Tag Archive for: systems

Your church’s mission is to reach people with the Good News and grow their faith. It’s the core of everything you do, but capturing people’s hearts and attention isn’t always easy. And many times, it’s the little details outside of the regular service that communicates genuine care and understanding.

There are all kinds of trendy and cool things your church can offer, from running a cafe that serves lattes and giving out free t-shirts to guests. Those kinds of things are not wrong in and of themselves, but if your ministry’s structure isn’t considering how it lines up with your community’s values, then you will have a hard time reaching people.

Does your community have a lot of young parents or single parents? If so, your community probably values making it easy for families to participate in all events. To structure your ministry in line with this value, you may offer additional child care, make it easier to check in your kids, or even find ways to integrate them into events.

While there are many different values your church may identify, here are a few of the top values we’ve seen in communities and how churches can integrate those values into ministry structure using church management software like One Church:

Easy Connection to Community

Have you ever been the new kid on the block? It can be hard to get to know people, let alone find a core community to get support and encouragement. You can provide an easy way to find out what groups exist and when they meet so people can join without waiting to receive a personal invitation.

Security & Safety

This is especially important in your kids’ area. Not only can you give parents an efficient way to check their kids in, but they can also provide the people authorized to pick them up. And have you ever worried about if the right people know about your child’s allergies? Any medical needs and allergies are printed directly on a child’s security label.

Clear Communication

Our lives are busy and complicated. Often if you don’t add an event to your personal calendar during the announcement, you won’t get the details at all! Or even worse, if you come in late or miss a service entirely, it’s easy to feel out of the loop. By using church software to house all your upcoming events and opportunities, including registration and easy integration to your personal calendar, you can ensure that everyone stays in the know!

A Sense of Purpose

People are passionate about their causes. They want what they do to make a difference—providing in-the-moment action steps like text-to-give is just a small part of this. Communicating what those finances did and providing additional ways to get involved is crucial to connect your members to their sense of purpose. Your church has a responsibility to have transparency and follow-through when it comes to the ways we are impacting the world with our resources.

Clarity

Finding information, whether about events, your church’s mission, or more about what you believe, can be a treasure hunt! If your community has difficulty navigating your system or finding the answer in person, this is likely a point of frustration that can lead to disengagement.

Whatever your community values may be, how you structure your ministry should reflect those values. We know taking the step to get a church management software can feel like a big one. But, we have worked with countless churches and church leaders to help integrate their community values as they add church management software to structure their ministry.

If you would like to hear about how a church management software can support your specific community values, watch a free demo today

“A solid budget and spending plan creates trust between church leaders and church members, which is important because so many people lack trust in churches to manage money well because of past experiences they have had.”

Happy New Year! As we kickoff this fresh year, we’re tackling an important topic: Church budgets.

Most people who find themselves on staff at a local church didn’t go to school for finance or accounting. Few (if any) seminaries have classes about creating or maintaining a church budget. Wise stewardship of parishioners’ tithes can definitely fall into the “nobody-taught-me-how-to-do-this” area of ministry. But if the local church is going to handle money in a trustworthy, God-honoring way while also funding the important work of ministry that church members do, establishing an effective church budget has to be a top priority.

Whether you’re getting ready to plant a church or you’ve become a leader at a centuries-old church that doesn’t have the most solid budget, the best time to create a church budget was yesterday. The second-best time to create a church budget is now.

But where do you even start? How do you create a solid church budget from scratch? Here are a few considerations when creating a church budget to get you started down the right path:

1) Consider your values.

Before you get into the weeds of dollar amounts, giving trends, and bookkeeping details, you need to be sure that the budget you’re creating is reflective of your church’s values and the needs of your church family. If your church is mostly made up of young families, it makes more sense to allocate more funds toward the children’s ministry than the senior adult ministry. If your church sits near an underprivileged neighborhood where you do regular ministry, it probably makes more sense to allocate more funds toward that work than it does toward another ministry effort that, though worthwhile, doesn’t fit the work of your church body quite as well.

Ultimately, if you don’t make your budget align with the values of your church, it won’t matter how well you evaluate giving trends or track spending. Why? Because your church members likely won’t give with the same consistency and generosity as they would if your budget aligned appropriately with the values and unique context of your church.

2) Evaluate past and projected giving trends.

Most church giving experts recommend not relying too much on past giving trends or projected giving trends when creating a church budget, but to consider both past receipts and future projections. Every church is different, but generally speaking, creating a church budget based on past giving trends may cause you to create a budget that is too conservative, and misinterpreting future giving trends may lead you to create a budget that overestimates the dollars your church will receive in the coming months and years.

It is a good idea to examine the last few years’ giving, figure out what the “minimum” giving situation may look like to give you a sort of baseline off of which to work, and then project some increase based on higher church attendance or other similar factors.

Again, every church is different and your church’s context may lead you to consider putting more emphasis on either past or future giving…and that is okay! Just be sure to consider all possibilities and not marry your budget to one or the other too strongly.

3. Track every dollar collected and spent.

A fine-tuned budget established by a careful evaluation of past and future giving trends and defined by the values and work of the ministry can be completely and devastatingly sidetracked by poor accounting. What good is a budget if church leaders aren’t intimately aware of how much money is being given to the church in a given week and how much money the church is spending in a given week? Creating an effective budget but not tracking giving and spending is like buying a $300,000 Lamborghini and letting your teenager use it for driver’s ed—it’s foolish and dangerous!

It’s true: tracking every dollar your church collects and spends can be cumbersome. There’s no doubt about it. But effective money management is the gasoline that makes an effective church budget run. By tracking your funds, you provide your church members with a sense of trust that they deserve, and you make your budget more effective for future years.

Budgeting is important! It’s important for families, and it’s just as important for church families! A solid budget and spending plan creates trust between church leaders and church members, which is important because so many people lack trust in churches to manage money well because of past experiences they have had. At the same time, a church budget that is created with your values in mind and maintained by wise financial tracking will make your ministry more effective and help you reach more people with the gospel that we have been charged to share with the world.

Don’t neglect your church’s budget! Make one today.

When you use One Church Software, all of your giving, accounting, and people records are seamlessly connected within your church management software. Learn more about accounting within One Church >>

Holiday decorations? Check. Christmas sermon written? Check. Choir and band ready to perform? Check. Community outreach? Check.

If you are someone that likes end-of-year checklists, you probably have one similar to the one above. Planning and preparing for the Christmas season is one of the busiest times of the year for church leaders. And you likely spend a large part of this time getting ready to share the hope of this season with your regular churchgoers and new guests.

But after the lights and candy canes are put away, there are still a few things that need to be done that can be easy to forget about.

As you prepare to celebrate with your family and look back on the year, be sure to set aside time to do these items that should be on every church leader’s end-of-the-year checklist:

1) Review your 2021 goals

You (hopefully) took some time to make them at the beginning of the year, so how did you do at achieving those goals? Were there some you didn’t reach or accomplish? Don’t just breeze past them; instead, take some time to review why. If you had too many goals or not enough help in achieving them, that will be important as you set new goals for 2022. It’s even just important to review all that you did in 2021! Celebrate how far you’ve come and the impact your church has had!

2) Evaluate your communication systems and where you can improve.

This is a great time to honestly evaluate how well your church is communicating. What’s working? What’s not? This doesn’t just apply to how you communicate with your church at large, but also how you communicate with your teams. Do you utilize software that helps track and notify team members that are volunteering or supporting a certain ministry? If you already do this, take some time to ask your teams how they feel it’s working and if you need to do anything differently.

3) Thank your faithful givers.

The end of the year is a perfect time to be able to effectively thank not only your regular members, but anyone that has given to your church. Make sure to include updates on special giving campaigns, missionaries, local ministries you support, and what the impact of their giving was in the last year on your church checklist. Saying thank you is so important to let people know that they are making a difference. This may be included with people’s yearly giving statements or it may be in addition to it.

4) Check to see if anyone is in need.

Christmas can be a hard time of the year for some. If they don’t have family, live far away from them, or have maybe experienced a loss this year, Christmas can feel lonely and isolating. Take some time to think about those in your church. Is there anyone that you haven’t seen around in a while that your church should reach out to? Is there someone that has lost their job or had health issues?

5) Give yourself time to rest.

Like really rest. It seems like the last two years have flown by and many church leaders have been working non-stop to adapt how we have done church during this time. Have you taken the time to rest and be still? Even if you’ve already taken some time to do that in the past, this should be a regular habit that is practiced and included on your church checklist.

As we celebrate Christ’s birth and close out 2021, we hope you plan some extra time to take care of these end-of-the-year tasks, and also to rest and spend meaningful time with family. Leading a church and organizing all of these things takes a lot of work. But we know that Christ is the one that will take our faithful efforts and cause them to bear fruit in 2022.

From all of us here at One Church Software, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christmas is a time when there is hustling and bustling in stores, people are visiting relatives they haven’t seen all year (or longer!), and when it comes to church, you’ll likely see a few more new faces.

Whether it’s the sporadic member, the major-holiday-only attender, new guest, or even a relative of a regular attendee, this is a time of year when you are likely expecting additional people to connect with your church in some way. For many, this will be the primary time those individuals will connect and receive encouragement from a church in the year.

What an incredible opportunity we have!

As we enter this season, here are a few things we want to encourage you to keep in mind for your church Christmas service(s) this year:

1) Remember that people are still hurting and recovering from the disruption over the past two years.

Be mindful to acknowledge and consider that things aren’t “back to normal” yet. Over the last two years, many of us were cut off entirely from our community of support or were pushed to interact with them through a screen because of the pandemic. This was a major disruption that will likely have lasting effects for years to come. The best way to support people this holiday season is to make sure your church is a place where they can find stability and hope.

2) Be sure you have a first-time visitor follow-up process.

After new visitors walk out your door, do you have a plan to connect with them? Invite them back? Take some time before new people arrive to make sure you have a clear follow-up process. This is important to have set up year-round, but it’s doubly important around the holidays. And if you already have a follow-up process, take some time to review it before your Christmas services.

3) Don’t be afraid to approach Christmas with the same innovation you approached it with last year.

Last year, churches had to consider how to reach people when they couldn’t gather together in a physical space. As a result, many churches got creative with ways to connect with their community and offered additional resources to promote connection. While in many places, in-person gatherings are nearing their usual capacity, that doesn’t mean you should forgo a fresh approach this year.

Online resources, livestreams, video calls, and group study guides are a great way to reach a wider base of people than you may be able to with a physical service alone. What methods did you use last year that were particularily successful? Consider offering the most popular of these, or a version of it, again!

4) Make sure you are engaging people outside of Sunday.

We have a tendency to focus all our efforts into our Sunday service or Christmas Eve services, but what about the other six days of the week? Instead of only focusing on the service, plan ahead to have encouraging emails, text messages, weekly resources, or even some Christmas cards throughout the holiday season. Also, consider how you can be a special blessing to people around this season. If there is someone that doesn’t have family around to celebrate Christmas with this year, invite them to an event, go caroling at their house, or do something special to remind them they are valued and supported.

5) Don’t wait until next year to review how your Christmas service went.

If you don’t take the time to do this right after your church Christmas service, then it will likely be 11 months before you consider it again and, by that time, you won’t remember. By taking the time to review what you did well and what still needs improvement while it’s all fresh in your mind, you’ll be that much more prepared for next year!

6) Let the Truth of this season impact your heart, too.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in decorating, planning the message, and making sure that the service is just right that you forget to let the truth of Christmas impact your own heart. This is the time of year that we remember the incredible truth that Jesus came to earth as a humble child, fully experiencing our humanity, to freely offer us salvation, redemption, and hope. Don’t merely focus on communicating this truth to others; be sure to meditate on it in your own life and walk with God.

This Christmas, remember that the most important thing you can do is to share the Good News with others. That our voices might join in with the shepherds, wise men, and angels in saying, “…I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…” (Luke 2:10 ESV)

Merry Christmas from all of us here at One Church Software!

Is your church still using pen-and-paper to plan events and collect guest information? Do you find yourself going in and manually sending follow-up emails or confirming with volunteers? Are you trying to plan events based on the verbal RSVPs you got last service? There is so much going on at your church and if you’ve been relying on any of these methods of organization, it can probably feel pretty overwhelming at times.

Your time matters. There’s a lot happening each week and the last thing you need to do is to manage details that could be automated.

Here are six things you should be automating at your church so you can focus on what you were called to do — leading your church and reaching people for Jesus.

1. Guest Follow-Up

Are you still typing an individual reply to every person that fills out a connection card? Do you find yourself copying and pasting a past email each time you reach out to someone who’s new to the church? It might seem like a small thing, but the collective time and the diverted focus this task is likely causing is a big deal.

While you will still want to be aware of who is new to your church and specific prayer requests, automating a well-crafted welcome note that is sent shortly after someone submits their information won’t just save you time, it also greets new guests in a timely manner. You can also include resources and links to your upcoming events so they can take the next step sooner.

This is actually a really easy automation to set-up! You’ll get any replies straight to your inbox, but all you have to do is write at least one email (though you could set-up more) that runs in the background every time someone new is added to the system.

2. Giving Responses and Follow-Up

Statistics show that you should be thanking givers within 24-48 hours of their gift. Are you aware of when people tithe? Is thanking someone for giving a task that consistently makes it to the bottom of your list or that you feel is just assumed? Odds are if you don’t have an automated system here, some giving is falling through the cracks unnoticed and unthanked.

By automating your giving responses, you can make sure people get thanked right away. This lets people know that their gift went through and gives them confidence that they made the right choice in supporting the ministry. In this automated response, you could also include what their faithful giving has provided or even update them on any special giving progress.

3. Kids Check-In

If you have kids, you know how crazy checking them in can be. And with safety protocols to match up kids with authorized adults, it’s so valuable to have an automated check-in process here. (If you don’t have a process in place for check-in and security, you need to implement one ASAP! This is a crucial part of reaching younger families.)

By implementing an automated system, parents can check their kids in easily with automatically-printed labels containing all the information people need to know, from your child’s name to any allergies they may have. This system can also integrate into helping you track attendance throughout your children’s ministries.

4. Event Confirmations + Follow-Up

If you’ve tried to plan a church event, you know what a headache it already can be to figure out how many people to plan for, not to mention letting everyone know when dates, times, and locations change. So sending out a confirmation email and creating an updated list of event attendees are two things that should be done, but shouldn’t have to be done by hand.

Automating event lists (who’s attending) allows you to communicate with all the right people, rather than email blasting your entire church when the picnic gets rained out. Everyone who signs up gets added to a list. You can easily email (or text) just those people.

And by automating your event confirmations, you can send out event-specific follow-ups to go directly to the people that attended. This ensures people have the location, time, and any other details easily accessible come the day of the event.

5. Task Management

Have you ever had to track someone down to get a progress update about a task? It can be especially difficult in ministry, as you work with a lot of volunteers who help you in their spare time outside of normal work hours. 

By having an automated system to easily assign tasks and get project updates, you don’t have to spend hours or days playing phone tag with someone. And if you have recurring projects, there are many automations, like our Workflows, that will allow you to set up a progression of subtasks, such as sending a follow-up text to a new guest, updating a donor address, or finishing up plans for an aspect of the Sunday service.

6. Attendance Tracking

It’s helpful to know how many people are actually attending your church, and to easily see who is falling away from the life of the church. Or if your church is hosting an event, it’s valuable to easily be able to see who ended up coming and who wasn’t able to.

By automating your service resources through One Church Software, you can create a check-in system so attendance is taken automatically. As an added bonus, you can set-up a notification for a member of your team or an automated follow-up process whenever someone hasn’t made it to a few services (or a workflow trigger of your choice). This is a great way to make sure no one falls through the cracks!

This is just a short list of some of the things you can automate at your church to save you time so you can lead your church more effectively. If you are ready to start automating or are curious what other time-saving automations are out there, check out One Church Software’s features or reach out to see how we can help equip and organize your church so you are structured in a healthy way.