Church Management Software – 05/12/11

On Thursday, May 12, 2011 the Synod Communicators group gathered at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Elkton, MN to talk about databases and church management software.

The following systems were used by people at the meeting:

Most appreciated features:

  • Creating groups
  • Filters

How to manage multiple users:

  • Data can be stored on a server
  • Remote instances
  • Online systems (some systems are now offering online versions where data is stored on remote, secure servers and can be accessed with a username and password from any computer, some also offer online directories for your members)

Calendars:

  • Most users don’t use these features

Maps:

  • Many systems offer a mapping feature, allowing you to click on an address and get a map (Google Maps, Mapquest, etc.)

Security:

  • Most have the option to set each field/type of information to be viewable by, editable by, or hidden from each respective user.

Shepherds Staff’s Member Connect:

  • A feature that allows for many online features including websites, online discussions and collaborations, and password-protected member directories

For official records:

Backups:

  • Unless you’re using an online system with appropriate duplicate versions (i.e. your data is stored on multiple remote servers), you should make regular backups of your data.
  • Weekly backups are a good idea, but it depends on your circumstances.
  • Backups should be kept off-site. Ex. at your home, bank, etc.

Training:

  • Most systems offer training
  • Some offer webinars or private online training
  • Most will send trainers to your site (at a cost)
  • Many have conferences and other events to attend. A benefit to these is hearing others ask questions you never thought to.

Trial and Error:

  • Some systems (ACS for sure) will let you make a duplicate set of data to play with. This will allow you to test different settings and ways to do things without ruining your data.
  • Another way is to take a copy home and play on another computer. Church Windows has recommended this.

Teaching Others:

  • Most have long manuals and other resources.
  • It was agreed that a “cheat sheet” for other staff would be good, but no one had one.

Feel free to share your additional suggestions or questions in the comments section below.

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One Response to Church Management Software – 05/12/11

  1. Eric Mabius says:

    Indeed great article, by the way I wish to share this. I love to go to church but sometimes it is not possible for me to visit church but our church has software by which I can be in touch with them anywhere, anytime. It is really wonderful to get in touch with church & other member. I think our church use Congregation Builder’s web based church management software .

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