By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist
Churches have a lot to keep up with. Membership rosters, giving records, church accounts — the list goes on and on.
How does your church organize everything? Do you have a particular kind of software you use to keep records? If you don’t, are there some reasons you should consider it?
Mickey Crawford, an associate in the office of communications and technology services at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, says it’s worth a look.
“The biggest thing to keep up with in a church is the people itself,” he said.
Churches can track a lot of things for their membership, including allergies, prayer requests and background checks for student ministry workers.
Software programs can also help churches manage event registration or keep tabs on who is authorized to pick up children from the kids ministry area after they’ve been dropped off.
“Software designed for these kinds of records can help churches keep track of everything,” Crawford said. “If you take it off paper and put it into a database, there’s security in that. Only certain people have access.”
Another benefit is that many church management software options work in tandem with programs like Mailchimp and Constant Contact to help you organize how you keep in touch with members.
Every software package offers different options, and each one differs in how you pay for it. Some charge a flat fee, others a subscription service.
Crawford said he doesn’t recommend a particular kind of software to churches, since a church’s needs can vary based on size of the church and software costs.
“I recommend that they look at some of these companies and see what they have to offer,” Crawford said.
A few options are:
This one’s been around for quite some time and serves nearly 50,000 churches, according to its website.
The company describes it as “approachable,” and the software offers tools like member profiles, giving options and accounting, child check-in and a variety of other resources. You can also use it through a cloud-based platform called Realm.
Although smaller churches can use it too, Crawford says he knows a lot of larger churches in Alabama who choose this software and the breadth of resources it offers.
It can provide some of the same integrated tools like member management and online giving and can host your church’s website too.
Often a fit for smaller churches, PowerChurch offers membership and financial record keeping and tools for communicating with your congregation. You can buy the software to use without internet access or online. It calls itself complete, user friendly and low priced.
Churches with fewer than 100 members might find Microsoft Office programs suitable for their needs. Though not church-specific, they are cost-effective because the software comes installed on many computers.
For example, Microsoft Access has free templates to create a basic Contacts database. The customizable database can include a photo of each member, along with name, address, phone numbers, emails, membership date and other information.
Another Office program, Microsoft Excel, is a spreadsheet program, and spreadsheets can be used to track weekly totals in giving, worship, Sunday School attendance, etc., as well as to keep track of individual giving.
For more information about using technology in ministry, contact Haley Piersol, digital services associate at The Alabama Baptist, at 205-870-4720 or email@example.com.