In my first post on Church Management Systems I gave a summary of the whole project methodology. Let’s dive in to what you should look at first.

1) The brief: What do we need to do?

Churches rarely change or update software or hardware when they are happy with the status quo. Smart churches have a solid reason for change to a new Church Management System.

The question normally sounds like this… What do we want to do that we currently can’t do?

The over-arching goal was to be able to map and track a person’s discipleship journey from when they first came to church so that we could create measurable and trackable next step opportunities for their discipleship journey. Some specific aims we had included:

1. Volunteers to be able to register online for a volunteer opportunity or via a kiosk in the church foyer.

2. Groups For people to sign up and join Life Groups online or via a kiosk in the church foyer without any duplication. For leaders to be report, map and track their progress once they join a group.

Both concepts needed to be centrally managed so that there is minimal duplication of data entry. The centralised management of data also means that people won’t fall through the cracks because their is pastoral oversight of each process.

How this can apply to you: Have a clear vision of what you want/need to do which your current database cannot do BEFORE you start. Write it down. Talk about it with other key leaders. Use this as your main reference point. Its easy to get distracted with what is on offer out there.

In the next 4 posts I’ll be expanding on:

2) Discovery: What are our existing needs and future needs?

3) The search: Options. There are many different ChMS around. We looked at different ‘oranges’, and tossed out the lemons. And yes there were a few zesty lemons out there.

4) Review and shortlist: Which is the best ChMS fit? Will the ChMS answer the brief? Will it meet existing and future needs. Lemon tossing time. And also some orange tossing too.

5) Recommendations: Which is the closest glove to our hand.

Check out my previous post on Church Management Systems here.