You may have heard people talking about “church management systems” or throwing around the acronym “ChMS”, but if you’ve silently wondered what in the world they’re talking about, you’re not alone.
According to the always reliable Wikipedia, ChMS “is a specialized software that assists churches and other religious organizations in organization and automation of daily operations.”
While Wikipedia isn’t wrong (in this case haha), it is missing the bigger picture. The right ChMS is so much more than a software that assists in “organization and automation”, it’s a ministry partner that gives your staff more time to focus on people and less time that they have to focus on data entry, processes, and systems. The right ChMS takes things off of your plate. And, the right ChMS keeps people connected to each other and the mission of your church.
While all of that sounds great in theory, it’s often helpful to see ChMS features broken down and explained for what they really are.
So, without further ado, welcome to Church Management Systems 101!
The right ChMS offers a check-in solution that keeps children safe and secure while in your church and gives peace of mind to parents.
Take for example a visiting family that wants to take their 3-year-old with a peanut allergy to the nursery. Using a ChMS, this family can check their child in, see what classroom to take them to, and print an identification and allergy badge that allows every teacher in that classroom to know that the child has an allergy even though it’s the first time this family has visited.
Not only is this beneficial for parents and children, but this can also help your admin team out immensely. If your members are checking themselves into small groups and worship, data management becomes essentially automatic for your team!
In today’s society, there are very few people who aren’t connected to their electronic calendar. In fact, I talked to a couple the other day who even communicates with each other via a shared family calendar. So, why should the church be any different?
The right ChMS offers a community calendar feature that allows staff to easily create, manage, and update events even requesting equipment and facility reservations. The calendar also allows church members to view these events, sign up, and even sync the calendar with their personal calendars.
Gone are the days of having to physically create and update a membership database. For churches that are larger, this became nearly an impossible task. However, the right ChMS allows you to manage your churches database anytime, anywhere.
It also allows you to create specific groups like Sunday school classes, home groups, volunteer teams and more. Plus, you can edit and view member profiles, pictures, families, attendance records and more. The best part is that churches can allow members to view and update their own information taking even more off of your admins’ plate.
Plus, the ability to download members directly into your contacts means that important phone call is only a button away!
The right ChMS also serves as essentially a project management system. When it comes to all of the moving parts of a church, having a single place to assign tasks, organize volunteers, and keep everyone on the same page is a lifesaver!
Now, your student minister can assign volunteers to a specific age group during a discipleship weekend, your education minister can recruit Sunday school teachers, and your Executive pastor can partner deacons with a widow in the church all through the same program.
Have you ever wished there was a simple way to communicate with your entire church membership without having to wait for a Sunday morning service? That’s exactly what is possible with the right ChMS!
Through your ChMS you can send text messages, emails, and even voicemails to specific groups or your entire church. Now, if there’s a weather emergency and services are canceled, you can easily reach out to your congregation ensuring everyone knows about the last minute change of schedule.
More than ever, we are a culture that is on the go. Ministers are busy making hospital visits, home calls, visiting service projects, meeting people off campus for counseling and discipleship sessions, and more. So, needing a computer to update the ChMS will no longer make the cut.
The right ChMS offers the ability to manage everything right from your phone. This includes sending mass texts, downloading contact information, contacting volunteers, viewing event details and more!
While numbers are not the only factor that determines the health of a church, they are a great way to see trends, analyze details, and give direction for next steps.
With the right ChMS, your admin team can track and report attendance and contribution data in a way that is easy to navigate. Not only that, but ministry leaders can even take attendance for their groups right from their phones!
Workflows exist to make life easier! With workflows in place, you can automatically send emails when visitors become members or visit a new small group, you can automatically assign a task to a volunteer when they sign up, and you can even automatically remove an individual from a group if they move away.
The more that your staff can automate, the more time they will have to focus on people, events, and ministries in your church!
If your church staff is feeling stuck in the details and spends the majority of their time updating information, organizing data, and trying to contact members and volunteers, a ChMS can change your ministry. However, like most classes, learning the information is just the first step. The best way to truly see how the right ChMS can change what your workday looks like is to actually try it for yourself. Here at Sharefaith, we’d love to help you get started with Sharefaith Connect!