Anytime someone asks about a specific solution to a problem, we ask questions to better under the problem itself first. This practice enables us to take a fresh look at a problem rather than simply comparing it to other solutions. Calendars is a great example. What are the problems that calendars exist to solve in churches? Here are the three that I've come up with and how we've chosen to address them.
- Personal management. Each staff person needs a calendar to schedule meetings, remember administrative tasks, track mileage and prioritize use of time.
- Planning collaboration. The organization as a whole needs a calendar for collaboration on planning events, managing meeting spaces, making pastoral assignments and allocating resources. Churches often use multiple calendars capable of being layered over one another to provide greater segmentation.
- Promoting activities. Finally, there's the calendar that people use to see and register for events. Typically this calendar is associated with a church's website.
As we looked into these uses of calendars, we realized that personal calendars are most often associated with the email or office software system that a church uses. We love Google for personal calendars. Here's why.
- Your church domain name email can be managed by Gmail.
- Each staff person has their own calendar based on that email address.
- Staff control and share access to calendar and events.
- Easily sends calendar invites to coordinate meetings.
- Most people are familiar with Gmail - Stats
Because event management is a core function of our software, we built tools so that Churchteams provides your promotional calendar. We provide links (or HTML code) that you can put on your website or in any email, text, post or message. From these people can fill out a form to register for anything.
- Register (and pay) for any class or event.
- Review a group of opportunities (ex. mission trips, service opportunities, discipleship classes) to choose to attend.
- Present events in list order by date to view and register.
- Find a group using the Groupfinder tool we are so well known for.
- Website Integration Page for examples.
We also love Google Calendars for planning collaboration calendars. Here are examples of calendars you might want to create and then share with staff. Each staff has the option to choose which calendar(s) to view individually or all at once. You choose who gets ability to view or edit these.
- Pastoral needs calendar - pastor on call, hospital visits, weddings, funerals, etc.
- Ministry activities calendar - each department can have their own calendar or share one between related departments.
- Building usage calendar - one or multiple calendars depending on the size of your facility. Schedule rooms. Can use request feature that needs approved.
- Maintenance or admin tasks calendar - for support and maintenance staff as reminders of weekly or regular tasks.
These calendars work nicely for most churches. However, there are specialized calendars designed to take you even deeper into calendar possibilities like eSpace and others. Some of these actually interact with your HVAC units to manage heating and air conditioning based on time schedules. This is a specialty software that really can help with expenses. We may see more integration with these in the future.