In my Membership Class, I show a slide that I've developed over the years to help church staff evaluate the nature of the software they need. Each of these serve a different purpose and require a different architecture. Just as the architecture of a grocery store, a restaurant and a doctor's office are different based on purpose, so the architecture of church software is different based on its primary purpose. Here's how I break them down:
- People - membership, giving, groups, events, kids, volunteers, communication, reporting.
- Money - bookkeeping, general ledger, payroll.
- Website - home page, graphics, announcements, stories
- Office - email, calendars, tasks, documents, spreadsheets
- Worship - presentation
I want to help pastors and staff determine what software they actually need to manage the churches they lead with excellence. There is no single software that solves all of the issues pastors face. However, there is significant interplay between applications that provide these. These integrations vary from simple links that you post on a website to complex bi-directional integration of data.
Churchteams is designed to be a single store-house for all of a church's people data. Not only their personal information and involvment, but also everything related to their giving including online / text to give options and sending out statements. Each week, our donation summary gives your bookkeeper the few numbers needed to be added as income to a church's financial software. We do everything to create and use forms for people to register (and pay) for any event by providing a simple link (or iframe code) to integrate with a church's website software. We provide an email marketing tool and texting that can make use of the email client a church uses. We have a great tool for scheduling, managing, and reminding volunteers. If it involves people information, we'll help you with it.
Here's the issue, you can go to a church or doctor's office that is a retro-fitted shopping center and be just fine. But, in the long run, the goal for most growing churches or medical practices is to get into a facility designed specifically for their needs. Similarly, you can use software originally designed for accounting, worship, office tasks, or website development to track people; but, at the end of the day, you'll find software designed for people management meets your needs much more effectively.
So, what does church management software include? I guess if church means people, it primarily means your membership database. If church means organization then it includes a collection of up to 5 different software applications.