Church Management Software

The ultimate introduction to Church Management Software
What it is, benefits and features

What is Church Management Software?

Church management software or ChMS is a specialized system which reduces the cost of operations and helps promote growth by assisting religious organizations and churches to automate daily administrative, management and reporting tasks.

Although different programs offer different functions, church management software can be scaled to fit ministries of any size or budget and customized to fit their needs.

The most basic systems include managing administrative data such as emails, membership databases, communication, worship planning, report generation, finances, events planning and check-ins.

More advanced software programs offer multi-user access, the ability to protect their confidentiality, features that track and report on attendance, and keeping record of pastoral visits and personal notes, which help staff teams to ensure that every member’s needs are addressed.

It is essential to remember that what works for the one church might not work for the other. Therefore organizations have to do thorough research and determine what requirements the system would have to meet.

Although there are free open-source software programs available, most churches opt for a paid system that is customized to meet their needs and help streamline their daily duties, and keeps them in constant communication with a support team should they require assistance to effectively navigate the system.

What ChMS Does For You?

Streamline Admin

ChMS streamlines your admin and automates recurring tasks. It distributes information, updates membership databases, organizes teams/small groups, and handles emails, reporting and many other duties. It also coordinates schedules for volunteers and worship teams, and helps with service planning.

Improve Communication

A ChMS system equips you with the tools to speed up your communication process and keep everyone informed of updates and developments which make you more efficient in serving the kingdom of God.

Manage Finances

It improves financial management by keeping track of all contributions and donations.

Monitor Church Growth

With features such as attendance tracking, managing contacts and membership.

Who Is ChMS For?

Suitable for churches of all sizes, it’s important to ensure that the church management software you choose will meet all your requirements.

Small-sized Church

Let’s start with a small congregation of about 50-100 people. Although everyone knows one another by name, there is still a structure to adhere to and ensure that all membership information is added, regularly updated and secured. Features such as tracking attendance, recording contributions and donations, and managing administrative duties will be integral to your church’s future growth.

Medium to Large

Churches with more than 250 members require similar needs to a smaller church but on a much larger scale. Their needs need to accommodate a more advanced system which records member contribution, tracks attendance, manages safety check-ins, updates membership databases, and allows mass communication.

Mega Churches

A congregation of more than 2000 members need a ChMS solution that will enable leaders to assign a specific person or people to manage volunteers, staff and members from anywhere at any given time. A church with multiple locations require a system that will allow users to monitor attendance, plan events, create volunteer schedules, manage services and communicate important information across all platforms.

Remember that as your church membership grows, so does your admin and management responsibilities so finding the right software even when you’re still relatively small will set you up right for the future.

Six Most Commonly Requested Church Management Software Features

Church management softwares are as diverse so how do you find the one that meets your needs? Here's a list of the 6 most commonly requested features that may help you with your decision.

Cloud-Based CmMS Software vs In-House Server Software

Traditionally ChMS systems were installed on servers or run on desktops. Today an increasing number of churches and ministry organizations are choosing to migrate to Cloud-based software. So what's the biggest difference between the two options?

Why Church Management?

Church management software is a way that better equips you to minister more effectively. It not only streamlines your admin duties but enables you to focus on your congregation to ensure not one member is left out. It also helps to empower leaders to manage their respective ministries more effectively and allows you to track and record member insights to enable you to better serve your church community.

Here’s the main functions a ChMS manages for you:

  • Church-centric system

    You need a software that is specially made to accommodate the diverse functions of your church. Business software is not specialized and tailored to meet the needs of your church. Statistics have shown that 70%-80% of newly formed churches fail after the 1st year and that some established ones lose some of their members after 5 to 7 years. The reason being a lack of tools and resources to mass manage the many diverse operations that pertain to growth and admin. This is where ChMS comes handy.

  • Management panel

    A full-featured software gives you the advantage of keeping all of your important church information and data in one place without the need to look for data and records from various systems and storage areas. It’s a convenient way to have a readily accessible database especially if it is a Cloud-based system.

  • Stats and reports

    With software that provides statistics and reporting you can now closely monitor your finances and gain valuable member insights to determine where your church lacks growth and which areas need improvement. This relevant information can be used to make better informed decisions.

  • Check-in management

    This feature is especially important as it helps you keep track of kids at church events which ensures parents that their bundles of joy are safe and secure at all times. It is also quite handy when it comes to keeping track of your congregation when needed. A great example to look at is a check-in system here which gives you a better idea of how this type of feature should work.

  • Events management

    Church events are difficult to plan and manage, that’s why church management software does it for you. By facilitating bookings, making room reservations, monitoring assets, and tracking event registration payments, you are left with more time to enjoy your community than spending it managing them. Features also include keeping members of your community informed and updated on any changes to schedules or activities.

  • Contribution management

    Running a church includes being financially responsible. Software suits are specially designed to help you track every donation and contribution received. Systems generate financial and accounting reports to enable you to keep tabs on all incoming donations.

What are the benefits of ChMS?

Church management software is a way that better equips you to minister more effectively. It not only streamlines your admin duties but enables you to focus on your congregation to ensure not one member is left out. It also helps to empower leaders to manage their respective ministries more effectively and allows you to track and record member insights to enable you to better serve your church community.

Mass communication

This software is designed to help you effectively manage your members and communicate important information or updates to them, whether as a collective or individually.

Attendance records

Tracking your members’ attendance gives you a better sense of their interests and gifts. By monitoring which events they attend and when, you are able to leverage that information to better equip them to serve with purpose.

Staff empowerment

The system enables you to use information from volunteers and staff to assign the right positions to them when they’re available to grow in their callings and gifts.

Ministry Efficiency

A ChMS solution can help you see which programs, ministry areas or events work and which don’t. That way you spend less time trying to fix things that do not bring you growth, and more time on improving on the areas that matter.


By studying your congregation’s giving patterns, you can establish whether integrating online giving will be effective in increasing contributions and engagement with your donors. It’s also a more convenient way for members to pay tithes and offerings and most of the time it’s the preferred method.


Some churches have reported that there has been a 50% decrease in admin work since they started using a church management solution.

How Technology has Changed the Church

The church is leveraging technology more and more because of its great benefits in spreading the Gospel more efficiently. But how has technology changed the church?

Why Churches Fail in the first four years

A staggering 32% of churches fail within the first four years. So what do the congregations that succeed do differently and can you keep your church from falling into the same category?

What to expect when implementing a ChMS

Centralized System

Save time and resources with an organized system that keeps all contact details, membership information, records, reports, files and important data in one secure place that is easily accessible at any time.

Improved Accountability

A system that keeps track of your finances and audit trail reduces the possibility of embezzlement or fraud. Some systems allow double entry procedures so that you can ensure that all data entered into the system will be accurate. You can also enforce restrictions on reports you would like to keep private, and monitor regular users and the changes that are made.

Accurate Reporting

In addition to the above-mention features, ChMS also provides you with accurate financial reporting so that you can always have detailed statements ready to present to donors on request.

Personalized Emails

Communication is much more effective with software that enables you to create customized email templates. Send out personalized messages to certain members or only to specific groups. Add your own personal touch to emails you send out to have a greater impact.

Which features & functions are most important with church management software?

There are certain features that stand out when it comes to the effectiveness of a church management system (ChMS). These are the main functions you should focus on:

Attendance Tracking

The ability to track and record your members’ attendance and generate reports to see who has or has not been attending is an important feature your ChMS should provide. Whether it be for targeted groups or an entire church, by keeping track of your church community you can target communication to particular members who may need a friendly check-in.

Recording member attendance can be quite difficult to do when you’re managing a larger congregation, so the best way this feature can be used is by enabling your leaders to keep track of their own groups so that not one person is missed.

Database Management

Managing your church data manually can both be challenging and sometimes even impossible to keep up to date as your congregation grows. Having a church management system allows you to store people data in the Cloud which will not only save you time but enables you to more effectively and efficiently track and locate data at the click of a button.

With church management software you can update your database (merge, add, edit member details), keep track of people, send direct messages to them via email or SMS, and track important dates to make sure you are connecting with them personally.

People Flows

A people flow or workflow is a step-by-step process that is implemented for particular areas of your church. For example, a process you go through with people before they get baptized, married, or dedicate a baby. It could be a procedure people go through before being allowed to join the children’s ministry or whenever someone tries to book the church hall for a function. It could also be the process a newly connected member or visitor goes through to make sure they get connected and start participating in the life of the church.

The only thing a people flow needs is steps to work through, and having a church management software that allows you to set up such a process is a powerful tool.

Online Giving and Contributions

Track contributions and keep tabs on your church’s financial status. Boost online giving with integrated giving apps to accept payments via credit or debit cards.

It also gives you the ability to generate reports for pledges and enables you to follow up with donors with receipts or giving statements.

Group Management

Structure members into certain groups based on certain characteristics or demographics. This may include their location, interests, involvement with the church, age or gender. Managing your database through groups allows your church leaders to target communication specific to each group. For example, youth groups, women’s groups, networking or social gatherings.

Through the power of groups you can create a stronger sense of community.

Volunteer Management

As your church volunteer team grows, the ability to manage and schedule your volunteers online is a powerful tool. Keep track of who is assigned to which department and send out rosters ahead of time to inform them when they’re serving next.

Streamline your scheduling process with automatic notifications to remind them to check their schedules. Members can also access their own accounts via an account login, and manage their contact details to ensure they’re up to date.

Mobile Access

An invaluable church management tool to provide members and teams is to have a mobile app that gives volunteers access to the member directory, roster, and songs on their smartphone.


This feature allows you to keep track of trends. Watching these trends often indicates which people may need extra pastoral support.

It also allows you to export data about attendances, church volunteers, congregation changes, contributions, donations and so much more.


Keep in touch with your church community through many channels which include text/SMS, direct email or an email mailout function to post your church newsletter or blog posts.

Events Management

In your church there may be rooms to hire out for certain events. Through the use of a church management system you have the ability to book and manage church assets, rooms and volunteers. Assets and rooms can be linked to events and when a booking is made in the events calendar, the room can be linked to the event.

Child Check-in & Security

Our children are the most important people in our lives and ensuring that they are efficiently and securely checked in at your church is vital.

A church management system is a valuable tool that allows parents to check in children and youth with ease on a computer, tablet or at a kiosk. It enables them to view who is currently checked in, what rooms they are assigned to, and to check them out at the end of a service.

Role-based Access

Through the encryption of data for secure Cloud storage, having the feature that allows limited access to information based on role permissions is vital.

You want to ensure that you can customize the features individuals can access as well as restricting their access to different features of the system.

GDPR compliance for the EU

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU Regulation which will replace the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive (DPD) to significantly enhance the protection of the personal data of EU citizens and increases the obligations on organizations who collect or process personal data. It came into force on the 25th of May, 2018. Having a ChMS that is compliant with the GDPR is really important if you have a church in this region of the world.

The Best Church Management Software

The Best Church Management Software

Having an all-in-one solution to manage your church is just what your church needs to shepherd your church members on their faith journey. By having a system that improves the effectiveness of your church administrators and team ensures every person is loved, nurtured and discipled.

Questions to ask when choosing a ChMS

It’s good to ask these questions to determine whether a ChMS solution caters to your needs:

  • Is it an all-in-one solution so you’re not using multiple platforms?
  • Is it easy to navigate for staff and users?
  • Does it handle tasks and operations to help you save time and resources?
  • Are you able to generate accurate and reliable reports?
  • Does it provide a detailed analysis of financial and daily processes?
  • Can it organize and manage a secure database?
  • Is it compatible with your current system or would you need an upgrade?
  • Can it create follow-up letters and messages to members and visitors?
  • Does it allow you to collaborate and coordinate different people and units at church?
  • Does it promote growth in the organization and facilitate outreach activities?
  • Does it comply with your countries privacy laws? (Eg. GDPR in Europe)
  • Does it offer API access?
  • Can you integrate with other platforms and services?

Need more information about Church Management Software?

Find out why an all-inclusive, cloud-based church management solution is exactly what you need to effectively run your church