (members), $1,099 (non-members)
Location: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel, Orlando, Florida

Christian Leadership Alliance Outcomes Conference Church Leadership Conferences Screenshot
Outcomes Conference dates for 2021.

The Christian leadership alliance has been hosting Outcomes Conferences for more than 40 years.

Other than executive leadership offered at this conference, the Outcomes Conference professional development also focuses on:

  • People Management and Care
  • Financial Management
  • Tax and Legal Studies
  • Board Governance
  • Communications and Marketing
  • Internet and Technology
  • Resource Development

This annual conference offers leaders the opportunity to build intentional relationships at both spiritual and professional levels.

You can check discounted prices for the conference for those attending in small groups on their website.

4. Catalyst

Dates: Available on request
Price: Free
Location: Online

Catalyst Church Leadership Conferences Image
Speakers at Catalyst come from diverse backgrounds.

Catalyst aims at empowering upcoming and existing leaders who love the gospel and want to be great revolutionaries in their churches. The Catalyst was purposely founded to strengthen and empower new crops of leaders across the globe. 

It aims at unifying, challenging, and equipping these leaders with various traditions and church originations. Leaders who attend benefit from world-class mentorship from business leaders and celebrated biblical teachers coming from diverse backgrounds.

Catalyst is an online program available on-demand for leaders who want to benefit from both business and church leadership mentoring. 

5. Arc Conference

Dates:  Available on-demand
Price: Free
Location: Online

Arc Conferences Church Leadership Conferences Screenshot
ARC Conference’s focus theme.

The Association of Related Churches (ARC) Conference’s main aim is to help leaders, pastors, and future church planters build a relationship that can help local churches to prosper. 

The ARC strongly believes in equipping leaders with proper leadership skills through sharing life experience stories. The conference focuses on sharing each others’ stories of love, perseverance, trials, and adventures that have shaped them into who they are.

This conference is available on demand. Christian leaders seeking to benefit can get more information from the ARC website about their conferences.

6. Creative Church Culture (C3) Conference

Dates: February 18, 2021
Price: $49
Location: Dallas, TX

Creative Church Culture Church Leadership Conferences Image
The 2021 C3 Conference theme.

The C3 conference is a one-day event of intensive coaching, teaching, and learning on ways to advance the church. At the C3 conference, experienced leaders answer tough questions on how they have maneuvered the challenging leadership journey.

This is an online conference and leaders can host other church staff for a watch party. 

7. North Coast Training

Dates: October 19-20, 2021
Price: $49
Location: Vista, CA

North Coast Training Church Leadership Conferences Image
Church leaders interact at a previous North Coast Training Conference.

North Coast Training is a two-day practical tool for pastors and other church communicators. With break-out sessions and keynote speeches, your team will acquire knowledge and inspiration for foundational leadership and team building.

There will be both pre-conference and break-out sessions. Tickets are affordable at only $49 with lunch included. Church leaders are encouraged to bring along their teams to benefit.

8. Exponential Conference

Dates: October 18-21, 2021
Price: $39 (individual), $24-$29 (groups)
Location: Orlando, Florida

Exponential Conferences Church Leadership Conferences Screenshot
Exponential includes roundtable discussions.

The Exponential Conference is among the largest church-planting annual gatherings for church leaders. It offers church leaders an opportunity to meet with other God’s people and connect with other planters.

Attendees can choose from over 200 workshops aimed at specific planters’ needs. This conference will be a 3-day event aimed at educating and inspiring planters on their leadership roles.

Exponential Conference also has a provision for those who can’t afford both time and money to attend. Regional conferences are offered close to your homes. This is a great opportunity for those who would wish to bring along their teams.

9. That Church Conference

Dates: May 4 & 5, 2021
Price: Free
Location: Aired online from Atlanta, Georgia

That Church Conferences Church Leadership Conferences Screenshot
That Church Conference offers free tickets.

That Church Conference is a two-day nonprofit online event for pastors and church leaders aimed at helping digital communicators enhance their communication and reach a wider audience through the gospel. 

Attendees benefit from lessons by real practitioners. Topics covered include marketing, social media, technology, and communications.

Those who wish to benefit can either choose to sign up and watch live for free or buy a Replay Pass to watch later.

10. The Global Leadership Summit

Dates: August 5 & 6, 2021
Price: $169 (individual), $149 (2+ attendees)
Location: Great Hill Baptist Church, Austin, Texas, US

The Global Leadership Channel Church Leadership Conferences Screenshot
The guest speakers at The Global Leadership Summit 2021.

The Global Leadership Summit brings together thousands of growth-minded leaders from around the world.

You’ll experience highly interactive sessions that will leave you re-energized and with a clear vision. Business experts and church leaders will give talks on various faculties including:

  • Maximizing profitability
  • Building trust
  • Overcoming fear
  • Improving workplace civility
  • Managing conflict
  • Influencing change

You can choose to attend either in-person or online.

Let Us Know Your Favorite

Church leadership conferences offer leaders an opportunity to learn and benefit those they lead. Congregations are encouraged to support their leaders and other church staff to attend these annual gatherings.
Let us know if you have a favorite from the list above or if there are any you’d like to recommend.

Looking for even more conferences? Here’s our list of the Best Church Technology Conferences 2021 you might want to show your technical team.

Make sure to read our articles on the 10 Best Church Leadership Books and the 10 Top Church Technology Resources For Leaders In 2021 so you can train more people to take on leadership roles long before sending them off to conferences!

Experienced running a church? Interested in sharing knowledge and collaborating with other leaders? You can apply to join our community of experienced Lead Pastors here.

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9 Biggest Streaming Churches And The Software They Use

Technology is rapidly changing the way churches are welcoming people to worship services and sermons. 

“Whether you are joining us in person or online, we invite you to experience our services and be a part of the Lakewood family.” This is how the nondenominational Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, welcomes those who visit the church’s website. On March 15, 2020, 4.6 million worshippers accepted this invitation and followed the church’s live streaming service. 

When the Covid-19 pandemic started wreaking havoc across the world at the beginning of 2020, church services had to be suspended in many parts of the world in compliance with government regulations. If this was a time to panic for many other businesses, the story was different for streaming platforms, businesses offering streaming software, and social media companies.

In this article, I focus on the 10 biggest live streaming churches. I will also look at the reasons the number of live streaming churches is growing. The article also identifies the software these churches use for video streaming of their Sunday service or any other services for that matter. 

Related Read: Getting Your Ministry Online Fast!

Churches Have Always Embraced Technology 

Even though sermons on platforms like YouTube, Facebook Live, and Zoom may be gaining traction because of Covid-19, churches have been embracing technology for some time now. Before churches could live stream, many recorded their sermons and distributed them either for free or for a fee. Others had their Sunday services aired by major broadcasters. 

An article published by TheGuardian.com tells the story of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, and how it was already embracing basic software by 2008.

The Guardian reports that, as far back as 2008, the church was already using software to track children in church and register them for Bible studies. Congregants could also “go online to request counseling on a variety of spiritual and personal matters.”  

In 2009, Daniel Terdiman wrote an article for the technology website Cnet.com entitled “Technology and the megachurch.” He starts his article with a question: “If you’re in charge of what is thought to be one of the most powerful, influential and important megachurches in the United States, if not the world, how do you make sure that your message is reaching the largest possible audience?” 

The answer to Terdiman’s question comes easily for Brady Boyd, the lead pastor at the New Life Church: “technology.” 

In case a one-word answer was not sufficient for Terdiman, Boyd extends his answer: “Churches have to stay current. We’re in the communications business.” Adding, “The whole purpose of a church is to communicate a message of truth … We have to stay informed, and we have to realize that most of the world is rapidly advancing in their ability to communicate.” 

Photo of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Texas for Church Streaming Software
Prestonwood Baptist Church, Texas is an early adopter of streaming technologies.

Why Churches Are Resorting To Live Streaming  

Churches have always been conscious that technologies like video streaming could assist them in reaching bigger audiences. This is a view also acknowledged by the Japanese electronics manufacturer Panasonic. According to Panasonic, “Producing an immersive, remote worship experience can also extend the reach of your church beyond the local community and give congregants the opportunity to view missed services through on-demand video.”

Like all other sectors of society, churches realize that the consumption of messages is mostly happening online. This is a reality noted by commentators like Matt Binder, who writes for the digital media platform Mashable.com. The headline of his article tells the whole story: “The live streaming boom isn’t slowing down anytime soon.”    

Referring to the future of worship services after the pandemic, Binder quotes Eli Noam, a Columbia Business School professor. Noam asks some pertinent questions: “If a church, for example, continues to Livestream services after the pandemic, will the elderly, sick, and people with children just find it easier to attend virtually? Will people participate in more services because it’s easier to attend from the comfort of home?

Binder quotes Noam saying, “Maybe the churches will be emptier but people’s religious lives will actually be enriched.” Adding,  “This [live video] is not temporary; the temporary situation [pandemic] is the accelerant .” 

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Live Streaming Software For Churches

If the need for real-time church service broadcasting is growing, providers of church streaming software, streaming solutions, and technical support have not been left behind. Here are some of the live streaming service providers that make it possible for both large and small churches to live broadcast their sermons and services. 

Boxcast: Live Streaming Software For All Worship House Sizes

Boxcast Streaming for Church Streaming Software Screenshot
Boxcast is suitable for first-time and seasoned streamers.

If there is one video streaming service I see in every list of the best church streaming software, it’s Boxcast. Boxcast’s promise: “Whether your congregation has 1,000 members or 100, our features and plans have been crafted to meet the needs of both first-time broadcasters and seasoned streamers.”

You can live stream on the Boxcast free trial for 14 days before deciding whether the live streaming software is for you. If you decide that it is, pricing plans start at $99/month and go all the way to $999/month.  

Wirecast:  Best Church Streaming Software For Beginners

Wirecast Website for Church Streaming Software Screenshot
If you’re just starting out with church streaming then Wirecast is a great choice.

Describing the Wirecast video streaming service, the Director of Music Ministries at Fredericksburg United Methodist Church, Don Doss, says, “Yes, it’s true that the ‘BIG’ churches have all the cool equipment, but it’s also true that some smaller churches with smaller budgets can now produce quality video with the help of Telestream’s Wirecast software.” 

Wirecast comes with a free 30-day trial limited to two Rendezvous guests and does not permit ISO recording (an isolated recording of one camera in a multi-camera production). The service has two paid plans for both Mac and Windows: Wirecast Studio ($599) and Wirecast Pro ($799).  

Propresenter: Best For Both Pros And Beginners   

Propresenter App for Church Streaming Software Screenshot
Propresenter has some powerful editing features.

“Whether you’re a Photoshop expert or technology isn’t your friend, we’ve got you covered. Create beautiful graphics with our built-in editor.” This is how the developers of Propresenter market their software. 

Among the several features, you’ll find on Propresenter is the ability to record your screen for further editing, switch video outputs, and capture and output audio. The service also presents live streaming tutorials on its website. 

Propresenter has a free version, which is not designed to be used in front of an audience. The HoW (House of Worship) plan starts at $399 per year for a new account or $275 per year when renewing.   

Dacast: Best Live Streaming Solution For Churches On A Budget

Dacast's Website for Church Streaming Software Screenshot
Dacast’s multiple bitrate streams optimizes broadcast across devices.

Visit Dacast.com, and you will realize that this live stream software promises every feature and functionality a live streaming church service needs. The service has 24/7 support, high-quality live streaming with top-tier CDNs, an all-device HTML5 player, VODs and live video integration, and customization that allows users to monetize their videos. 

Another valuable Dacast feature is that it allows you to set up multiple bitrate streams using Wirecast video or vMix broadcasting software. These multiple bitrate streams ensure that your live streams can be watched on different devices and internet connections with varying bandwidths.    

Dacast has a free 30-day trial. Paid plans start at $39 a month.  

vMix: Best For Building A Custom Live Production System

VMix Software Video App for Church Streaming Software Screenshot
vMix captures the power of expensive hardware as software.

vMix is a software video switcher and mixer that also functions as a live streaming software that works on Windows. Some of the software’s features include “LIVE mixing, switching, recording and LIVE streaming of SD, full HD and 4K video sources including cameras, video files, DVDs, images, [and] Powerpoint.”  

The vMix software is customizable, based on the user’s production needs. All these features can be enjoyed on a free 60-day trial. Paid plans start with the Basic HD, which costs $60, and go all the way to the Pro plan that costs $1200. The software’s developers say that “Each purchase does not expire and includes Free Version Updates for one year from the date of purchase.”

Churchstreaming.tv: Best For Broadcasting A Church Service To Various Sources 

Churchstreaming.tv Website for Church Streaming Software Screenshot
Churchstreaming.tv makes it easy to broadcast across various sources.

“Video streaming simple enough for a church plant, powerful enough for worldwide ministry.” This is how Churchstreaming.tv advertises its service. The software makes it possible for a church service to be broadcast to various sources like YouTube, Facebook, or Apple TV. 

Churchstreaming.tv also frees bandwidth with real-time transcoding. The streaming solution allows for plugins that make it possible to customize viewer layout by embedding navigation links.  

Churchstreaming.tv has a free 30-day trial. Paid plans are based on the number of hours you need per month, the resolution, and video storage capacity. The plans start with the basic plan at $79/month. The Advanced Plan is the most expensive at $139 a month. 

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS): Best Free Live Stream Software 

Open Broadcast Software App for Church Streaming Software Screenshot
Open Broadcast Software is a free option great for newly planted churches.

If your church is still new and wants to use free live stream software, the best place to find this is at Open Broadcast Software (OBS). Even though OBS is free, it compares well to other church streaming software out there. For example, it doesn’t restrict the number of scenes you can seamlessly switch between using custom transitions. 

The OBS project is sponsored by several tech giants, including Facebook and YouTube. 

mimoLive: Best Live Streaming Software For Mac 

MimoLive Website for Church Streaming Software Screenshot
mimoLive is professional-grade event recording software for Macs.

mimoLive provides professional live streaming tools for live streaming to Apple products, including Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The software promises “an all-in-one live switcher, video encoder, editor, and streaming software for Mac. It enables you to switch multiple cameras, insert presentations, add graphics, overlay lower-thirds, social media comments, transparency with green screens.” 

mimoLive’s 14-day free trial allows you to test drive the product. If you like it at the end of 14 days, you can get the Studio License at the cost of $699 per year or $69.99 per month. 

StreamShark: Best For Churches That Want A Month-To-Month Solution  

StreamShark Website for Church Streaming Software Screenshot
StreamShark focused on developing a simple, intuitive interface for beginners.

The developers of StreamShark say that they “understand the pressures involved when live streaming.” Consequently, they have designed a workflow that aims to “ease the burden on the stream operator.” 

StreamShark’s leading features include instant stream archiving, real-time statistics showing viewer engagement, and live DVR rewind that allows viewers who join late to rewind and see areas they have missed.  

StreamShark’s pricing starts at $199 per month, and the most expensive plan is $999 per month. The advantage of using this software is that you can cancel your plan anytime. 

TruthCasting: Best For Ad-Free Streaming 

TruthCasting Website for Church Streaming Software Screenshot
Thruthcasting makes it easy to Livestream from any device.

To show how easy the developers of TruthCasting believe their software is, they say, “If you can count to three, then you can live stream.” The software can be used whether you’re streaming from a webcam or a professional video camera. 

You can also use any encoder to send your video to the streaming platform. As long as audiences have an internet connection, they can view videos broadcast through TruthCasting on any device, wherever they are. 

TruthCasting offers a 15-day free trial. Churches with less than 2,000 members pay $39.95 a month to broadcast. YouTube and Facebook Live add-ons are available at $10 per month.

10 Biggest Streaming Churches 

Here are some of the biggest streaming churches I found on YouTube. To determine how big a church is, I looked at the number of subscribers it has on YouTube. 

Lakewood Church & Joel Osteen

Lakewood Church & Joel Osteen YouTube Channel  Screenshot
Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen tops the list with 2million+  YouTube subscribers.

Together, Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen (its pastor) have 2,202,000 subscribers on YouTube. According to Osteen’s YouTube channel, “More than 10 million viewers watch his weekly inspirational messages through television, and over 60 million people connect with Joel through his digital platforms worldwide.” 

Lakewood Church’s live stream goes out every Saturday at 7 pm and Sundays at 8:30 am and 11:00 am CST. Apart from delivering the message to its 304,000-audience on YouTube, Lakewood Church also uses Facebook Live.    

Elevation Church

Elevation Church App Screenshot
Elevation Church even have their own app.

The work of Elevation Church is evident in its mission statement: “Elevation Church exists so that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ.” This Church does not seem to only target those far from God with its live streams; it’s also connecting those far from the church or each other.

The Elevation Church’s YouTube channel has around 1.99 million subscribers. The church’s YouTube worship channel has 2.85 million subscribers. It uses Vimeo and Comcast Technology Solutions as its video hosting solutions. 

Saddleback Church

Saddle Church Youtube Channel Screenshot
Saddleback makes effective use of Youtube with 389,00 subscribers.

Saddleback Church’s motto is “one family, many locations.” With 389,000 subscribers on YouTube, this is a motto that the church seems to be living by. Its YouTube channel has more than 53,930,000 views.

Saddleback Church uses YouTube and JW Player as its hosting services. 

Life.Church

Pastor Ryan Sharp from Life.church  Screensshot
Life.Church hosts 90 services a week on five platforms.

Life.Church has a dedicated online service. The church has a message for those searching for meaning, connection, community, truth, and answers: “This is where you’ll find it.” Through its streaming service, Life. Church invites everyone to “come to join a community of people from around the world who are discovering answers, truth, and what it means to belong.”

According to Life. Church, has more than 90 online services every week on five platforms, accessible on any device. Its video hosting service is YouTube and Wistia. 

Bethel TV

Bethel TV website  Screenshot
Bethel TV’s streaming service is super-slick.

With its live streams, Bethel TV calls itself “your front-row seat to all that God is doing at Bethel.” The church invites all to “Watch anytime, anywhere.” This is an invitation that 296,000 people have already responded to on YouTube, where it has more than 33,500,000 views. 

Bethel TV’s hosting platform is JW Player. 

International House of Prayer

International House of Prayer's Livestream Screenshot
IHOPKC hold themselves to a 24/7 service.

The International House of Prayer‘s (IHOPKC) mission statement reads, “The IHOPKC community exists to partner in the Great Commission by advancing 24/7 prayer with worship and proclaiming the beauty of Jesus and His glorious return.” 

A church that uses 24/7 to describe anything certainly needs some streaming service. This is what IHOPKC is doing using its YouTube channel that has over 296,000 subscribers. 

VOUS Church

VOUS' Channel Screenshot
Vous has multiple channels to cater for different audiences.

The VOUS Church says that it has a simple mission: “to bring those who are far from God close to him.” The church has a dedicated team called the Crew Live that live streams to the church’s 194,000 YouTube subscribers.   

REVERE

REVERE's Youtube Channel Screenshot
Revere’s make good use of multiple digital channels as well as streaming.

REVERE is a community of worshippers with 181,000 subscribers on YouTube. The church says that Christianity experienced a massive shift a generation ago when “The formality of corporate worship gave way to ‘intimacy,’ and we were forever changed.”

The shift wasn’t just in the area of Christianity; it was also in the way people worship. Today, REVERE members have several options to listen to sermons and worship songs: Spotify, Apple Music, Facebook, the Church’s website, and Instagram.

John Gray Ministries

Pastor John Gray of The Relentless Church Screenshot
Pastor John Gray of The Relentless Church.

John Gray Ministries is led by a man who lives by the mantra, “We have a limited number of days on this planet, so give as much as you can, serve as best as you can, and love as hard as you can.”

Gray emphasizes the message above to the 114,000 YouTube subscribers on his ministry’s channel. The channel has a total of 3,461,300 views and counting.  

With numbers fluctuating, the world constantly changing, how can you measure success? Here’s an article that will help you make sense of the numbers: What Every Lead Pastor Needs To Know About Church Metrics.

If you’re looking for conferences to attend this year, check these out:

10 Best Church Leadership Conferences In 2021

The Best Church Technology Conferences 2021

And if you’re looking to stay connected with the members of your church, here’s our guide to the 1o Best Church Communication Software & How They Help Lead.