The Beginner’s Guide to Church Management Software
Use Church Management Software to Lighten Your Load
Church administrative burden is high in 2017, often consuming valuable time better suited to spreading your message or caring for your congregation. While the task of managing attendees, finances and reporting may be daunting, there are many church management systems (ChMS) specifically designed to ease that burden.
Having the proper ChMS will help you:
- Increase donations
- Assist with accounting/payroll
- Schedule committees and events
- Manage your rental property
- Streamline mailings/outreach
- Make more time for family because you have reduced administrative work
Pick the Church Management Software That’s Right for You
However, church management systems are as diverse as the churches they serve, in both features and pricing. So how do you find the one that meets your needs? We’ve put together a comprehensive guide of the benefits of a ChMS, along with the top 10 systems to help you make an informed ChMS decision and ensure the smooth operation of your religious organization.
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How to Use This Guide
This guide is designed to introduce you to some ChMS options based on specific criteria. It’s an overview intended to help you narrow your search for the right software. Links to some options for a new ChMS have been provided so you can easily access their websites for more information.
Our guide looks at the most popular software options as measured by:
Combination of their total number of churches/members managed
Online presence (when available)
You will also learn about each software’s:
Before you choose a new ChMS, identify the areas of church management that absorb your time. That will help you recognize the church software that best addresses your needs. After you implement your new ChMS, you will be able to minimize office work to focus on your congregation and spread your message to the community.
Top 10 Church Management Software by Popularity
1. ACS Technologies: 50,000 customers—15,040 Facebook likes
Mission: “Our employees do real ministry.”
Noteworthy Feature: Offers ministry guides to help you navigate the challenges you face.
Founded in 1978, ACS Technologies has the largest client base in the faith-based software industry. They offer software systems for churches to manage donor relationships, volunteers, child care, events, finances, schedules, mailings, reporting, websites, growth strategies, and more. Each of the company's products and services are designed to work together to increase your organization's efficiency and effectiveness, allowing you to take your ministry to the next level. This is done through a diverse selection of tools you need to connect with your community seamlessly, whether online, offline, or wireless.
Cost: Contact ACS Technologies for pricing.
2. Servant Keeper: 30,000 churches—22,015 Facebook likes
Mission: “Serving God’s People.”
Noteworthy Feature: Works with QuickBooks.
Servant Keeper strives to help churches and faith-based non-profits by reducing administrative overhead and streamlining member management. With their cloud services you can take advantage of free mobile apps, free online church directory, the web-based version of Servant Keeper, and the ability to keep your team connected regardless of their location. ServantPC Cloud keeps your database in the cloud while the app is available on an unlimited number of devices, using the same model as Facebook or Netflix.
Cost: Local $299/small church (up to 50 families) to $599/larger church plus $50 per additional computer. Cloud pricing starts at $9.99/month.
3. ParishSOFT: 9,000 parishes—173 arch/diocese—436 Facebook likes
Mission: “Connects People and the Church.”
Noteworthy Feature: Catholic focus.
ParishSOFT has over 50% of U.S. Catholic parishes using this software. They offer software that is easy for all levels of staff to learn with a huge wealth of resources for training, on-boarding, and product support. With a single database solution, you never enter data twice. You can support your diocese with accounting tools and real-time financial reports.
ConnectNow Family Suite (for parish management)
ConnectNow Diocesan Suite (for diocesan management)
Cost: Contact ParishSOFT for pricing.
4. PowerChurch Software: 38,000 organizations—no Facebook presence
Mission: “Helping churches and ministries help others even more.”
Noteworthy Feature: Products are as flexible and customizable as possible, though only run on Windows.
Since 1984, PowerChurch Software has been serving churches by providing economical, flexible, and user-friendly software to streamline your daily tasks as a church administrator. Claiming straightforward pricing and no-pressure sales tactics, PowerChurch Plus is an all-in-one software solution that helps keep track of membership, contributions, accounting, events calendar, and more.
Products: PowerChurch offers a range of products, including: PowerChurch Plus and PowerChurch Online. You can view a complete list of products on the PowerChurch product page.
Cost: PowerChurch Plus is $395 for the electronic version and $410 for physical media. PowerChurch Check In is $189 for the electronic version and $192 for physical media. The Online edition is $120/year.
5. Church Community Builder: 5,000 churches—14,053 Facebook likes
Mission: “Engaging Community. Equipping Leaders.”
Noteworthy Feature: Integrates with other service providers.
Church Community Builder is a cloud-based ChMS designed to empower leaders to be more effective with how they run their ministry. User-friendly software helps church leaders implement effective systems and processes through software, coaching and peer-to-peer networks. Features include intuitive web forms, process queues, multi-site support, group management, guest follow-up, metrics dashboards, and mobile apps.
Products: Church Community Builder (packages include essential, standard and deluxe)
Cost: Pricing varies depending on average weekly attendees and package, starting at $90/month for 100 weekly attendees. For more information, visit their pricing page.
6. Church Windows: 13,000 churches
Mission: “Dedicated to assisting church administrators and volunteers with their daily tasks.”
Noteworthy Feature: Available as individual modules or an integrated program.
Church Windows is a flexible and user-friendly ChMS from a well-established leader in the industry. They offer a complete integrated package of membership, scheduler, donations, accounting and payroll modules. It’s an á-la-carte approach to church management, making it possible to purchase one portion of the program and add additional modules later. In addition to the experienced toll-free and online support, they offer free online training classes.
Cost: There are four standard modules to choose from in Church Windows. The Desktop pricing ranges from $227-642 with several add-on options available. Church Windows Web ranges from $60-125. For details, visit the pricing page.
7. Shelby Systems: 24,000 people—693 Facebook likes
Mission: “Change the way you do ministry.”
Noteworthy Feature: First Church Management Software company and a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
With 40 years experience offering software for churches, Shelby focuses on flexibility and church-specific modules with such offerings as church websites, mobile, and add-ons. These fully-integrated products are designed to help you reach maximum efficiency, while providing support every step of the way. Additional support includes trainings, webinars, and conferences.
Products: Shelby Systems offers a Total Ministry Package and Church Management program in addition to many other programs to assist in managing churches. Learn more on the Shelby System product page.
Cost: Pricing begins at $179/month and includes your first 400 records. Contact Shelby Systems for more details.
8. ChurchTrac: Thousands of congregations—593 Facebook likes
Mission: “We're the easy-to-use church software that you can actually afford.”
Noteworthy Feature: Don't charge setup fees, import fees or support fees.
Out of 200+ church management software companies out there, Capterra ranked ChurchTrac as the #1 most user-friendly application and the second most affordable. ChurchTrac began in 2002 when the company founder, Byron Tedder, developed a software program at the request of his pastor. They maintain an industry-leading 99.9999% uptime, which means you can access your data from any internet-connected device, anytime.
Cost: Tiered pricing system based on the number of names you need to enter. Prices start at under $5 per month. Visit ChurchTrac’s pricing page to learn more.
9. By the Book: No client numbers available—no Facebook presence
Mission: “To bring the best possible software solutions to those we serve.”
Noteworthy Feature: They believe you should be able to pick up the phone and talk to someone when you have questions.
By the Book has designed Roll Call software as an all-in-one system to manage membership, attendance, donations and pledges as well as event and group information. Roll Call includes handy integrations like a child-check-in system and runs on Windows or Mac, on or off a network. Their software is designed to evolve and innovate.
Products: Roll Call is a complete software package for all church administration, eliminating the need for spreadsheets and other software programs. Roll Call Lite is a scaled down version of Roll Call.
Cost: Products start at $129 with add-on products, such as web integration, available for an additional cost.
10. RockRMS: 6 partners—16 gold donors—210 churches—411 Facebook likes
Mission: “Rock RMS is a community—a network of people and organizations that support a Kingdom-focused mission.“
Noteworthy Feature: Open source platform with community support for troubleshooting, development, general questions and design.
With 30+ years of experience building ChMS products, a group of developers got together and built something different—an entire ecosystem just for churches. They quickly started to work with some of the biggest ministries in the world. It's simple, open and extensible. With plug-ins ranging from check-in to email to giving solutions and more, you can customize Rock for your organization and with your existing ChMS. In addition, user guides help you learn to manage groups, finances and communication. Administrative guides go deeper into workflows, websites and design.
Products: Rock RMS
Cost: Donation based.
A Solution for Every Church
Every church faces time-consuming challenges in managing their congregations, financials and growth. To maximize the impact of your church and free up the time you need to do the work you most love, you need a church management system capable of meeting those challenges.
This beginner’s guide shows a wide variety of ways this is possible, from open-sourced, free solutions to fully supported and integrated programs. There is a ChMS for every church out there. The key is to know what your congregation needs and then find the best fit to fill that need.