Today’s best church management systems aren’t just tools for helping your church operate more efficiently when it comes to tracking financial transactions and member information. They also offer a number of different options to help you more effectively engage church members.
But as you seek out different systems and weigh the options, this is also where things can get a little tricky. There are so many different features available with church management systems today, it can be a challenge to find the best fit for your church.
When considering a new church management system, ask yourself these three key questions:
Does it do too much? You’ve probably heard the expression “jack of all trades, master of none”, while that applies to CHMS’s too. Oftentimes the ones that do everything tend to not do anything particularly well. While some church management systems can offer you the complete package, typically there is some feature or function that’s either missing or inadequate
Does it do too little? When purchasing technology, a common regret months or a year down the road is not getting a more feature-rich version. Churches will sometimes choose a ChMS for one or two specific features only. Staying with one system for the sake of one feature means you’re probably missing out on what other systems have to offer. r speak to your members.
Does it help with member engagement? This is an important question. Highly flexible systems that enable you to integrate with your preferred software for, say, accounting and payroll, often allow you to create highly personalized engagement pathways for your members. Remember, every investment your church makes should be furthering that paramount goal of helping you better speak to your members.
How a modern church management system can help your staff improve member engagement
When lost people come to our church, they desire to be known. This can be a tall order for pastors shepherding a flock of hundreds, or even thousands. This is where your church management system can lend a hand.
An advanced ChMS should allow you to know your members deeper than ever by having a wealth of information stored in their contact record. Your system can then use this information to automate communications and alert staff and lay leaders when someone is in need of care, encouragement, or inspiration to take their involvement with your church to a deeper level.
Here are a couple examples of ways your ChMS can help you be more attentive to your members:
Custom fields – Systems like TouchPoint give churches the ability to create custom fields to track additional information on people's contact records. This could be anything from talents, personality traits, spiritual gifts, giving level, discipleship status, connection groups, engagement activity, membership, baptism, enrollment date, or family structure. That way you can collect the data that is most important and useful to your ministry, look up and find the information you need when you need it, or search your database to find individuals based on specific fields.
Auto reports – When a church member quietly stops attending, giving, or showing up to volunteer, that’s usually an indication of trouble. Maybe they are experiencing marital difficulties, an illness, or financial trouble. Maybe they’re just on a long vacation. Whatever the case, a personal follow-up from someone at the church goes a long way in keeping them engaged with the life of your church. Your ChMS should enable you to send automatically generated reports to people in ministry and lay leadership that allow them to quickly take action.
By better understanding your members (both new and old) on an individual level, you can better speak to their needs, keep them from leaving, and strengthen your church as a whole.