How do you manage a church? This question has been around for as long as the church has existed and with each era the church has responded with different strategies to grow, disciple and manage.
In the age of big worship, large campuses and multitude-like attendance the idea of managing a church has developed past quality staff and flourished with a focus on automated management via software.
While the idea of managing a church with a computer may seem cold and calculated compared to the persistence and abandon of the early church, in a modern context purchasing and using competent church management software is essential.
From attendance monitoring to facility management, church management software is a solution to many of the problems faced by churches that are growing and maintaining attendance alike. There are no cause and effect patterns for purchasing management software. No reason other than the need to maintain campus safety as well as encourage discipleship and leadership throughout the congregationregardless of size, age, or denomination.
Monitoring your Flock
Church management software suites are applicable to a variety of installations, but every technology purchase comes with a responsibility to serving the church's mission and attendees both regular and new.
One of the best ways to monitor congregation attendance and behavior is through attendance software suites.
There are a lot of products on the market although each suite is unique in the features that they offer their customers.
Joel Roggenkamp, developer of the Best Attendance software suite, categorizes attendance monitoring as both a facet of church security and congregation development.
"I would define a church management system as anything that helps your congregation stay engaged with the church," says Roggenkamp.
However, Roggenkamp comments that with such a seemingly broad blanket definition, this is only to capture the sheer immensity of products availableeach solution based on the specific needs of individual churches everywhere.
Understanding that your congregation has many different attendees, even within one church, is an important first step to understanding how, where and why you should be integrating a management system.
Roggenkamp knows attendance software needs to be accommodating to visitors in order for it to be beneficial for the church. To this point, Best Attendance is developed with accessibility in mind.
In order to accommodate all types of attendees, as well as the different areas of even a single campus, a management software suite needs to offer a variety of inputs and metrics with which to measure your church's attendance and engagement.
Roggenkamp's Best Attendance lets users to sign in via a variety of different technologies. The software allows for bar code scanning, touch screen control and basic manual entry. Depending on what purpose the management system is intended to serve; a church might find itself utilizing one of all of these options.
With Best Attendance the software can be used at multiple locations within a single campus. Roggenkamp comments that by allowing the program to collect a variety of information at once in real-time, church's can better understand the whole of their community at once rather than in slices. This also means that you can implement different input types in multiple locations within a campus and still gather data accurately and regularly.
Another major feature for management suites is a variety of metrics with which to interpret your data.
The more metrics the better, this means tracking how often people come, what they engage with, what programs work or don't. Interestingly enough, these metrics serve a variety of purposes ranging from basic statistic collection to managing discipleship programs and other church wide events.
The purpose then for management software is not to just ease the pressure off the back-end of church management, but actively increase attendee engagement through purposeful programming and conscious actions from the church based on essential data.
Even though attendance software is not the only type of church management software, it highlights an important trend in the church management software market: the best technology for you is the best technology for your congregation.
Finding the best technology for your church relies heavily on the vision and capacity of your house of worship.
This includes being able to book, access and edit schedules down to the room booked, as well as promote and monitor the effectiveness of seasonal church events. Knowing who is coming to service and who isn't is just the tip of icebergwith accurate campus management individuals change from numbers to people and from people to disciples and members of your church's family.