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10 Best Church Data Management Systems In 2022

Thanks to COVID-19, hundreds of thousands of churches around the globe are rushing to get online so that they can continue to service their membership from a safe distance. Many churches are focused on tools for virtual services: church presentation software and church communication software.

However, data management systems should not be overlooked! I’ll bet you have an online church accounting and finance software. So why would you continue to rely on outdated, pen-and-paper methods for church data management? 

With the help of church data management software, churches can engage with members better to retain existing members and attract new ones. This article will tell you about some of the best current church data management systems to help you manage your congregation.

Tool Shortlist

Here’s the list of the best church data management software.

  1. ChurchTrac
  2. ACS Suite
  3. Planning Center
  4. ChurchSuite 
  5. Elvanto
  6. Tithe.ly
  7. Blackbaud Church Management
  8. Faith Teams  
  9. ChurchTeams
  10. FellowshipOne

Comparison Criteria

What do I look for when I select the best church data management software solutions? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria: 

  1. User Interface (UI): Managing a church involves many administrative tasks, and a clean user interface will allow users to find the function they need quickly to save time. 
  2. Usability: Most churches count on volunteers, so I look for user-friendly software that anyone can easily use. 
  3. Integrations: Churches use different tools, so I look for software that will work with other church management tools. 
  4. Value for $: Churches rely on the generosity of members, so I look for software with many features and reasonable pricing. 

Church Data Management Solution: Key Features

  1. Member Directory: This feature allows churches to maintain a comprehensive directory of members. 
  2. Donation Management: This allows users to track and record the donations they receive
  3. Payment Management: Allows users to receive donations through text messaging, online giving, checks, bank deposits, credit cards, and others. 
  4. Communication Tools: Allows churches to keep in touch with members through text messaging, email, or a website chat feature. 
  5. Event Management: A feature that churches can use to plan and execute church events. 

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Overviews Of The 10 Best Church Data Management Systems

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

1. ChurchTrac – Church management system for managing church membership

churchtrac church data management systems screenshot
ChurchTrac lets you create member profiles and attach important notes like anniversaries, group memberships, and family details.

ChurchTrac is a church management software for managing church data like membership and financial data. It also comes with accounting software to track cash inflow and expenses, giving you a clear view of your church’s financial health. If your church has a Sunday school, you can use ChurchTrac to keep young members secure with its child check-in feature. It also has a website builder to create a church app or a complete church website to stay connected with members. 

ChurchTrac is the best church management software to manage your membership data effectively because it enables you to create detailed member profiles to keep track of your congregation. You can use the software to create member profiles containing contact information, personal details, interests, and family background. ChurchTrac also lets you attach tags to member profiles for easier grouping and filtering.  

ChurchTrac is a free church management software but has a paid plan that starts at $6/month/account. ChurchTrac also offers a 30-day free trial.

2. ACS Suite – Church management system for managing church attendance

acs suite church data management systems screenshot
ACS Suite allows you to generate attendance reports that show you members who are missing church events so you can follow up on them.

ACS Suite is a church management software and church accounting software accessible online through a cloud-based OnDemand service or directly installed on a workstation. This ChMS has a membership management feature to record and manage membership information in a centralized membership database. Its ACS contributions feature lets you track the financial gifts of members and create IRS statements and tax receipts to ensure compliance with federal regulations. 

The attendance of church members during events and activities is an excellent way to gauge the effectiveness of your ministry. ACS Suite has an attendance management feature that can help you do so. ACS Suite lets you track worship attendance not just on worship services but on Sunday classes, small groups, and discipleship programs. ACS Suite gives you the option to capture attendance using a barcode scanner to record attendance during events quickly. You can use ACS Suite to print attendance graphs for meetings so other members can easily understand attendance data. 

ACS Suite pricing is available upon request. 

3. Planning Center – Best for managing worship services

planning center church data management systems screenshot
Use Planning Center to assign roles that can help ensure worship services proceed smoothly.

Planning Center is a church management software with different tools to help you organize the data you need to manage your church. It has built-in tools for tracking attendance, donations, volunteers, and resources. Planning Center has an engagement dashboard to help you study different metrics like attendance and donations to implement improvement plans as needed. 

Excellent worship services draw more attendees, and Planning Center is an outstanding church data management system if you want to plan and hold successful worship services. You can use Planning Center to create a detailed blueprint of worship services to help employees and volunteers understand their roles. Planning Center lets you maintain a comprehensive song library and distribute music sheets to your volunteers and ministry. 

Planning Center integrates with other church management tools like Thryve, ProPresenter, Mailchimp, and Checkr. More integrations can be unlocked using a paid plan through Zapier.

Planning Center pricing starts at $14/month/up to 25 members, and they offer a 30-day free trial.

4. ChurchSuite – Church data management system for managing church resources

church suite church data management systems screenshot
ChurchSuite lets you see all events and booked resources to prevent double booking.

ChurchSuite is a church management software for managing different aspects of your church, including membership, donations, and worship planning. You can use ChurchSuite to create a member directory and send mass emails and text messages to church members. ChurchSuite is scalable, making it ideal for churches of any size. You can use the software to manage churches in different locations, making it ideal for multi-site congregations. 

ChurchSuite is an excellent option if you need a church management system to manage your church’s resources. You can use the software to maintain a database of all your resources, including facilities, equipment, tools, and volunteers. ChurchSuite lets you check the availability of resources to help prevent double booking and avoid conflicts. It allows you to study data on usage patterns to know which resources are in demand and which ones are underutilized. 

ChurchSuite pricing starts at $15.50/month/account, and they offer a 30-day free trial.

5. Elvanto – Best for maintaining a database of online giving and contributions

elvanto church data management systems screenshot
You can use Elvanto to maintain a record of donations to help you assess your church’s financial status.

Elvanto is a management software for churches of all sizes to streamline admin duties and serve members better. You can use it as a centralized system for maintaining records of members, contact information, reports, files, and other critical data. It has an attendance tracking feature to track and record attendance so you can communicate with members who may need ministering to. Elvanto has a volunteer management feature to maintain a record of volunteers for easier volunteer scheduling and communication.  

Churches rely on the generosity of members and sponsors, and Elvanto can help you maintain a database of online giving and contributions to promote accountability. With an accurate record of donations and expenses, you can keep tabs on your church’s financial health. You can generate reports on pledges so you can send follow-up emails and provide donors with receipts or statements. Elvanto has an integrated giving app to accept payments and donations through debit or credit cards. 

You can integrate Elvanto with other church management tools like Tithe.ly, SongSelect, PayPal, Pushpay, and Mogiv. 

Elvanto pricing starts at $50/month/account, and they offer a 30-day free trial. 

6. Tithe.ly – Free church data management system for accepting and managing donations

tithe.ly church data management systems screenshot
Tithe.ly lets you convert mobile devices into kiosks to accept payments on-site during events.

Tithe.ly is a church management software solution to help you maintain a database of member records. It has SMS and email features to help you engage church members. You can use Tithe.ly to build a church mobile app enabling you to connect with a broader audience. It has an event management feature for event planning, event registration, and payment acceptance. 

If you want to ensure that church members can donate to your church using their preferred donation method, then Tithe.ly is the best software for you because it allows members to contribute to your church using six different methods. Members can send their donations via text giving, online donations, direct deposits, checks, or gifts. You can also use this contribution management system to turn tablets into kiosks so you can accept donations during events. 

Tithe.ly has a financial reporting feature to generate shareable giving summary reports for easier budget tracking.  

Tithe.ly integrates with Engiven, STS Consulting, Boxcast, and others. 

Tithe.ly is free software for religious organizations and non-profit organizations. However, there is a charge of 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.

7. Blackbaud Church Management – Best for managing small churches & groups

blackbaud church management church data management systems screenshot
Blackbaud Church Management lets you manage and communicate with the small groups in your church.

Blackbaud Church Management is a church management software that allows church administration to manage church members, events, and ministries in one place. This church management solution has communication tools to help you stay connected with church members. It has a volunteer management feature to track requirements for volunteer positions and conduct and store background checks. 

Small groups are critical for churches, and if you need church management software to manage small groups in your church, then Blackbaud Church Management is the best software for you. You can use it to maintain a database of the small groups in your church so you can provide support easily. Blackbaud has SMS and email features to communicate with small groups quickly. You can also use Blackbaud’s small group management feature to track the attendance of small groups to know which small groups church members find more engaging. Church leaders can customize group leader permissions giving them control over what group leaders can do. 

Blackbaud Church Management pricing is available upon customer request. 

8. Faith Teams – Church data management system with integrated form builder for data gathering

faith teams church data management systems screenshot
Faith Teams lets you create a comprehensive database of members, including their pictures, personal information, contact details, and interests.

Faith Teams is an all-in-one church management system for creating a database of church members. You can use it to automate guest follow-ups to help you convert visitors to your church website or social media accounts. It has a donation management feature for easier fund accounting and to ensure donors and supporters of fundraising events that their donations went to their intended projects.  

If you want to capture critical membership data, then Faith Teams is a fantastic option for your church because it has customizable forms and templates you can use for varied uses and events. You can use Faith Teams to create digital forms and embed them on your church website to make event registration easier. The software allows you to share forms on your social media accounts to reach more members. You can use your church’s font, colors, and logo to ensure branding on the forms you use. 

Faith Teams is available at a flat rate of $40/month/account, and they offer a 10-day free trial.

9. ChurchTeams – Church data management system for automating workflows

churchteams church data management systems screenshot
You can use ChurchTeams to automate actions in response to a set of triggers to ensure that your flock receives all the information they need.

ChurchTeams is a church management software with different modules for managing your congregation like group management, event check-in, and volunteer management. It has an email marketing feature to help you promote fundraising activities to church members. ChurchTeams has a text-from-church functionality for sending notifications to church members to remind them of their group’s schedule or of classes they signed up for. 

ChurchTeam’s workflow automation feature is what you need if administrative tasks take up too much time and if you want to devote more time ministering to your congregation. You can use it to automate simple admin tasks like sending a welcome email or text to new members or sending a reminder about upcoming worship services. You can also use it to automate sending schedules to volunteers, ensuring that everyone is aware of their schedules and responsibilities. 

ChurchTeams’s pricing starts at $37/month/up to 200 people. They offer a free 30-day trial upon request. 

10. FellowshipOne – Church data management system for creating church websites

fellowshipone church data management systems screenshot
You can use FellowshipOne to create a church website easily or improve your existing site.

FellowshipOne is a church management software with a CRM module to help you manage your members and their data. It has a mobile app version that works on iOS and Android devices. FellowshipOne has an online giving platform to make donating more convenient for members so you can raise funds for your outreach programs. It has a worship planning feature to plan and execute in-person and live streaming events. 

A church needs an excellent website to reach church members easily, and FellowshipOne is a superb church data management software if you want to create a church website that can serve all your church members’ needs. This SaaS provides you with a user-friendly website editing feature to help you customize your church website. You can use different templates to create a website that reflects your church and its ideals. 

FellowshipOne integrates with Mailchimp, EasyTithe, Clover Sites, and others. 

FellowshipOne provides customized pricing upon request, and they offer a 30-day free trial. 

What do you think about this list?

A church data management software is a critical tool to help you maintain an accurate record of your members, donations, resources, and events. It can help you manage your church effectively and improve engagement with members. 

On top of church data management software, your church can use other software to grow your church and minister to more members, and you can subscribe to The Lead Pastor if you want to know more about them.

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Article

Church Project Management: Importance, Process, & Benefits

Every growing church finds itself in need of new projects to expand its space, improve its technology, or facilitate community outreach. From larger churches to the smallest, church project management is a vital part of being effective in your mission to be “the Light of the World.” 

According to this Axios article, spending on church projects, specifically in the construction industry, is at an all-time low. That article also notes that some of the decline is due to church closings and the availability of those buildings on the market. Still, an old building will almost certainly need renovation and updating.

I’m Lexie Schmidt, and I have worked in a church of thousands and a church of dozens and plenty of churches in between. Let my experience help guide you through the essentials of church project management. 

Here’s what I’ll cover:

What Is Church Project Management?

Church project management is defined as the steps a church takes to complete a task that is focused on self-improvement. Think of church projects as infrastructure upgrades. They add more seats, install new screens or lights, upgrade computers or applications, or anything else that makes it easier to preach, worship, and reach as many people as possible.

The most difficult and intensive projects for a church involve construction, whether in a new building or renovating existing buildings, so this guide will focus more on construction projects. In the digital age, however, projects such as building your website, creating a live-streaming platform, or implementing church management software are just as important, if not more so. Determining which type of project is best falls on your project manager.

A church project manager is frequently one of the clergy in smaller churches, but larger churches may hire a dedicated manager. The people who work on a project may be volunteers, but many times you may need to work with contractors. Most large projects will likely be a mix of both. When the megachurch I worked at built its larger building, contractors did the heavy machinery tasks and technical work, but church staff and volunteers did a large portion of the manual labor.

Church project management rewards your church by making it easier to work and making your building more appealing to the people you are trying to reach. Many times, church projects don’t provide a direct, spiritual benefit to your people at first. Your community and members likely won’t receive the benefits until after the project has finished.

What Does a Project Manager Do In A Church?

illustration of a megaphone church project management
Communication is a key part of a project manager’s role within a church.

Project managers need to be the best communicators in your church. Most communication will happen between church leaders and members who share a common vision and common goals. 

However, projects can bring in contractors who do not necessarily share those ideas. Your project manager needs to be able to communicate the needs and goals of the project with people who may not even share your religious beliefs.

If you find communication failing, try the steps outlined in our church communications plan article. I recommend that article no matter what since communication is so important.

In addition, project managers should be organized, punctual, and high-energy. On longer projects, such as building a new sanctuary or remodeling the current one, enthusiasm can flag among your volunteers, so a project manager who can keep morale up is essential. 

Organization, of course, is needed above all. Without organization, you will have everyone from contractors to volunteers standing around doing nothing. Organization also makes sure those contractors get paid.

A note on punctuality. In all my other articles, I have never mentioned this as a requirement for managers or leaders. Once again, contact with outside contractors causes this. Contractors get paid for their time, whether they are actively working or not. 

Contractors will arrive at the beginning of their workday and start their clock. If circumstances don’t allow work to continue, they will continue billing for their time whether or not your project manager is there to fix the problem. Punctuality saves your church money.

Difference Between Church Events And Church Projects

Church projects and events are linked in many ways and have some elements of overlap, but they have distinct purposes and outcomes. In simplest terms, projects serve the church itself, while events serve the community.

As noted above, church projects primarily serve to improve the church and your ability to accomplish your church’s mission. Church events, instead, improve the community through outreach, service, and, frequently, fun. A wedding is an event that improves the lives of the families who are gathered, but it is not a project that improves the church.

Another way to think of the differences is to consider the flow of resources. Events will usually double as fundraisers as well. Vacation Bible School can charge a small fee per child which will generate some cash flow and educate your community’s children with Biblical concepts. Replacing your old pews with new theater seating will cost money and improve your sanctuary, so it is a project.

Knowing the differences between church projects and events, if you’re in the right place, keep reading! If not, you can read more about church event management here.

The Church Project Management Process

The process of church project management might feel daunting at first, but this section will break it down into simple steps that any church project manager can use to find success. Remember that there is no amount of note-taking that can be considered excessive. In my personal experience, a three-ring binder and a hole punch are a project manager’s best friends for implementing the project.

Step 1: Starting The Project

Every church project starts at the top. Depending on your type of church, your church board, your lead pastor, or your bishop will decide which of the church’s needs are most important and will be filled next. They will determine the budget, the time frame, and the scope of the project before any work begins.

The church project manager will then take those instructions and initiatives and develop a plan for how to accomplish the project within the constraints provided by their church leadership team. Determining where costs can be trimmed through the use of volunteers, through previous relationships with contractors, or through business owners in the church needs to happen in this phase. Finding out that a church member owns a demolition company does not help after the walls are already coming down.

Finally, the project manager should submit their completed plan back to the church leadership for final approval before taking any action. Most churches have limited resources and cannot afford mistakes that cost tens of thousands of dollars. That number might seem large, but building expenses are always higher than you think. An ounce of caution in the planning phase can save thousands in the execution of the plan.

Step 2: Finalizing The Budget

After the plan secures approval from the leadership, the project manager needs to finalize the budget through negotiating contracts, recruiting volunteers, and sourcing materials. Once every part of the plan has been covered, the project manager should bring the finalized budget to the church leaders for approval.

When setting the budget, especially with building projects, the church might need to take out a loan to cover some shortfalls. Most churches do this, and the Treasurer will be able to secure a loan if the church has a good credit score. Yes, your church, as a nonprofit corporation, has its own credit score and the ability to take out loans in its own name. Your church’s income will determine the size of the loans you can take, just like anyone else. The megachurch where I worked typically took out loans of $5,000,000 at a time, but the smaller churches would normally max out around $100,000 or so per loan.

Expert tip: The final note on budgeting is that you will overrun your budget. Problems come up, things break, and unforeseen issues slow things down. For that reason, allocate at least 20% above what you think you need just to start. I have never seen a project come in less than that. The largest overrun I have seen was nearly double the budget. Be smart, and have a contingency plan for those issues. The worst that can happen is that you have extra money at the end if everything goes smoothly.

Step 3: Working The Project

Before your project can begin actual work, your local government inspectors will probably want to visit the worksite and approve the changes to your building and grounds before giving a construction permit. This step cannot be skipped, otherwise, major fines and possible lawsuits will eat your entire budget and leave nothing for what you need to get done.

When your permits are granted, be sure to display them according to the instructions either found on the permits themselves or given separately by the inspectors. As the project goes on, inspectors will show up, often unannounced, to inspect your team’s work and ensure that everything is being built to code. 

Building codes change over time, so inspections during remodeling frequently find safety issues that must be dealt with before construction can continue. This is normally the largest source of budget overruns in older buildings.

Expert tip: For new construction, be sure your contractors have fully up-to-date licenses and training. The most common overruns in new construction are redoing work from contractors who have not learned the new building codes. You may also find a contractor is cutting corners with materials or techniques. Be sure that your contracts include the ability to fire them for negligent behavior revealed by private or government building inspectors.

Volunteers will usually not have formal training in construction. For the same reasons as above, they should be supervised by someone who does have that training, although most inspectable work, by law, can only be done by licensed and bonded contractors. This work includes electrical, plumbing, fabrication, erection of structural elements, and so on. Generally, if a job can be performed by a union member, it must be.

Anytime a worksite has dangerous equipment or heavy machinery, the site should be considered closed unless a person goes through a check-in process and wears proper protective gear. Most contractors take care of this on their own. Your church will be responsible for the safety of your volunteers.

A comprehensive project planning phase shines here. A church project manager who accounts for as many details as possible propels the project forward even in the face of the inevitable setbacks.

Step 4: Closing The Project

Each project will have set goals according to the plan that the manager set in Step 1. As the project nears fulfilling those goals, the project manager is responsible for ensuring the work was completed correctly and, if so, paying the contractors and thanking the volunteers. Each step within the plan should be completed before victory is declared.

The project, if it involves construction, cannot be completed until the final inspection. Be sure that your contractors and volunteers are still available until that inspection is complete.

The project manager should write a final report on the project detailing the highs and lows of the process. This report tells future managers or refreshes the current manager’s memory, of who worked well in which areas and who should be avoided in the future. Detailed notes of what went wrong in the inspections allow the leadership in older buildings to know what to look out for in future projects.

Step 5: Maintenance

Many projects will require some amount of maintenance. An expansion to your sanctuary means more cleaning and more seating. An upgrade to your sound system means more technical expertise is needed in each service. Upgrading your computers or adding a church network can mean creating an IT department.

These continuing costs should be considered before starting a project. New things are only better if you can pay for them. Some projects, though, pay for themselves through saving on electricity or heating. 

For instance, new, high-efficiency windows in your church can save hundreds of dollars in utility payments every year. For this reason, a project that reduces continuing costs should be done before a project that increases them.

The Importance and Benefits Of Project Management For Churches

Church project management is one of the most important skills you can develop to grow your church. Here are some benefits: 

  • Successful project managers deliver new and upgraded experiences, both for your staff and your congregation. 
  • Completed projects establish good relationships in your community. 
  • Successful projects foster deeper bonds among your members who volunteer. 

Beyond the obvious benefits of a remodel, a new building, upgraded equipment, or whatever the purpose of your project is, church projects provide benefits that may not be immediately clear.

For instance, adding or expanding a kitchen for your homeless ministry will also provide a basecamp for team members to relax and eat during other events or projects. My own experience has seen many of the contractors start going to our church by seeing how we work and treat each other with love and kindness.

The possibilities of how you use the fruits of your projects are as endless as your own imagination. Therefore, the benefits are endless as well. With every project, try to think of at least three ways that you can use the upgrades. As I wrote in the budgeting step, most churches don’t have much money. Your ideas will make every penny count.

Tips & Best Practices For Church Project Management

illustration of a hard hat and tools for church project management
There’s lots of tools to help you keep your church projects moving along.

Let me share a few of the best ways to keep your church projects organized and moving along. You will learn your own tips and tricks as you gain experience as a local church project manager, so always take notes, and never be afraid to ask the professionals questions that will help you do your job better.

  • Don’t hide your plan. While not everyone needs a full copy of the entire binder, every step of construction or finishing or maintenance should have a clear view of what is expected of them for their goal to be completed. Photocopies of a few pages combined into a packet and given to the foreman of a job will usually be enough.
  • Volunteers should have clear responsibilities. In every project, I usually have at least one volunteer who wants to be in charge of everything. Sometimes, I was that volunteer, which led to me joining the leadership team and filling the assistant youth pastor role. The problem is that, before I worked my way up, I was in the way by making the roles unclear. For my part, I was trying to help and doing it the wrong way. Others I’ve worked with just wanted some of the glory for themselves. Defined roles in a project prevent confusion, accidents, and mistrust.
  • Always pay your contractors promptly. Sometimes, you will have a dispute with a contractor over bad work. Don’t pay them until that dispute is resolved. In all other cases, pay them by the due dates outlined in your contract. It will foster good relationships and make them more likely to work with you again in the future.
  • Source your materials like a business. This is a repeat from the budget section, but it saves more money than everything else combined. Your church, as long as it is a 501c(3) corporation, is just as much of a business as the big home improvement store you currently shop at. They have suppliers, and you can too. Don’t pay the retail markup prices. Take advantage of your business status, plus the suppliers still have to honor tax-exempt cards, too.

Church Project Management Software

Volunteer management in church projects is very similar to church events. Church management software can usually double as project management tools. This software can help you monitor progress, set milestones, and aid church communications.

Church Project Management: In Conclusion

Successful church projects start with good project managers. The tips and steps within this guide will provide you with a solid base on which to build a leader into that manager. The benefits of projects are plenty, and the worst problems arise through poor planning. Plan well, build well, finish well.

If you have any questions, comments, or your own tips to share, comment below.

I’m Lexie and happy projects!

Related Read: Young Disciples: Turning A Youth Group Into A Youth Church

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Tools

10 Best Church Event Management Software In 2022

Before the pandemic, churches count on events to boost engagement among members, like holding church socials, Bible studies, and family days. Although most of these events were discontinued at the height of the pandemic, many churches are starting to attract members to in-person events again. Churches are now adopting a hybrid model that combines online and in-person events in serving their congregation. Church members seem to agree because 35% of all churchgoers liked both online and in-person services, according to a Barna study.

Managing church events, an already challenging task, is now even more difficult these days, but some tools can make holding events easier. This article will tell you about some of the best church event management software you can use to make holding events stress-free and more productive for your members.   

Church Event Management Tools List

Here’s the list of the best church event management apps I’ll cover in this article.

  1. FellowshipOne
  2. Realm
  3. Smart Church Solutions
  4. Rsvpify 
  5. Swift Events 
  6. Hopin
  7. EventPro 
  8. PowerChurch Plus 
  9. Arlo
  10. Mazevo

Comparison Criteria

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

1.   User Interface (UI): Aside from church leaders and employees, church members also use church event management software, so I look for software with a clean user interface to provide church members with a positive user experience. 

2.   Usability: Users need to be able to use church event management software immediately, so I look for user-friendly and easy to master software. 

3.   Integrations: Aside from church event management software, churches use other software, so I look for a church event management software that works great with other church management tools that your church uses, like CRM and ChMS software. 

4.   Value for $: Churches are non-profit organizations, so I look for software with many fantastic features with affordable monthly rates. 

5. Versatility: Churches hold in-person, online, and hybrid events so I look for software I can use to manage different types of events. 

Church Event Management Platform: Key Features 

  1. Event calendar: Allows event creators, team members, and church members to view upcoming events to block off their schedules and avoid conflicts. 
  2. Event registration: Allows attendees to register for an event and has an event check-in feature to know the exact number of attendees. 
  3. Resource management: Lets church leaders manage resources critical to a successful event like rooms, audio-visual equipment, chairs, printed materials, etc. 
  4. Payment collection: Allows users to accept payments or donations to paid events. 
  5. Marketing: Allows users to promote upcoming events to increase attendance. 

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Overviews Of The 10 Best Church Event Management Software Solution 

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

1. FellowshipOne – Church event management software that automatically publishes events on your church calendar

FellowshipOne Church Event Management Software Screenshot
Creating an event using FellowshipOne automatically publishes on your church calendar, allowing members to see scheduled events.

FellowshipOne is a church management software with a wide variety of capabilities for managing your church and taking care of your flock. It has payroll and accounting software to help you manage your church’s finances. You can also use FellowshipOne to manage and schedule church facilities to ensure that small church groups have access to facilities for their group activities. 

Informing members of upcoming events is one of the best ways to encourage attendance, and FellowshipOne can help you because it automatically updates your church calendar when you create an event. With this feature, members can take note of the events they are interested in to sync them with their personal or business calendar to avoid conflict. Organizers and volunteers can access your church calendar and view details of the event, giving them an awareness of their roles in making the event successful. 

FellowshipOne pricing is available upon request, and they offer a 30-day free trial. 

2. Realm – Church event management software with an events registration feature. 

Realm Church Event Management Software Screenshot
Realm helps you inform church members of upcoming events so they can register in advance.

Realm is a church management system with event management capabilities to provide members with more opportunities to get together and engage with other members. You can use Real to accept payments for paid events like summer camps, retreats, or kids’ programs. Realm also allows you to create recurring events for activities such as Sunday schools, volunteer meetings, or weekly socials, so there’s no need to create an event weekly.  

Knowing how many church members you will attend your event can help you prepare better, and Realm has an event registration feature you might find useful. Realm lets you inform church members about upcoming events so they can pre-register using the Realm mobile app. What’s great about this feature is you have a better idea of the number of attendees to expect, so you know how many volunteers you need, how many chairs you should prepare, or if you have enough printed materials to make your event successful. 

Realm provides pricing details and a free demo upon request. 

3. Smart Church Solutions – Church facility management for scheduling and managing facilities for events

Smart Church Solutions Church Event Management Software Screenshot
Smart Church Solutions is accessible via a web browser or through its mobile app, so you can manage events anywhere.

Smart Church Solutions is software for all the facilities requirements of your church. You can use it to design facilities that can serve the needs of your congregation. It is a system that church leaders can use to maintain facilities and ensure proper working order. Smart Church Solutions’ event scheduler allows users to design and create custom forms for events like registration forms or consent forms.  

Smart Church Solutions is a church facilities management software to ensure proper utilization of church facilities during events. It allows users to reserve rooms, venues, sound systems, multimedia devices, and others critical to the success of any event. Smart Church Solutions is a useful software because it can help prevent conflicts and double booking, resulting in the disruption of events and discord among church members. 

Smart Church Solutions pricing starts at $50/location/month, and they provide a free demo upon request. 

4. RSVPify – Church event management you can use to collect payments and donations

RSVPify Church Event Management Software Screenshot
You can use RSVPify to sell tickets to fundraising events. 

RSVPify is an events management software for churches, businesses, and non-profit organizations that need software to efficiently plan and execute events. You can use it for event planning and tracking invitees giving you an idea of how many attendees to expect during the actual event. RSVPify also allows you to create customized event registration and online reservation forms to collect attendees’ contact information and get to know your audience before an event. 

Generating funds is critical for your church because it can help you provide services to your congregation and initiate outreach programs for your community. Rsvpify can help you sell tickets for events to generate funds. You can use RSVPify to sell ticket variations like VIP tickets so you can maximize the potential of fundraising activities. RSVPify also gives you the option of collecting online donations for specific events, giving church members the freedom to choose the amount they want to give. 

RSVPify integrates with other event planning and communication tools, including Facebook, Slack, Salesforce, and Gmail. 

RSVPify pricing starts at $39/account/month and they offer a free trial upon customer request. 

5. Swift Events – Event management software for organizing online events

Swift Events Church Event Management Software Screenshot
Swift Events lets you create and host online events for church members.

Swift Events is a virtual events platform you can use to widen the reach of church events and services using the internet. You can use the platform to conduct live polls, SMS polling, quizzes, and gamification to make your event more interactive. It also allows you to conduct pre-and post-event surveys to help you determine areas you can improve to make future events more successful. 

Online events are getting more popular among churches, and if you want to start hosting online events, then Swift Events is the best church event management software for you. Swift Events allows you to customize your online event using your font, color, and layout style to make your event stand out while promoting your church. You can use Swift Events to Livestream in-person events on your church website, or social media account so you can reach members who cannot attend in-person anywhere they are in the globe. 

Swift Events integrates with other communication and video conferencing tools like Webex, Zoom, and GoToMeeting. 

Swift Events has a free version for up to 150 participants, while the pricing for the paid plans starts at $5/month/up to 300 participants.

6. Hopin – Church event management software for marketing activities

Hopin Church Event Management Software Screenshot
Hopin has an event builder functionality to ensure customization of events to make them more appealing to invitees. 

Hopin is a management software for handling not just in-person events but online events and hybrid events too. You can use it as a planning center to manage your event in its entirety, from planning to post-event evaluation. It has an analytics feature to help you analyze critical data like attendee statistics, chat transcripts, and event recordings so you can use event data to plan future events. 

No matter how amazing your event is, it can turn into a disaster if you cannot market it properly, which is why Hopin’s event marketing feature is a vital feature. You can use Hopin to create an amazing landing page that can help promote your event and drive attendance or launch an email marketing campaign. It also has an attendee management feature for resending tickets, creating promo codes, issuing refunds, and others that can help increase attendance at your events. 

Hopin integrates with other amazing event management tools like Twitter, Mailchimp, GoFundMe, Figma, and Slack. 

Hopin is free church event management software, but they offer paid plans starting at $99/month/account. 

7. EventPro – Church event management software for managing resources during events

EventPro Church Event Management Software Screenshot
You can use EventPro to manage the resources you need to make your event successful.

EventPro is an event management software for churches of all sizes, businesses, and nonprofits to help them plan and execute events. It has different modules to help you manage your events, including attendance tracking, email marketing, child check-in, etc. You can also use EventPro to create custom event webpages to market your event and act as an online registration form. 

Mounting an event means utilizing resources, and EventPro is the best event management software for you if you want one that allows you to manage the resources you need during the event. You can use EventPro to allocate resources like tables and chairs, audio-visual equipment, tents, and others to ensure the comfort of attendees and avoid double-booking equipment. If you have to source equipment, you can use EventPro to maintain a record of hired equipment and their costs for accounting purposes. 

EventPro provides customized pricing and a free demo upon request. 

8. PowerChurch Plus – Church event management software for managing tasks

Power Church Plus Church Event Management Software Screenshot
PowerChurch Plus has a member management feature to maintain a comprehensive record of members that you can also send event invites to your member directory.

PowerChurch Plus is a church management software solution with different modules to help you manage your church and its activities. It has a membership management feature for maintaining a record of your members, their contact details, and other critical information. PowerChurch Plus’ donation management feature can help you manage member contributions whether from checking accounts, credit card, text giving, or online giving. This donor management feature also allows you to keep donors’ financial information secure while ensuring that records of donations are available for fund accounting. 

Small churches and large churches rely on the generosity of volunteers when it comes to manning events, and PowerChurch Plus is the best church management software for you if you want to ensure that volunteers know what to do during events. PowerChurch Plus has a volunteer management feature to assign tasks to people giving you a better idea of who is responsible for a task and which tasks need more resources. You can use the software to automate the sending of notifications whenever a new task gets assigned to help you save time from sending a text message to each volunteer.  

PowerChurch Plus has a one-time license fee starting at $395. They offer free demos that customers can download using the PowerChurch Plus website. 

9. Arlo – Church event management software for managing educational events

Arlo Church Event Management Software Screenshot
Use Arlo to maintain a calendar of events that lets you see event status to send a follow-up to the event point person.

Arlo is a training management software with an event management feature to help you conduct recurring events successfully. It allows you to create customized registration forms ensuring you capture all the details of participants for easier group management during the actual event. Arlo can help you create tasks and assign them to volunteers or church employees. Arlo also helps streamline task management by automatically sending a task checklist whenever you assign a task. 

Part of ministering to a flock is helping them improve themselves by gaining new skills or maximizing the ones they possess and Arlo is the best event management software for you if you hold recurring events or educational ones. With Arlo, you can easily plan and execute educational events like a series of seminars about how to minister to the community or how to manage Sunday schools effectively. You can use Arlo to create multi-session courses that allow participants to choose the sessions they want to take. Arlo lets you automate workflows to help you save time, like sending feedback surveys to help you gauge the success of your events. 

Arlo pricing starts at $89/license/month, and they offer a 14-day free trial. 

10. Mazevo – Mobile event management app to help you manage events on-the-go

Mazevo Church Event Management Software Screenshot
Mazevo’s mobile app has a messaging feature enabling organizers to communicate with other team members.

Mazevo is a SaaS with an event management functionality for scheduling facilities and resources to help you prevent double-booking while ensuring you have the resources for scheduled events. It has a detailed calendar of events so organizers and invitees can view upcoming events, their descriptions, and how they can register to join. It also has a reporting and analytics functionality so you can study previous church events and find ways of improving them. 

Managing events requires quick decisions and coordination which makes Mazevo an excellent option because it has an in-app messaging feature so you can coordinate with other team members using your mobile device. Mazevo works not just on computers but also on iOS and Android phones, so you can access real-time information in your office or on the field. The app allows users to send detailed set-up information and photos so you can track the progress of preparations and 

Mazevo pricing and a free demo are available by request. 

What do you think about this list?

Events are crucial to churches of all sizes because they offer excellent opportunities for church members to mingle and for the church leadership to raise funds for outreach programs and other church activities. If you want to mount successful events every time, your church needs excellent church event management software. 

This type of software can help you create and manage events, market events, and collect payment for ticketed events. With the help of excellent church event management software, you can hold amazing church events all the time to improve engagement and help church members hone their skills. 

Aside from church event management software, there are other fantastic software your church can benefit from, and you can read all about them when you subscribe to The Lead Pastor

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Tools

10 Best Church Volunteer Management Software In 2022

In any church, volunteers play a vital role in keeping things running. But when you have many helpers assisting with various events and activities, managing them can be a headache. It’s hard to keep track of who’s doing what—and even harder to ensure that each project has the right staffing at the right time. 

That’s why church volunteer management software is such a fast-growing sector in the SaaS niche. From food drives to community outreach, these volunteer management tools help keep church programs running efficiently. In this article, I’ll discuss the top church volunteer management software tools and show how they can help.

Tool Shortlist

Here’s the list of the best church volunteer management systems I’ll cover in this article.

  1. Churchteams
  2. Planning Center
  3. Church Community Builder
  4. ASC Technologies
  5. Galaxy Digital
  6. Track it Forward 
  7. SignUp.com
  8. iVolunteer
  9. VolunteerMark 
  10. VolunteerHub

Comparison Criteria

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

  1. User Interface (UI): I look for an interface that users both young and old will find easy to understand
  2. Usability: I expect everyone from the pastor down to have no problems getting to grips with features
  3. Integrations: I look for ready-made integrations with related church software and other productivity tools
  4. Value for $: I’m seeking software that will keep volunteer programs on track without making a big hole in the church budget

Church Volunteer Management Key Features

Here are the features I hope to see in quality church volunteer management software:

  1. Creating and storing volunteer profiles: allowing volunteers to register and indicate their interests, favorite activities, and licenses.
  2. Coordinating volunteer schedules: customizable calendars and volunteer self-scheduling tools to keep everyone engaged and in the loop
  3. Volunteer hours tracking & reporting: accurate data showing how volunteer resources are being allocated and used
  4. Volunteer interests & skills matching: making the most of your team by fitting the right people to each task
  5. Online background checks: integration with a quality background screen organization for a thorough investigation of volunteer’s histories
  6. Communications hub: multi-channel connections with volunteers using email, text, and social media messaging to stay in touch
  7. View and fill available shifts: coordinate helpers, cap attendance, and fill in gaps as required
  8. Check-in and check-out processes: contactless tracking of volunteer attendance at events and meetings
  9. Group scheduling: working with other ministries and volunteer groups with coordinated volunteer recruitment and scheduling
  10. Reporting: creating a full range of reports to share with the community, demonstrating the impact of projects

The Lead Pastor is reader-supported. We may earn a commission when you click through links on our site — learn more about how we aim to stay transparent.

Overviews Of The 10 Best Church Volunteer Management Software

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

1. Churchteams – Best for text-to-church communications tools

Churchteams Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
Churchteams help you track volunteers and contact them when necessary.

Churchteams provides membership management, communications, and contributions management for churches and nonprofit organizations of any size. Church leaders can collect custom member attributes and record attendance, as well as taking pastoral notes and prayer requests. The check-in features help with managing attendance at classes, events, and worship services.

The text-to-church capability allows volunteers and others to start an interaction with the church, using technology they are comfortable with. Volunteers can be assigned to one or more groups according to their preferences. Churchteams is available both on the web and as a mobile app. 

This tool integrates with a number of applications, including Google Maps.

Churchteams cost $37/user/month, and a 30-day free trial is available.

2. Planning Center – Best for advanced scheduling over long time periods

Planning Center Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
Planning Center gives a clear overview of events, volunteers, and activities.

Planning Center is a cloud-based CHMS that supports church leaders in organizing, scheduling, and managing programs and events. Features include a services module for planning worship events, plus a resources module that makes it easy to reserve rooms and publish event calendars. Members of the congregation can see future events displayed on tablets, touchscreens, or TVs in common areas. 

Organizers can schedule months ahead using the Matrix feature, while volunteer gaps can be filled with auto-scheduling. Church members can upload and tag media and files, including songs or videos required for services. All events, rooms, and resources have their own calendar feeds, which can be synched with programs such as Outlook, iCal, and Google Calendar.

This tool integrates with ChurchSuite, Essential Worship, Faithlife Proclaim, and Mailchimp.

Planning Center offers customized pricing according to individual needs. A free 30-day trial is available for all users.

3. Church Community Builder – Best for simplifying scheduling

Church Community Builder Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
Church Community Builder keeps you connected to all your volunteers.

Church Community Builder from Pushpay is a cloud-based solution that helps leaders engage with their congregation. The software includes features such as contact management, check-in, and contribution management. Leaders can also follow up with guests, manage online giving, and view metrics on the built-in dashboards. 

This platform includes volunteer scheduling to help you organize teams and empower them to get things done. Schedulers can also receive alerts when volunteers need to complete a background check before proceeding. The system notifies volunteers of available positions and sends automatic reminders when they are due to serve.

This platform integrates many related tools, including Active Screening, Aplos, PastorsLine, and Text-em-All.

Pushpay provides customized pricing on request. 

4. ASC Technologies Realm – Best for making the most of individual talents

ASC Technologies Realm Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
Realm shows your upcoming events that may need support from volunteers.

Realm from ASC Technologies manages your church volunteer database, including volunteers, staff, and members of the congregation. The software keeps track of attendance, monitors giving, and helps leaders communicate with members. Realm integrates with your church website to manage check-in and allow updating of personal profiles.

The software has features to help ministers discover the talents of individual volunteers. This information can then be used to assign people to the tasks that suit them best. If necessary, unique roles can be created to leverage the skills of particular volunteers.

Realm integrates with solutions such as Givelify, Extend, and the Journey Project.

5. Galaxy Digital – A complete solution for volunteer management

Galaxy Digital Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
Galaxy Digital keeps you abreast of volunteer activity.

Designed to be mobile-first, Galaxy Digital helps nonprofit organizations automate, streamline and grow their volunteer programs. The Get Connected functionality tracks volunteer hours and reports on the impact of their work. Volunteer managers can quickly approve time submissions. Helpers can also be managed in large or small groups, with time allocated to different projects as required.

The work of ‘plus one’ volunteers can also be tracked easily. This all-in-one app is social-media friendly, encouraging volunteers to share their work with friends. Volunteer resumes are built automatically, ready for download at any time. 

Galaxy Digital offers customized pricing on request. There is no free trial.

6. Track It Forward – Best for volunteer self-tracking

Track It Forward Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
Track it Forward offers multiple options for adding volunteers.

With the help of Track It Forward, you can easily track the time committed by volunteers and coordinators. Approvals can be delegated to multiple people, with alerts sent when hours are pending confirmation. For large groups, hours can be approved in bulk.

Volunteers can log their hours instantly, either using the website or through the mobile app. They can also sign up for future activities using the calendar function. Where possible, information is pre-filled to make logging time as simple as possible. 

Track It Forward costs from $12/user/month, and a free trial is available. 

7. SignUp.com – Best for free online signup sheets

SignUp.com Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
SignUp handles registrations for any event or meeting.

SignUp.com offers volunteer scheduling software for streamlining scheduling, event planning, and fundraising. Ministers can manage volunteer records and send invitations by email or SMS. They can also receive confirmation notifications instantly. 

This app can be used to manage signups for any event, using features such as engagement analytics, data synchronization, custom workflows, and calendar management. Church leaders can use the mobile app to view or edit volunteer details, assign tasks and generate reports. 

The software integrates with WePay for online payments, allowing organizations to collect fees and contributions. 

Signup.com costs from $9.99/user/month. A 30-day free trial is available.

8. iVolunteer – A better alternative to messy spreadsheets

iVolunteer Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
iVolunteer offers improved volunteer management with a familiar visual interface.

iVolunteer allows helpers to sign up for events quickly and easily. Designed to replace paper signup sheets, this user-friendly software eliminates confusion and duplication of staffing, while also protecting privacy. 

You can record attendance in real-time via the web or use manual sign-in reports. It’s easy to modify the home page, header, and instructions for each event. Administrators can be kept up to date with email notifications of signups and cancellations. 

iVolunteer costs from $20/user/month, and a free 30-day trial is available. 

9. VolunteerMark – A volunteer management system you can learn in minutes

VolunteerMark Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
VolunteerMark gives you quick insights into when helpers are available.

VolunteerMark is a cloud-based system for managing interactions with volunteers. It assists with scheduling, attendance tracking, reporting, and communications. Ministers can share volunteer opportunities to recruit helpers, as well as send emails and text messages to keep everyone in the loop.

VolunteerMark is designed to be easy to use, and even novice users can get up to speed quickly. Additional features include supporting multiple administrators, data migration, custom fields, and tags. The software connects to social media to make sharing simple. 

The software integrates with applications such as Stripe, LinkedIn, Facebook, and SendGrid.

VolunteerMark costs from $34/user/month, and a free 30-day trial is available. 

10. VolunteerHub – Best for combined volunteer and event management

Volunteer Hub Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
VolunteerHub works on a wide range of devices.

VolunteerHub is designed to make organizing ministry outreach events simple. The software facilities all aspects of volunteer management, ensuring that all projects and events are staffed optimally. Church leaders can view and print rosters, update event details, and email helpers from anywhere. 

The software encompasses both volunteer management and event administration. As a result, managers can regulate the number of volunteers assisting at each event, search for appropriate helpers and register them as needed. Waitlists can be created for full events, with emails sent as spaces become available. 

VolunteerHub integrates with many business platforms including Altru and eTapestry.

VolunteerHub costs from $150/user/month. There is no free trial.

Other Options

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

  1. Timecounts – Best for a software solution that scales with your program
  2. Roster Volunteers – Quick and easy volunteer scheduling
  3. SignUpGenius – Eliminates ‘reply-all’ emails and paper signup sheets
  4. Signup Zone – Management of rosters, signups, and rotas
  5. VolunteerLocal – Best for streamlined scheduling, event registration, and communication
  6. WhenToHelp – Eliminates volunteer scheduling headaches
  7. YourVolunteers – 100% free volunteer scheduling

Related Read: Online Church Management Software

What do you think about this list?

Do you agree with my choices for the best church volunteer management software? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Remember to sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news and information.

You might also like to check out our post on Church Management Software. For alternatives that won’t bust your budget, try our picks of Free Church Management Software. There’s always something interesting to read, so be sure to come back to The Lead Pastor often!

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Article How To

How To Conduct Church Financial Management + Best Practices

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a pastor feeling overwhelmed about financial management within your church. Maybe you’re considering hiring a finance professional, but maybe this costs more money than you want to spend, especially if you’re a small church without a large admin team.

You’re not alone. I’m Lexie Schmidt, and I’ve been involved at all levels of church volunteering and management. My experience in ministry can help guide you through the common pitfalls of managing your church’s financial health.

Managing your church’s finances doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. Whether you’re trying to improve current practices or starting a new church plant, these tips and resources will help you get started.

How To Manage Your Church’s Finances

In many ways, church finance is like finance for any company: the goal is for funds to be greater than expenses. But rather than selling a product to earn money, churches get most of their funds through individual donations—about 81 percent, according to a recent national study by Lake Institute on Faith & Giving. This categorizes them as a nonprofit, along with other requirements such as serving the public, and using funds towards a mission or cause.

One common misconception is that a nonprofit organization can’t make, or hold onto, money year-over-year. Just like for-profit companies, nonprofits are expected to maintain cash reserves for emergencies and build those reserves in anticipation for large projects and expenditures, such as renovations, upgrades, and other projects. 

How To Create A Church Budget

The biggest part of financial management is creating and maintaining a budget. A budget tells you how much you can spend by tracking how much you have coming in. Making a budget gives you your greatest tool in being an effective steward of your church’s finances. 

Budgeting can be a large task in practice but includes two main parts:

Part 1: Evaluating Current Financial Health

Your initial evaluation is vital to good bookkeeping, but it can be broken into simple steps.

  • Using past records, you can estimate what funds and expenses you will have for the upcoming year. 
  • Will you be in debt, or come close? If so, what is costing you the most? What is the greatest source of funds, and can a simple fundraiser cover the shortfall? Do you need a short-term or long-term loan to hold you over?
  • Ideally, you want to be able to cover your expenses and have money left over to save. If your tithes and offerings are not enough, consider whether new programs or events can generate the revenue you need.
  • If your church is running any expensive programs, they may need to be put on hold until the financial situation is more stable. This is always the hardest part. Sometimes, the programs we hold most dear are the ones that cost the most. Be willing to cut them until your finances improve.

Part 2: Determining Short- And Long-Term Goals

Financial goals should be specific and actionable. If you want to increase donations for the next year, aim for a certain percentage. If there’s a trip or project you want to fund, figure out how much it will cost. Compare these goals to your budget and see how much money can be allocated to fundraising and campaigning.

This, too, can be simplified into a few, easy steps.

  • Compare your past revenue and expenditures over the past several years. Generally, five years is enough. Use those figures to determine your percentage of growth or loss year-over-year.
  • Take those percentages and project your possible finances over the next five years. Look for shortfalls and overages in your projections.
  • If you have shortfalls over the next year or two, start identifying immediate remedies like fundraising through church events or small business loans in emergency situations. Shortfalls toward the end of your projections can be fixed by setting short-term goals for growth through outreach and community involvement.
  • Conversely, if you find yourself with extra finances, you should set short-term goals of saving a certain percentage, usually 10-15% of income, for emergencies, and begin to identify your areas of greatest need for church projects.
  • Long-term goals involve what comes after those five-year projections. While a short-term goal may involve upgrading your HVAC system, a long-term goal might be purchasing or building a new sanctuary. Think 10-20 years into the future as you start a savings plan or other financial concerns beyond your current needs.

Special Tax Considerations For Churches

Like other nonprofits, most of your funds will come from tax-exempt donations. Tax-exempt status comes with some rules:

  • the organization must primarily be used for religious or charitable work
  • the organization cannot promote any political agenda
  • the net earnings do not primarily benefit a single person
  • the organization’s agenda must not be illegal

Churches are not exempt from filing annual tax information returns. The specific guidelines can be found in IRS Publication 1828 where you can learn the ins and outs of US church taxes. Canada is slightly different, though. Religious charities, the legal term for all religious organizations in Canada, do not have to fill out the publicly accessible portion of the tax information return. They must still complete the government-accessible portion.

In the US, though, tax audits are nearly impossible for the IRS to initiate without evidence of malfeasance from a whistleblower, and those audits can only happen every 5 years unless malfeasance is found in an audit. This means that the IRS can usually only see a church’s books through their employees and what is reported on the tax forms. The IRS is, by law, unable to help churches track their finances.

Best Practices For Church Financial Management

Church finances can sometimes be seen as the ugly duckling of our business. Just like the ugly duckling, though, proper budgeting and management can turn your finances into a beautiful swan. Here are some of the best practices for growing a healthy budget.

Structuring Financial Oversight

Without government help tracking financial information, churches have to be vigilant about monitoring funds and putting safeguards in place to prevent losses. You can do this through a structure of checks and balances. In most churches, finances can be handled with a combination of the following elements. 

  • The board
  • The treasurer
  • The finance committee
  • The audit committee

Your church’s board of trustees (or board of directors) is ultimately responsible for financial oversight, but normal management tasks will be delegated to a finance committee chaired by the church treasurer.

Ideally, your treasurer and people on the finance committee will have relevant experience with budgeting and accounting. At the very least, however, look for people who have a gift for numbers and handling money. 

The finance committee’s duties include:

  • Creating policies
  • Managing funds
  • Keeping financial records

This means they hold almost all control over the church’s finances. The audit committee acts as a power check—they review financial statements for accuracy and make sure that policies are actually being followed.

Improving Financial Stewardship

Faithful stewardship is a congregation-wide practice that should be implemented in every area of life, but financial stewardship is the finance committee’s responsibility. Ensuring stewardship of a church’s finances means using internal controls to track and monitor funds.

Some common methods for monitoring your finances are:

  • Using church management software as outlined in our next section.
  • Keeping good books by recording all income and expenses promptly
  • Ensure that cash from offerings pass through as few hands as possible
  • Always pay with checks or bank cards linked to the church’s account
  • Secure the passwords to your church’s banking and business accounts

By being careful about who has access to your church’s money, both physically and digitally, you can more easily identify where funds have been misplaced or misused.

We have already talked about keeping and reviewing financial records as a practice among board and committee members, but most funds originate from church members. This is where stewardship is often overlooked.

Donations are most vulnerable at collection, because they haven’t been included in reports yet. Luckily, there are many easy ways to keep track of them:

  • Have more than one person present when counting offerings
  • Store offerings securely
  • Provide envelopes for cash offerings
  • Use a secure platform for digital offerings
  • Encourage recurring pay

These measures not only protect offerings from theft, but some can actually increase donations. Many people want to donate but forget or don’t have cash, so you can offer options like digital giving or automatic recurring payments to members of the congregation who might be interested.

Use Church Management Software

Keeping track of all those numbers might be difficult, but the right church management software can help. Church management software is designed to make administration more efficient by putting several tools in one place. 

While specific software programs have different specialties, generally they include:

  • Attendance and membership trackers
  • Financial management tools
  • Communication aids
  • Event and volunteer organizers
  • Website builders

You might have to shop around, but investing in the right software is an act of financial stewardship on its own. For finance-specific software, try church finance software or church accounting software.

Get Started With Church Financial Management

Still having trouble? Whether your church’s finances are just a mess or starting from scratch with a church plant sounds too overwhelming, it might be time to consider hiring a financial consultant or accountant. Keep an eye out for one of the many specifically Christian-based organizations dedicated to helping churches too.

I’m Lexie, and I hope you’ve learned something as you have read this guide. If you’ve implemented successful financial management tactics at your church, tell us about it! And if you’re starting a new church, be sure to check out our article on other problems that can arise in church planting.

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10 Best Church Database Software For Information Management [2022]

Records-keeping is critical for any organization, and churches are no exception. Churches need to keep a record of their properties, financial assets, resources, and memberships. 

Although some churches still keep manual records of this information, using software to maintain these records can help make records-keeping easier and error-free. 

According to Pew Research, there are around 248 million Christians in the United States. Imagine the workforce it takes to maintain and keep track of 248 million member records. 

This article will introduce you to some of the best church database software for information management and how you can use them to improve how you manage your church.

Shortlist 

  1. ChurchTrac 
  2. ACS Suite
  3. Planning Center
  4. ChurchSuite 
  5. Elvanto 
  6. Tithe.ly 
  7. Blackbaud Church Management
  8. Faith Teams 
  9. ChurchTeams 
  10. FellowshipOne 

Comparison Criteria

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

1.   User Interface (UI): A church database software should have a clean user interface so church members can quickly find the features they need. 

2.   Usability: A church database is software for use not just of church leaders but volunteers and church members, so it needs to be user-friendly even to those who are not tech-savvy

3.   Integrations: Church leaders often use a church database software together with other church management software, so it needs to be compatible with other tools and applications

4.   Value for $: Churches often operate on limited funds, so I look for a church database software packed with useful software features but with reasonable pricing. 

Church Database Solutions: Key Features

  1. Membership management: Allows users to maintain a database of church members, their profiles, and contact information
  2. Volunteer management: Allows church leaders to maintain a database of church volunteers and assign tasks during church events.
  3. Fund accounting: Allows users to keep a database of church funds and the projects and activities they support
  4. Donation management: Allows users to accept and maintain a record of donations.
  5. Communication tools: Enables church leaders to communicate with church members via messages from the church website, its social media account, text messages, or emails. 

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Overviews Of The 10 Best Church Database Software Solutions

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

1. Churchtrac – Best for small to mid-sized churches

Churchtrac Church Database Software Screenshot
Churchtrac provides you with unlimited tagging options so you can assign members to different groups.

Churchtrac is an all-in-one church management software you can use to manage your church membership database so you can get to know your members better. You can use it to plan worship services and schedule volunteers, ensuring that worship services will go smoothly. It has a giving feature to help you accept donations through checks, online donations, and text giving, ensuring that you have enough funds to sustain your ministry and all of its programs. 

Churchtrac is the best database software for your church if you want to find group members because of its unlimited tagging options easily. With Churchtrac, you can tag members in the different groups and use the tags as filters making searches easier. You can create custom tags if you have unique groups that don’t match pre-set tags. 

Churchtrac is free church management software but has paid plans that start at $5/month/up to 75 members, and they offer a 30-day free trial.  

2. ACS Suite – Robust church database app with accounting suite

ACS Suite Church Database Software Screenshot
ACS users have access to graphs and reports to present data to members and stakeholders. 

ACS is a church management software you can use to capture and manage member profiles, contact information, history, family relations, and notes, allowing you to get to know your members better. You can use the software to create picture directories to place faces on member names and have a visual aid to recognize members faster. ACS Suite can also help you keep a database of your interactions with church members that you can use as a guide on how to proceed with future interactions and plans on how to improve stewardship programs. 

ACS is the best church database software if you need to present church information because it has customizable pie charts, line graphs, bar graphs, and reports you can use. It also lets you create up to three statistical reports with custom setup options so you can prepare and present the data that you require. With the help of ACS’s reporting capabilities, you can take an in-depth look at the state of your church membership, so you’ll know which areas you need to improve on.  

ACS Suite pricing is available upon request. 

3. Planning Center – Church database with membership management & a calendar

Planning Center Church Database Software Screenshot
Planning Center lets you create and maintain a database of church groups, including archived ones.

Planning Center is a suite of tools you can use to record and maintain critical information about your church and its members. It has a calendar functionality you can use to schedule events and track rooms and resources to avoid scheduling conflicts. Planning Center has a membership management feature to record and organize the personal details of church members like contact information, group memberships, church history, and others. 

Planning Center is the best church database software if your church has many active small groups because it has a group management feature you can use to maintain a database of groups and their members. The software lets you add a comprehensive description of a group and its goals to help encourage new members. You can also use Planning Center to share useful documents, videos, audio, and other files to specific groups to help both the group and its members grow. 

Planning Center integrates with other church management tools, including ProPresenter, PushPay, Worship Extreme, Zapier, etc. 

Each Planning Center module starts at $14/month, and you can get as many add-on modules as you need. 

4. ChurchSuite – Best database to integrate newcomers

ChurchSuite Church Database Software Screenshot
ChurchSuite allows users to append notes, ensuring that you attend to all the needs of your youth ministry.

ChurchSuite is a cloud-based church management software solution for keeping your church members’ details in a secure, centralized location. It can help you maintain a database of important member information like contact details, family members, birthdays, and anniversaries, ensuring that you have access to critical information that will help you minister to members effectively. It has a suite of communication tools so you can send emails or text messages to church members and communicate crucial information about church events and services. 

ChurchSuite is the best church management software if you have many young members because it allows you to securely track and manage your church’s youth and children’s ministry. It has a built-in child check-in functionality to help assure parents that the church is looking after the security and welfare of their children. You can use ChurchSuite to sort children by age group to help you formulate age-appropriate programs and events.

ChurchSuite pricing starts at $21.50/month/license, and they offer a 30-day free trial.  

5. Elvanto – Church database with custom form builder

Elvanto Church Database Software Screenshot
Church leaders can use Elvanto to create custom forms to capture member details and augment their database.

Elvanto is a SaaS church management system for handling administrative tasks like maintaining your church calendar, managing membership database, worship planning, volunteer scheduling, and donor management. It has built-in templates allowing you to send mass emails and SMS to relay critical information to all members. Elvanto has a mobile app version that works on iOS and Android mobile devices so church volunteers can participate in event planning and collaborate with fellow volunteers. 

Elvanto is the best church management system if you want to create custom forms to obtain membership details because of its form builder feature. Elvanto’s form builder feature provides you with customizable forms you can use for group memberships, worship services, fund-raising events, and others. This gives you complete control over the type of information you want to obtain for your church database. You can embed forms on your church website so you can automatically sync information, ensuring that your church database is constantly updated. 

Elvanto integrates with other church management and productivity apps like SongSelect, PayPal, MailChimp, and Stripe. 

Elvanto pricing starts at $50/month/license, and they provide a free demo upon request.

6. Tithe.ly – Best donation database

Tithe.ly Church Database Software Screenshot
Tithe.ly enables church administrators and leaders to keep an accurate record of donors, their contact information, and their donation history. 

Tithe.ly is a giving platform that churches of all sizes can use to provide members with a wide variety of options for providing financial assistance to the ministry. You can use Tithe.ly to add or update your church members’ contact details, profile images, family members, and other important details you can use to minister to them. Tithe.ly also allows you to conduct background checks for new members and volunteers, ensuring that you protect the other members of your congregation. 

Tithe.ly is the best church management system if you want to manage your church’s fund-raising efforts because it has digital giving tools. You can use this ChMS to keep track of your church’s offline and online giving, like cash and check gifts, ensuring that you can keep tabs on your cash inflow. You can use Tithe.ly to generate comprehensive reports of your gifts, deposits, and other financial transactions, giving you a clear idea of your church’s financial health.  

Tithe.ly pricing starts at $19/month/license plus a one-time setup fee of $149. 

7. Blackbaud Church Management – Best volunteer database

Blackbaud Church Management Church Database Software Screenshot
Blackbaud provides you with a means of maintaining a database of volunteers you can activate for church activities and events.

Blackbaud is a church management software with people and event management capabilities to help you grow your church. It has a reporting and analytics feature to help you gain insights about your church and how you can guide your ministries. You can use Blackbaud’s email function to send follow-ups to specific members or provide updates to the entire congregation about upcoming church events and activities.  

If your church conducts many events and activities like outreach programs, family weekends, or Sunday schools, then Blackbaud is the best church database software for you because of its volunteer management feature. You can use Blackbaud to store volunteer information enabling you to match specific roles to volunteers ensuring that volunteers get assigned roles that match their skillset. You can also use Blackbaud for attendance tracking of volunteers, so you know which volunteers have records of absences so you can reassign them to groups that will pique their interest. 

Blackbaud pricing and demo are available upon request. 

8. Faith Teams – Best dashboards & reports

Faith Teams Church Database Software Screenshot
Faith Teams can help you plan and execute smooth sailing worship services.

Faith Teams is an all-in-one church management system you can use to maintain an updated member directory, ensuring you can get in touch with members to minister to them. It has a contribution management feature so you can track contributions and print year-end statements for donors for transparency. Faith Teams allows you to add an unlimited number of members into your database, making it ideal for large churches and small churches hoping to increase its membership.

Faith Teams is the best church database software to provide excellent worship services to church members because it has a service planner feature. The software lets you maintain a database with all the tools you need to deliver successful worship services, including a database of songs, sermons, Bible texts, and multimedia presentations. Faith Teams also allows you to automate the sending of guests’ follow-ups so you can concentrate on making every worship service a success.  

Faith Teams cost $40/month/account, and they offer a 10-day free trial.

9. ChurchTeams – Best for large churches

ChurchTeams Church Database Software Screenshot
ChurchTeams has an automation feature to streamline processes and make database maintenance easier.

ChurchTeams is a church management software with different features like membership management and volunteer management you can use to attend to the needs of your congregation. It has online giving and donation management features to connect to your church accounting software for financial reporting and ensuring compliance with accounting principles. You can use ChurchTeams to share news, sermons, or upcoming events with church members using emails, text messages, your church website, or social media accounts.    

ChurchTeams is the best church database software for your church to streamline workflows because it has an automation feature. For example, when you add new members to your church database, the system can automatically add new members into classes or groups according to pre-set rules, saving you time from manually looking for a group where a new member will fit. During event registrations, you can design an automated workflow that sends thank you text messages to attendees with a link to future church gatherings or events. 

ChurchTeams pricing starts at $37/month/up to 200 people, and they offer a 30-day free trial. 

10. Fellowship One – Best church mobile app builder

Fellowship One Church Database Software Screenshot
FellowshipOne lets you maintain a record of your church’s finances, enabling you to share fund accounting reports to church members.

FellowshipOne is a church management software you can use to create a membership database allowing you to get to know your congregation better. It has a mobile app version that church members can use to update their personal information and contact details, ensuring that you always have updated information about your flock. You can also use the software to maintain a database of church resources like facilities, volunteers, media files, equipment, and others. 

FellowshipOne is the best church database software to ensure a faithful database of your church’s funds because it has a built-in church accounting software. FellowshipOne’s church accounting software is easy to understand and use, making it ideal for churches and non-profit organizations with no full-time CPA employee. You can use the software to track bills, deposits, and budgets, ensuring that you can access financial information in a centralized location. FellowshipOne lets you track receivables and sync them to your central chart of accounts, so you have a financial database to use in assessing your church’s financial health. 

FellowshipOne pricing is available upon request, and they offer a 30-day free trial.

What do you think about this list?

A church needs a record of its members and resources to minister to its flock effectively. Armed with an extensive database, a church leader can plan worship services, outreach programs, and group activities that will suit the needs of church members. 

Aside from church database software, there are other useful software that church leaders can use to manage their congregation, and you can learn more about them by subscribing to The Lead Pastor newsletter.

Related Read: Young Disciples: Turning A Youth Group Into A Youth Church

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Complete Guide To Church Event Management & Planning

Church events are some of the most important services a church can offer, so effective church event management offers powerful opportunities for growth and outreach. These events can teach, unite families, fundraise, and more. The scope of events are only limited by imagination and your resources. Local churches remain vital places where people can safely gather within their community, and successful events are key in drawing those community members into your doors.

I’m Lexie Schmidt, and I have years of experience in church event management. I’ve done everything from act in and help produce yearly plays with a cast of hundreds to organizing weekly hangouts for teenagers. In this article, I’ll teach you the fundamentals of managing the various aspects of your church’s events.

What Is Church Event Management?

Church event management strategies will differ depending on the size of church you have. For instance, a larger church with several hundred members might have an associate pastor who handles event planning, while a megachurch of thousands of members may have a dedicated event planner who is not part of the ministry team. 

The smallest churches may find that their lead pastor or worship leader handles event management. The church I currently go to is so small that our Treasurer, who is also a deacon, is usually the manager for our events.

No matter who is managing your events, a church event manager needs a few qualities to be successful.

  • Organized: Every successful event has this in common. Without organization, your volunteers will not be able to complete their tasks, and the event may result in failure.
  • People-Oriented: Managing an event is as much about managing the volunteers who help put the event on as it is about managing the people being served in the event.
  • Self-Driven: Your event manager should be able to take instructions and complete them through delegating tasks and hands-on intervention when necessary.
  • Shared Vision: The lead pastor should have a clear vision about the goals of the event, and the event manager should share those goals and be able to communicate them clearly and enthusiastically with your volunteers.

What’s The Difference Between An Event And A Project?

illustration of a hammer and hard hat with the label project and a wedding with the label event
Projects and events are distinct, although they do have some similarities.

Before we continue, we should make sure that your event is an event and not a project. It is common for people to use the terms interchangeably, but they are quite distinct. The easiest way to distinguish between an event and a project is to ask yourself who it serves.

An event serves the community, the congregation, or the greater good. 

Event examples include fundraisers like Fun Runs or bake sales, yearly events like Passion Plays or Christmas Pageants, and even Vacation Bible School would be considered an event. The most common event that churches manage is the wedding.

A project is something that directly benefits the church itself, whether the physical building or the spiritual structure. I won’t delve too deeply into projects here, but think about things like repairs, landscaping, or even developing volunteers into leaders.

Events and projects are linked, though. Frequently, projects require resources above the normal amount that your church has. Most types of events can help you generate those resources. So, if you’re in the right place, read on.

Guidelines For Church Event Management & Planning

When I was in active ministry for a megachurch, my main areas of responsibility were stage management for the main church and youth events for the youth church. After hundreds of events, I was able to learn the five steps to successful event management.

Guideline 1: The Plan Is The Key

Without a plan, no one knows what they are doing. My solution was to put plans in binders filled with event details. Hardly any church event is one-off that will never repeat, so keep yourself organized and prepared as events come around again. Your plan should include all the steps to set-up, break-down, and everything in between. Eventually, each type of event should have its own template binder.

I find it helpful to divide each set of instructions into sections based on the areas of responsibility. For example, as a stage manager, lighting, sound, and musicians were under my care. So, in my event binder, I would have a section for each one, plus a section where I wrote instructions for myself in case I was unable to do the event, or I forgot what comes next.

In the church where I worked, we had a very large stage, nearly 200 feet long. For a wedding, lighting would only highlight the center of the stage, where the bridal party would stand as opposed to the entire stage. Our lighting system had specific codes that would program the lights, so those codes were written in the binder. Typically, the lights would be colored to match the bridal party’s dresses and overall theme.

I could continue with each section, but this should give you an idea of the things to put in your plan. When it comes to church event planning, whether a wedding or a fun get-together with your church’s young people, it is not possible to plan too much. The more you plan your first event, the less you have to plan your next church event.

Guideline 2: Know Your Volunteers

Volunteers are the backbone of a church. Without them, we don’t get very far. Take the time to get to know them, their skills, and their passions. The foundation of Christianity is leadership through service, so, as pastors, it is our job to put those who help us serve in positions of success.

Several methods exist to learn who your volunteers are, but my favorite has always been a team dinner. Most commonly, team dinners end up as pizza parties, but feel free to get creative with it. Just be sure to ask about allergies. That’s a mistake I’ll never make twice. If a dinner isn’t feasible (at the time of this writing my current church has canceled all after service dinners due to COVID-19, for instance), you can get on Zoom, send emails, or otherwise engage with your people.

I have been consistently amazed at the things people do in their free time. A steel worker who sews like he was born with a needle in his hand, a housewife who can keep up with professional carpenters, and even children who are better at improvising in difficult situations than their parents. You can never judge a person’s abilities by your first look. Get to know them, and you will find that many of your problems have already been solved.

For a more in-depth look at managing your volunteers, I wrote this article on church volunteer management. It really digs into how to identify and develop your church members.

Guideline 3: Know Your Vendors

One fundamental mistake I see many pastors make is forgetting that their church is a business, at least legally. Specifically, in the US, churches are a commercial business due to their nonprofit tax status under 501c(3). In the smaller churches I have worked in, I’ve seen many pastors go to big box stores and use their tax exempt card, but there is a better way.

As a corporation, most churches are able to buy direct from warehouses and wholesalers of all types. While you may think those big box stores are cheap, their prices are very high compared to what you can find from local vendors. I can’t give specific advice here because prices and availability of products will vary greatly from region to region, but I highly recommend making connections with your local warehousing agents and wholesalers.

For instance, a church retreat might involve camping. You can place orders with a warehouse or wholesaler for the camping supplies (including marshmallows and chocolate!) and pass the savings on to your churchgoers. Tables, chairs, sports equipment, canopies, and everything else your event needs to be successful can be bought near cost. From fun fairs to food drives, any material need can be covered by those local vendors.

In my personal experience, I’ve seen event costs cut in half by making purchase orders from wholesalers rather than pulling those same items off the shelf of a big box store. By shopping smart, you can really stretch your tithes and offerings and even get a return on them.

Guideline 4: There Is No Substitute For Experience

Experience is something that can only come with time. As someone who has had both talent and experience, I can say that experience wins every time. This is why you need to know your volunteers. Your veteran event volunteers should always be training their replacements so that the experience is not lost when the older volunteers retire from serving.

Do this by fostering good friendships and healthy relationships between your older and younger generations. Make sure the communication goes both ways. As much as the older volunteers have to teach, they also have to learn. Young people are fountains of new ideas and rejecting those ideas without considering them is a surefire way to get left behind.

New ideas are not inherently good. In fact, I would estimate about 90% of all new ideas are pretty bad. That’s where the experience comes in to temper the enthusiasm of youth. Show people that you are not afraid to try new things, but also show that everything must be tested to see if it is worthy. Of course, experience will state that new ideas should never be tried on the day of the event.

Guideline 5: Communicate At Each Previous Step

You have binders full of notes, you know your volunteers’ strengths and weaknesses, you’ve found great vendors, and your volunteers have a great amount of experience in the type of event you’re throwing. Now, make it all run smoothly without talking. It’s kind of difficult.

Pastors, especially the lead pastor who preaches every Sunday, are known for their strong voices, usually. If you are not the lead pastor but someone who is taking on the role of church event manager instead, you must find your voice. Sometimes it can be difficult to walk the line between assertive and rude, but experience helps. I never advise yelling or using mean words. You will just discourage people with those techniques.

  • Still, be loud because people like to talk until they are told to listen. 
  • Be clear with your wording. 
  • Write everything down. If it looks strange on paper, it will sound strange in speech. 
  • Make copies of your notes and give each section their own copy. That way they can coordinate with each other and any questions they have will be based on your own words.

Communication makes everything better. Using church event management software can help that. When all else fails, communicate. And if you are struggling with this skill, try following the steps in How To Develop A Church Communications Plan.

Tips & Best Practices For Church Event Management

I have a number of tips and best practices, but the first tip and most important practice is organization. Say it out loud, if you can. “Organize! Organize! Organize!” I stressed the importance of communication and planning in the previous section, because there is nothing to communicate without a plan. Every successful event begins and ends with binders full of notes and schedules.

That said, in addition to organization and communication, I have found the following to be the best practices for pulling off an amazing church event:

  • Excitement: Get your volunteers excited about the event and the goals that define its success.
  • Training: Not every job in an event needs extensive training, but those that do require it should have someone with the right experience. The wrong person in a key position could collapse your event.
  • Teamwork: Just because your volunteers go to the same church, it doesn’t mean they get along. Assign people to sections who work well together and have complementing personalities.
  • Hard work: Putting on events is not easy. Things go wrong quite often. But, hard work in everything from the planning process to event registration will help smooth out the bumps in the road.
  • Praise: While we should always praise the Lord, praising our volunteers will keep up the energy and excitement which will get them through the rough patches.

These are the most important tips I have for a beginner church event manager. As you gain experience, you might come across more of your own. Feel free to share in the comment section below.

Church Event Management Software

To help handle event check-in, credit card processing, RSVPs, and more, you need the best software. Thankfully, this has been covered in depth here in our article on the best church management software.

Church Event Management And You

Successful events are a part of every successful church’s toolkit. By following this guide, you will be able to create a workflow that will extend your church’s community outreach through fun and exciting events. Along the way, you might even find new church leaders that will help you grow as you approach the future.

Thank you for reading with me this far. I sincerely hope that you found the answers you needed. For any further questions, comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. I’ve been Lexie, and you’ve been wonderful today!

Related Read: Young Disciples: Turning A Youth Group Into A Youth Church

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Ultimate Guide To Church Leadership Roles And Responsibilities

An excellent church needs strong leadership and a dedicated congregation. Every single member of the church needs to understand the roles and responsibilities of the church’s leaders.

Different types of church leaders help your church-run, and all are equally important. When you define and understand the roles and responsibilities of each leader, your church will thrive. And a thriving church will grow from the congregation all the way up to your church board and worship team. 

You may know from my bio or the previous articles that I have worked in churches as small as fifty members up to a megachurch of over four thousand. I’ve also worked in nearly every role I’m about to mention.

Let my experience help you develop a leadership guide for your own church.

Here’s what I’ll cover:

Types Of Church Leadership Roles 

table showing different types of leadership roles in terms of ministry roles, church admin roles, and church board roles
There are a variety of church leadership roles.

You’re of course familiar with church leadership roles like the minister, pastor, bishop, and priest. But in addition to these titles, every religious organization needs a church board and an administration team to run the daily operations, ensure legal compliance, and make sure that the worship team is always communicating the church’s message. Your congregation notices when your church leadership team is on the same page.

Before continuing, let’s clarify a few terms.

  • Church Leader: The head pastor/bishop/priest. This is the person who leads the church.
  • Church Leadership: The rest of the team that follows the lead of the church leader. Sometimes, the leadership will be split into teams, like the worship team, or the youth team.

Maintaining and growing a successful church is a team effort. From the spiritual leader who preaches to the congregation to the treasurer and secretary, all successful churches must have strong leadership. The three main types of church leadership roles are ministry roles, church administration roles, and church board roles. 

As your church grows, you’ll need to increase the staff. Open job opportunities in your church can also help you increase the size of your congregation, so be sure to communicate all job openings to your community. 

Ministry Roles

Church leadership roles have evolved over the years. In the early church, for instance, some of the leadership was left to whoever owned the building that people worshipped in. But nowadays, the roles are much more complex. 

The title of your church leaders can vary by religion and denomination. For instance, a Baptist church is led by a minister, and a Catholic church’s leader is called a priest.

Pastor

The pastor is a key role in the church. Here are a few duties that every good pastor must fulfill: 

Your church’s pastor is likely the face of your church. Each church member recognizes the pastor as a spiritual leader. So your pastor must embody the church’s message and philosophy to effectively serve your congregation.  

A good church leader takes their duties seriously and basically acts as a brand ambassador for the church.

Minister

While the minister is sometimes used interchangeably with the pastor, in some churches the roles are separate in a few ways. For instance, in the megachurch I worked in, we had many different ministries. We had one minister who was head of the hospital ministry, another who was head of the food pantry, and another who was head of the prison ministry.

The ministers never preached in the church as the pastors did, but they did preach in their respective areas and often led prayer meetings and other church functions. 

Deacon

Deacons fill many roles in the actual running of the church service. First, they can act as ushers. Later, they will collect and usually count the offering with the church treasurer. Finally, they will stand at the altar and pray with people at the end of service when the pastor is calling for prayer or for people who need salvation.

Historically, the books of 1st and 2nd Timothy were written to a deacon of a church that the Apostle Paul founded.

Lay Leader

In just about all Christian leadership, the “spokesperson” of the church is referred to as the lay leader. This person communicates directly with the congregation on a regular basis. 

The lay leader works with the church board. Every church has a lay leader in charge of ministry but serves underneath the senior pastor. These leaders communicate the church’s message to the congregation.

Worship Leader

Your worship leader is often the face of your church as much as the head pastor. So their attitude, demeanor, and dedication are important. They should caringly and enthusiastically lead worship services, be available to rehearse at any time, and minister the worship team’s needs.

The worship leader should not only have some musical talent themselves, but they must be able to see the potential in others so that your music program can grow. 

Church Administration Roles

Church administration is how the lights stay on and the restrooms stay clean. It isn’t always pretty, but the administration is what makes the world go round.

Receptionist

The first contact with your church will sometimes be the person who picks up the phone or responds to the email. A good receptionist is organized, friendly, and understands the roles of every other person working at the church so that a person in need can be sent to the proper ministry within the church.

Maintenance

Maintenance is probably the least spiritually demanding role, but without them, your building becomes a mess. Whether or not you agree that cleanliness is next to godliness, a messy building can send the wrong message to your congregation.

IT Department

IT, or Information Technology, departments are becoming more and more necessary as time goes on. Someone needs to be in charge of the church’s computers and website. While a smaller church might be able to get away with having someone volunteer for this position, larger churches will need to pay at least one person, if not more.

Security

As your church grows, you will attract more people who enjoy being disruptive. Not only that, but safety in the parking lot becomes a growing concern as well. Hiring a security firm to handle crowd control and to protect from disruptive influences becomes a necessary investment as you grow into the higher hundreds and possibly thousands of church members.

Legal

Any church can benefit from having a good relationship with a tax lawyer who can help you navigate through the maze of laws surrounding your church’s tax status on both the state and local levels. Much like IT, the larger your church grows, the more likely you will have to hire your own lawyer or put one on retainer.

Church Board Roles

The board consists of members of the congregation who handle the church’s finances, organize events, and keep the church compliant with denominational regulations and state and federal laws. The board is a crucial part of the church administration and leadership.

The church board must consist of at least 4 people, by law if it is a 501(c)(3) corporation in the U.S., so the structure will look very similar to any other corporation. You can have many more than 4 board members if you want, so consider it the minimum.

CEO

Almost invariably, in churches with a board structure, the CEO position is filled by the head pastor. This person is the leader of the corporation and helps steer it. The CEO takes the things that the board votes on and makes them happen. That is why the head pastor, as the spiritual leader, is usually the one to hold this position.

President

The president of any board ensures that the board meetings happen according to the bylaws of the church and is generally in charge of what gets onto the agenda of each meeting. Sometimes, the president is also called the chairman. Other times, the chairman of the board is an honorary title. There is no hard and fast rule to it.

Secretary

The board secretary handles any paperwork generated by the board and ensures that the board documents are properly and legally stored in case of an audit or investigation. This person usually is charged with handling the documents regarding any ordinations your church dispenses as well as baptisms, marriages, or other ceremonies.

Treasurer

The treasurer deals with money and must be present when offerings are counted. They are the ones who write the checks to pay the church’s bills. While this is the position most able to be exploited, the church bylaws can be written, or amended if they already exist, to say that the treasurer can only serve a certain amount of time, or to include a co-treasurer position on the board.

Other Positions

The aboveboard positions are only the ones required by law if you are trying to gain non-profit status in the U.S. Most likely, you will need more board members as your church grows. The other members don’t need specific titles, as not every board member in secular corporations has a title. Just remember to add each through your bylaws so you define their powers and responsibilities legally.

Wrapping Up The Roles

The church board and church administration staff work together to keep the church running behind the scenes, similar to how a board of directors and an administrative team help keep a company running. 

Your entire church governance team, the combination of spiritual, administrative, and board leaders, needs to work together for a church to succeed. The overall objectives and leadership styles need to mesh so they can appropriately serve the congregation and ensure smooth worship services. So when you consider who will fill each leadership role in your church, make sure that they’re a good fit.   

Every member of the church board—including administrators and spiritual leaders—is representative of the church.

The Importance Of Church Leadership

Church leadership is crucial to every church, whether it’s a national organization or a smaller local church. And for your church to succeed, it’s important to outline the responsibilities for church roles. 

For instance, in my megachurch experience, we put on a Passion Play with a cast and crew of over 500 people that took place on a stage that spanned just over 200 feet. The stage was divided into sections, and each person’s script told them which section to be in at which time. The play ran so smoothly that I still marvel at it sometimes.

The moral is to define your roles and responsibilities and everything just works, even when a live camel stops to do nature’s business in the middle of the market scene.

Just like running a business, a strong church needs great leaders and employees to run smoothly. Each church staff member has duties and responsibilities that they need to fulfill. And whether a particular staff member communicates directly with the congregation or works behind the scenes, every church leadership role is important. 

How To Grow Your Church’s Leadership Team 

Church growth happens when your leadership team successfully spreads your church’s message to the community and your church leadership team works together. And just like a growing business, a growing church sometimes needs to increase its staff to accommodate the increased demand. 

So how do you grow your team? How do you provide strong leadership development to sustain your growth, and what do your leaders need to be successful?

Developing Leaders Within Your Church

If you’re searching for new church leadership, it’s sometimes best to start within your church. Perhaps there’s an enthusiastic deacon who would like to expand their responsibilities. As an existing church member, they already understand and appreciate your church structure, message, mission, and goals. 

Developing a potential leader will take some time. They’ll need to learn what church leadership entails and how their daily responsibilities will change. But with some training and guidance, the right leaders can help your church grow. 

Growing With Your Community

The key to successful church growth is planning. If you’re not prepared to experience some growing pains, you’ll have a bumpy road ahead. But if you consider what church staff you’ll need to hire and how to support your church leadership, you’re setting yourself up for success. 

Adding to your team means creating roles that you didn’t previously need. For instance, you might need one dedicated staff member to coordinate weddings and another staff member that only focuses on youth ministry. You can make their lives easier with resources like a congregation database or specialized accounting software to keep track of costs. 

Growing your church is exciting. It means that you’re able to serve more of the community than you were before. Just be sure to plan for your growth so that you can keep achieving your church’s goals without missing a beat. 

Related Read: 10 Best Church Data Management Systems In 2022

Finding And Developing Church Leaders

Leadership development is challenging. You must make sure that all new additions to your church body agree with the church’s goals and message. Here are a few ways to find and develop new leaders: 

  • Write a concise mission statement that defines why your church exists.
  • Create a job description for each church staff member that clearly outlines their roles and responsibilities.
  • Look within your existing congregation for applicants, since they already understand and agree with your church’s objectives. 

In addition, you might want to ask your head pastor or minister (unless that’s you) to interview your top candidates before hiring anyone. Your existing leaders need to support your new staff, so it’s important that they agree with your hiring decision. 

Qualities Of Successful Church Leaders

A church leader’s needs can be divided into two categories: what talents and characteristics they must possess and what they need from the church to succeed. 

Successful church leaders are charismatic and enthusiastic about the church. They are excited to spread the church’s message to the congregation and the larger community. They must be good communicators and establish themselves as trustworthy advisors that church members can rely on. 

In addition to those inherent attributes, successful church leaders also need help from the church itself. The church board must support its leaders, particularly new additions to your church leadership team. 

The team members need encouragement and the board’s support so that the congregation will accept them. And if your church leader is particularly forward-thinking, they might need financial or strategic resources to make positive changes to the church and the surrounding community.    

Serve Your Congregation With Strong Church Leadership

Church leaders come in many forms. From the worship leader to the church board, every member of the leadership team plays an important role in the success of your church and the spiritual journey of your congregation. Strong leaders need care and teaching to grow.

As the head pastor, it is your responsibility to help them grow and become the best they can be. I recommend going to conferences or retreats to help your entire leadership team.

Related Read: Young Disciples: Turning A Youth Group Into A Youth Church

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What Is Church Leadership? Key Principles & Policies

Jesus said that we are the light of the world in Matthew 5:14, and our light shines most effectively through leadership within the church. Whether you are looking for the best church software or answers about how to disciple small group facilitators, church leadership is central to your decisions.  

Church leadership is the responsibility of every Christian, and a church’s organizational structure, policies, and practices help Christians to understand their leadership roles to successfully fulfill the Great Commission. Whether you are a senior pastor, an elder, or a local church member—all believers receive God’s call to be a part of Christian leadership.

In this article, I’ll cover:

What Is Church Leadership?

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:16–20 commands Christians to disciple the world, and that discipleship requires leadership from us, the church. So, what is church leadership? 

Church leadership is two things: the people who lead the church, and the actions that the church takes in the community. Typically, when talking about the people, we call them the church leadership team. The actions can be any kind of event that the church takes out in the community, from highway clean-up to holiday plays to food pantries.

Primarily, in this article, we will be talking about the leadership team. I will be careful to make it known when each is being talked about.

No matter how the church leadership team is structured, the church is most visible to the world through leadership actions on the local level. People within the congregation often look to the pastor or priest as the lead, and they observe other ministry leaders as models of what good Christian leadership is.

However, church leadership does not stop with the local church government, elder board, or pastor. A healthy church has leadership at all levels. As 1 Peter 2:9 says, every Christian is part of the priesthood, so Christian leadership needs to be undertaken by all believers.

At its core, church leadership means overseeing and shepherding the church, but the shape of leadership changes according to roles within the church.


Related Read: Complete Guide To Church Event Management & Planning

Roles And Responsibilities Of Church Leadership

Here are some of the key roles in the church, along with their core responsibilities. 

  • Pastor: leads the congregation, and represents the church to the public.
  • Deacons: act as ushers and prayer leaders, as well as take offers
  • Lay Leader: in charge of coordinating between the congregation and spiritual leaders.
  • Worship Leader: directs the choir and band, picks the songs, and coordinates with the pastor for consistent messaging.
  • Administration: can act as everything from the receptionist to the maintenance crew and IT department.
  • Church Board: the group that provides accountability for the church to the government and possibly higher authorities in the denomination.

Attributes Of Church Leadership

No matter what position a person fills within your church leadership team, some attributes should be shared amongst everyone. Communication is key, and people who think alike can help avoid miscommunication. Plus, you want people who are as committed to the cause and call of your ministry as you, the head pastor, are.

Here are some key attributes to look for in potential and current church leaders:

  • Motivated: Your team needs to want your mission to be successful.
  • Cooperative: Your church should have leaders willing to work with anyone who volunteers their time and energy.
  • Independent: When you put someone in charge of a project, they should be able to complete it without having their hand held, after having had the proper training.
  • Devoted: This attribute is purely spiritual. Your team must possess a devotion to Christ.
  • Teachable: Every Christian is a disciple, and leaders should be more so.

Related Read: Church Volunteer Management Guide: Strategy, Tips, & Software

Leadership In A Healthy Church

While church leadership is clearly part of maintaining a healthy church, being leadership savvy is secondary to strong pastoring. If leadership establishes effective policies, procedures, and other leaders within the church, this allows pastors to focus on pastoring and being there for the congregation. This makes leading the church much more manageable.

Different Types Of Church Government 

Church government is often responsible for shaping church leadership within a denomination or local church body. One branch of ecclesiology (the study of churches) deals with the government, or polity, of church leadership. Church polity consists of three main types: episcopal, presbyterian, and congregational.

Episcopal Polity

In an episcopal structure, bishops hold authority in the church, providing guidance, support, orthodox theology, and even discipline when necessary. The bishop oversees (Greek episkopoi means “overseer”) a local diocese—a region of churches. In this way, local churches hold accountability to the diocese, and the diocese is accountable to the bishop who represents the diocese worldwide.

Presbyterian Polity

The Greek word for “elder,” presbuteros, is the source of the English word “priest,” but the priest or pastor is not the only authority in the church. Rather, in a presbyterian church government, the pastor is sometimes called a teaching elder. The local church, then, elects elders from the congregation to lead the local church in session, the local governing council, which is moderated by the teaching elder.

Session appoints and oversees deacons, who have local tasks in the church, such as serving communion and shepherding people within the congregation. Deacons are model servant leaders within the church.

Like the diocese in an episcopal structure, presbyterian government organizes elders within a region called a presbytery. Then, multiple presbyteries compose a synod as a larger governing council.

The fourth layer of presbyterian polity is the general assembly, a government gathering of elders from many synods that makes determinations for the church overall.

Congregational Polity

While episcopal polity places authority in an individual overseer, presbyterian government focuses on the “priesthood of all believers” by having teaching and lay elders act in a representative government. Congregational governance is still farther from a central authority within the church. In congregationalism, each church independently determines doctrine, theology, practice, and all matters of function.

Variations In Church Polity

Although these three structures are the main types of church organizational leadership, many churches practice variations. A congregational church, for instance, may elect elders, like a presbyterian model, to a board that provides governance to the local church; unlike presbyterian polity, however, the board of elders may be the final human authority over the local church.

Church Leadership Styles

Church leadership at the local level can take many forms. 

  • Autocratic leadership is where the pastor makes every decision and sets the vision for the church. 
  • Laissez-faire leadership provides minimal direction and disconnects from other leaders in the church to allow the local church to move in its own way. 
  • Democratic leaders, however, fall somewhere between autocratic and laissez-faire, where they guide and counsel the church in a democratic manner. 

No matter the leadership approach, the main objective of a pastor and other church leadership should be to facilitate spiritual growth in their community.

Key Principles Of Church Leadership 

Brian Dodd outlines many key principles of effective church administration, including the following:

  • Be organized with policies and procedures. Keeping everything in order will prevent chaos from overtaking your church.
  • Be sensible. Always be willing to shift your policies if they are making life difficult for your leaders or members.
  • Be consistent. A consistent message will draw people in and give them a guide to follow when miscommunications happen.
  • Guide others. As the head pastor, your responsibility is to be the teacher of both the leadership team and the general members. Don’t forget to give special workshops for your top leaders.
  • Appoint church leaders who provide solutions. If you follow the Attributes Of Church Leadership section above, you should have this covered.
  • Lead with others. No one person can do it all. The church is called the Body of Christ. The brain can’t work without the heart. The heart can’t pump without the lungs. Raise up people who can help.
  • Delegate to others. Similar to the previous point, give your responsibilities to those who can handle them. Sometimes, the only way to find out if someone is ready to move to the next level is by giving them a chance at something they’ve never done before.
  • Have advisors. Everyone has blindspots and biases. Let your leadership team offer advice and counsel when you don’t know what to do.
  • Study. The Bible is our greatest resource as pastors, but websites such as this one also help as we teach each other and share our experience. Never stop learning.
  • Focus on people, not process. Good people are more important than the specific processes that they follow. A good leader can fix problems as they arise, while a bad leader will fail when problems come. Build your leaders up, and the policies and procedures will become easier to fix when you find flaws.

Forging Church Leaders

As J. D. Greear claims, the church is a place where leaders are made. Current leadership within the church needs to challenge its people to be leaders, empower and equip them to be leaders, and have the courage to send those leaders beyond the local church. An effective church leader inspires church growth in depth and breadth. He strengthens the children’s ministry by challenging and encouraging its leadership team. She teaches leadership principles to her church staff.

If your church models and facilitates effective leadership to grow leaders, then get ahead of the curve and look at our guidance on church planting.

Most importantly, take a clue from the Apostle Paul’s letters. He almost always opens and closes his letters to the churches with callouts to the people who have been helpful to him in his ministry. Positive reinforcement is as old as the New Testament. Use it early and often to help create strong leaders.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has opened your eyes to the many types and ways that churches can be led. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, so always be ready for the next church member to step up. In the meantime, stay faithful in prayer and let the Lord Jesus help you create the environment where your leaders can thrive.

I’m Lexie, and God bless!

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Church Volunteer Management Guide: Strategy, Tips, & Software

According to a recent Gallup poll, the percentage of people who volunteer their time is at 58% in the U.S. This number includes all types of volunteering, from Habitat For Humanity to Christmas food pantries. 

Expect the number of people eager to give their time to your church to be even lower than that. Things are not all doom and gloom, though. Following this guide will have you on your way to a solid group of faithful volunteers.

This article will bring you up to speed with the latest tips in church volunteer management. I will cover various processes like background checks and identifying strengths and weaknesses, as well as software that can keep your volunteers organized.

My name is Alexandria Schmidt, and I spent twenty years in multiple churches helping coordinate everything from bake sales to full-scale youth productions of our local Passion Play. Let me help you manage your church volunteers with three simple concepts.

How To Manage Church Volunteers

Volunteering at non-profit organizations such as churches, soup kitchens, and food pantries is not a relic of bygone days. Even at the current low of 58%, which is due to many factors, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, we can see that a significant majority of people are willing to spend their time helping someone. 

How can you ensure that they spend their volunteer hours at your church? I will cover how to find and keep good volunteers in this section.

Recruiting Church Volunteers

Recruiting starts with you, the pastor. Enthusiasm and excitement for your next project go a long way towards bringing people into your church’s inner circle. People are like plants who need water and sunlight to grow. Let your encouragement and praise be that water and sunlight. A discouraged volunteer is one who will not return.

Step 1: Ask For Help

Don’t be afraid to announce the church’s needs when starting a new project or ministry. Some pastors are more willing to ask for money than time, but it is our congregation’s time that is most valuable. Also, when announcing a need for volunteers, give people at least a month to fix their schedules to help you. Asking for Wednesday’s help on Sunday morning will leave you very short-handed.

Step 2: Screen For Possible Legal Issues

Once you have announced your needs and given encouragement, what do you do? First, most churches and church events involve children in some capacity. Consult the National Sex Offender Registry in the U.S., or the equivalent for your country.

If a frequent volunteer seems to be ready to move into church leadership, you might even want to conduct a background check on them. This is typically done through your local law enforcement office. Not doing so could possibly open you or your church to legal issues, so consult with your church’s lawyer concerning your local laws about who can and cannot legally volunteer.

Step 3: Get To Know Your Volunteers

Spend some time talking to your volunteers. Even if it is just a moment or two each, you can get an idea about which parts of ministry they are passionate about. Volunteers will stop coming back if they are not in a role that they enjoy. 

Of course, not everyone can do exactly what they want every time. That’s where your encouragement and praise as their leader comes in. A person who feels as though they did a good job will be happy, even if the job was not their first choice.

Step 4: Lead From The Front

Finally, the most important thing that you can do to recruit and keep volunteers is to do the jobs yourself. I was assistant youth pastor to a head pastor at a church of over two thousand people, and we held a Passion Play every year with a cast in the hundreds. Year in, year out. Our volunteers always grew. The reason is that he was legendary for giving his all in everything he tried. Lead by example. Do the work, and the people will follow.

Training Church Volunteers

This section will examine why and how you should train your volunteers. Volunteering is for simple tasks, right? How much training does a person need to wipe down the Bibles after-service? Unless your church elders are getting paid, they count as volunteers. Unless your sound person or choir director is getting paid, they are volunteers. Volunteers frequently occupy key parts of our ministries and our church leadership.

Each church is its own entity with its own needs, so this article cannot specify what exactly to do, but this section will provide general advice. Training volunteers is a complex task. A worship leader might need to be trained on which songbooks are allowed by your denomination. A deacon or elder might need to be trained in what they are allowed to counsel a church member before sending the problem to an ordained minister. The bake sale cashier might need to be trained in the proper care and handling of the cash box or donation app. The number of ways your church members can volunteer, and the amount of training each position needs, is as different as the people themselves.

bar graph showing relative training times for deacons, elders, worship leaders, and bake sale cashiers

So, how do we train them? In my experience, the bake sale cashier only needs a few minutes of instruction. They will not be praying over someone or preaching. You, or your volunteer manager if you’ve trained one, can show them how the money handling procedures work, and then send them on their way. 

These simple tasks, which are the bulk of church volunteer opportunities, require some common sense and little supervision. This is a good thing because your leadership volunteers will require a higher investment of your time and energy.

Training your church elders is sometimes governed by denominational bylaws or other regulations, so, once again, consult with your lawyer or your higher clergy (such as a bishop) before deciding who to promote from a regular volunteer. 

Typically, elders require a great deal of experience in the church, having proven themselves through prayer meetings, church projects, and simply doing the work of keeping the church-going. I was always taught to be wary of people who want to skip the steps of simple service before reaching the point of standing before the stage and leading people to Jesus at the end of service. 

Church elders, or deacons, are just about the highest point a layperson can reach in their local church. Pray with them, study with them, and make sure they are there for the right reasons. Power-hungry elders can split a church like firewood.

In my personal experience, those people are somewhat rare but watch out. This is part of the purpose of training: to weed out the people who would use their position to do harm.

Caring For Your Volunteers

Good volunteers are a church’s most precious resource. To keep them coming back, they must be cared for. As I have said a few times before, encouragement and praise are your greatest tools in keeping volunteers happy. Still, after a long day of packing groceries for a food drive, those church members are probably going to be hungry. That sounds like a perfect time for a pizza party!

Yes, the pizza party is cliche, but it can be very cheap (depending on where you get your pizzas) and most people love it. What else can you do to make your volunteers feel special and encouraged to come back for your next project?

The Phone Blitz 

We’ll cover volunteer scheduling below, but, on your volunteer list, you should have an email or phone number. Hopefully, both. Get on the phone with your leadership team and call the volunteers to give them a personal “Thank You” from the pastor and church elders.

Church Announcements

We all have announcements on Sunday morning, usually just before or just after praise and worship. Place a general “Thank You” to all volunteers, or a specific one if a volunteer did a really great job. This can have the dual effect of bringing in more volunteers who are glad to be paid with their name being called.

Volunteer Retreat

Find a Christian leadership retreat or conference, such as these. Take your volunteers there both as a treat and for development. Bulk rates in hotel rooms can bring costs down, and churches near big cities may not even need to stay in hotel rooms for these kinds of conferences. Although, the trip is half the fun in itself.

These ideas may not work for your specific congregation, but they should get your brain moving in the right direction.

Church Volunteer Management Tips And Best Practices

In this section, I want to take you through some tips and best practices for church volunteer management. We might double back over a couple of points from above, but reinforcement is key to learning.

Establish Clear Roles

As you put on more events and develop your core volunteers, you might find that they start forming volunteer groups. Some will only show up for the bake sales. Others will only show up for food drives. Some will show up only to fold announcement papers if you even do that anymore. The point is that your volunteers will find people and jobs that they are comfortable with and attempt to stay there as much as possible.

While this is not a bad thing, per se, these small groups can develop into cliques if left unchecked. You can avoid this by establishing a very clear hierarchy from the beginning. By giving the role of gatekeeper to a person from the start, you stop everyone from trying to claim it at once. Just be sure the person in charge of each group is someone who is willing to bring new volunteers into the fold.

Establishing clear roles is also extremely helpful in figuring out where things went wrong. It’s going to happen. Some disaster will befall your event, and you will want to find out how to stop it from happening next time. By ensuring that everyone has a specific job, you can tell who messed up and might need more training. Just be prepared. That person is going to be with you a significant amount of the time. Those are the breaks of being the one in charge.

Finally, on this point, establishing clear roles allows you to identify those who are willing to step outside the lines for their own benefit. As I said earlier, these people are not common, but it only takes one to cause deep pain for many people. Your ministry leaders should be willing to do anything for the cause, but not for their own gain. Volunteer management is about protecting your church community as much as it is about helping it grow.

Define Realistic Goals

Realistic goals are all a part of that enthusiasm and praise I looked at earlier. Like all things, setting your goals is a balancing act that comes with experience. If your goals are too easy, your church leaders won’t feel a sense of accomplishment for achieving them. Meanwhile, harsh goals can suck the joy right out of any number of volunteers.

How do we find that balance? Experience, for one. For two, ask other pastors in your area how successful they have been. Maybe research your local area’s recent history for the type of event you are planning. If you have never done this type of event before, set your goals just slightly under the average. Always give yourself some wiggle room to find ways to praise people for reaching the goals you set.

On that note, not every group has to have the same goal, even within the same event. Let’s look at a 5K Fun Run. You might divide the volunteer groups into pre-race day and race day teams. Pre-race day might consist of the children’s ministry trying to collect donations for the runners and the route planners working with the city to find an appropriate day. 

Neither group would have the same goals, and their success does not depend on the other. The race day team might have a team that is in charge of getting each runner checked-in and pointed toward the start/finish line and start/finish team that would keep the time and prepares the finish line for the runners as they cross it.

All of those small groups work together to create the event even though they each strive toward different goals. What their goals should depend entirely on your church community and the number of volunteers you have to work with.

Other Best Practices For Church Volunteer Management

Here are a few other quick tips for managing your church volunteers.

  • Background checks can save your church legal trouble. When in doubt, consult an attorney.
  • Social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) is how many people communicate with the world these days. A tech-savvy volunteer coordinator can wrangle a large number of volunteers with a couple Tweets. If you don’t know how to use social media, find someone in your volunteer pool or leadership group who does. Read this article about using YouTube in your ministry to get you started.
  • Lead from the front. Don’t ever ask your volunteers to do something you wouldn’t do. They will know that there is a double standard, and they will run.
  • Discipleship is key to great volunteer leaders. Just like the previous point, don’t promote someone who is not willing to serve. Churches have rules, and your ministry leaders need to be people who can listen. They don’t have to be robots who do exactly as you say and nothing else, but humility is one of the spiritual gifts. As someone who has stacked and folded thousands of chairs before getting a chance to preach, this one is close to my heart.
  • Speaking of spiritual gifts, don’t neglect spiritual training for your volunteer group. As you train them to assist with event check-in or whatever is at hand, don’t forget to relate back to the reason why you are all there in the first place: outreach into your neighborhood and community. Whether your focus is on soul-winning, fundraising, or just reminding people of a safe space in the community, always take a few minutes to pray with your volunteers or quote relevant scriptures about your event. This fosters solidarity and mindfulness around your larger goals.

A final point on those rare instances of a disruptive influence among your volunteer staff. Mercy and patience are always in order, but some people will not take the hint. You are the boss in your church, and you have the right and responsibility to kick someone out who is making it difficult for others to work. 

Tell them they can come back after they have cooled down if you want, but protecting your congregation will increase their respect for you and make them more likely to come back.

Church Volunteer Management Software

Church Management Software, or ChMS, is any computer program or mobile app that allows you to keep the information about your church and its members in one place. Sometimes, ChMS will also allow you to track your volunteers. I will highlight the best ChMS for churches that are trying to grow their volunteer program.

Here are the criteria I used:

  • Is it user-friendly?
  • Does it have competitive pricing?
  • Is church volunteer scheduling part of its functionality?

After careful analysis and some playing around with demos, I have to recommend ChurchCRM. ChurchCRM is free, easy-to-use, and fits the above criteria. More than just volunteer scheduling software, it has event registration, Sunday school groups, fundraising, and more. Maintain your rosters of volunteers with a few clicks or swipes. Installation can be a bit tricky, but the ChurchCRM team has a very helpful video right on the page I linked.

Church CRM Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
ChurchCRM’s demo page. Of note is all the different ways to organize and sort your members and volunteers.

I don’t think ChurchCRM is the end of your search for a management solution, but it is more of a beginning. You can find links to articles that will recommend more specialized and expensive software below. Think of ChurchCRM as something to help your church’s volunteer program grow to new heights. You will find different needs and solutions as you and your volunteers grow in ministry.

If ChurchCRM is a little too techy to start, Flocknote is another option that deals primarily with texts and emails for organizations. The setup is simpler, and it requires a subscription that starts at $8/month to fully unlock its features. Flocknote also requires $39/month to reach a similar level of function as ChurchCRM, although it has a simpler user interface.

Flocknote Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
Flocknote looks similar, but costs more than ChurchCRM.

ChMeetings is another option I would recommend. It’s the easiest to use, but it does not have the same robust support for volunteer management as the other two apps.

CHMeetings Church Volunteer Management Software Screenshot
ChMeetings has an easy-to-use interface but does not have the robust volunteer support you might be looking for.

Find specific church volunteer management software here.

If you want more in-depth looks at a variety of software for churches try these:

Most pastors will find that their needs outgrow or simply change from what they were in the past. These articles will give you a nice reference for when that happens.

Church Volunteer Management: What Have We Learned?

We have learned that one of the biggest obstacles is not just volunteer recruitment, but volunteer retention. I looked at ways to raise those retention rates through care and training while maintaining clear roles for our volunteers and giving them realistic goals. Finally, I took a quick look at the best software for a pastor who is looking to dip their toes into church volunteer management in the 21st century.

Comment below with questions or ideas about managing church volunteers. Look for more articles in the future about managing your church, your congregation, and the software that can help you do it.

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