Our Favorite Church Management Tools
by Billy Waters at Wellspring Church in Denver, CO
It can be so frustrating as a church plant to identify the best platforms for church management. Especially as a church when time and money are the most precious commodity, we need tools that are easy to use and the most cost effective. Over the years, Wellspring Church has populated a list of resources that we have found the most helpful in our context. The platforms we chose had to be intuitive, accessible, affordable, scalable, and well supported.
Basecamp- Is our project management tool. It is incredibly easy to use and keeps everyone on the same page. We use it for projects like our fall kick off as well as the defining objects that we set at the beginning of the year. It helps keep the team accountable and clear. Basecamp has great features: message boards, comment threads, check-ins, to-do lists, doc and file storage, and much more.
Planning Center People-
- Main database containing all of our “people”
- Accessible to all staff.
- Customizable by key staff to keep track of different ministry specific information.
- Controls all newsletter/group mailings.
- Easy to create lists of different groups in the church
- Contains workflows which allows you to set up an process (ie. assimilation)
- Accessible through mobile browser.
Planning Center Services
- Application specifically designed to manage all service elements.
- Music management (charts, mp3’s, etc)
- Volunteer management and communication (including children’s ministry).
- Service outline management
Event/Children Check in
Planning Center Check-Ins
- Application specifically designed to check people in and out of events.
- Specifically used weekly for children ministry.
- Can be used for any church event.
- Can be used for “name-tag” Sunday.
- Can be used to check in all children ministry volunteers.
Planning Center Registrations
- Application specifically designed to register people for church events.
- Can be used for paid and unpaid events.
- Credit cards hit same system as online giving
- Can be used for camps, retreats, applications, or any church wide event.
- Credit card fees must be taken into account for payment for events.
Planning Center Giving
- Giving platform that supports all donations.
- Processes all online giving, keeps records for tax purposes, sends tax donation receipts.
- Processes all “paper” giving, keeps records for tax purposes, sends tax donation receipts.
- Accessible to key staff with giving privileges only.
Zenefits– Zenefits is a cloud based software which helps businesses manage their Human Resources.
- Onboarding new employees which can be completed in one place such as offer letters, employee handbook, etc.
- Employees have access to their own Portal which allows them to
- View benefits
- Add dependents
- Print Insurance cards
- Update information such as w-4, i-9 and other documents.
- Contact an advisor
- Track vacation, personal and sick time
- View pay stubs
- Hourly employees can track their time on an office iPad, and hours can be approved by a supervisor.
Expensify– This a paperless expense process that is effortless and saves a ton of time.
- Automatic Reporting, submission, approval and reimbursement
- All expenses are customized to fit your budget categories.
Squarespace- There are a lot of vehicles out there but we have found Squarespace to be the simplest and easiest way to create a great website.
- Google Apps is where you can store all company files.
- Every user has their own, private drive.
- You can have a main folder to store all shared church information.
- Any staff that has admin docs can give other staff access to main folder.
- Drive is backed up automatically, saving to your computer is not. Save everything to Google Drive.
- Interfaces well with planning center people.
- Mailing preferences can be kept track of in planning center people.
- Great templates
The bottom line for any platform that we use is how do we more effectively communicate and connect with the People God has entrusted to us. If it doesn’t lead to greater connection it isn’t worth it. Technology creates more technology and therefore leads to the temptation to focus on the newest and greatest instead of the image bearers that attend our communities. I hope and pray that whatever church management tool(s) you adopt that it helps facilitate connection.