Ekklesia 360

What's the Best Church Management Software? Church Community Builder vs The City vs Fellowship One vs e360 ChMS

Posted by Jodi Roberts

June 9, 2015 8:41 AM

   

why-not-all-church-management-solutions-are-equal

Whether you are a smaller community church or a large multi-site church, you can benefit from a church management system (ChMS). Most likely, you are already using technology to make your ministry more effective and efficient. Software that helps coordinate and automate many of your activities is helpful to ensure your church is running smoothly. But what's the best church management software? We compare Church Community Builder, The City, Fellowship One, and e360 ChMS. It all comes down to your needs.

Churches have lots of tasks in their day-to-day operations. Most church management solutions are designed to help you accomplish these tasks effortlessly. Collecting tithes, keeping track of Sunday School check-ins, or communicating with your congregation about sermons, small groups, mailings, events, and directories are all important parts of what a church does. And that means it's important for this information to be easy to use.

With hundreds of vendors providing similar services, you are often left with a handful of problems and no clear place to begin looking for solutions.

 

Which features are the most important for your church?

The crucial first step in choosing a ChMS that accomplishes the goals of your church is to decide which features and functionality are the most important in managing your ministry and serving your congregation.

church-task-managementThe primary function of a church management solution is is to manage and streamline communications within your church and congregation.This usually includes basic contact information like names, addresses, phone numbers, and email. It is also helpful to efficiently manage demographic information such as births, baptisms, confirmations and marriages. Many churches also need to organize participation in activities, committees or small groups.

Almost all ChMS systems provide this entry-level ability to track family contact data, but functionality starts to vary when it comes to additional features that can be more unique to your situation. For example, do you offer childcare services or have more frequent community volunteer efforts?

To get started, look beyond the basics and consider if you have the following needs:

  1. Accounting and Payroll
  2. Member Directory & Scheduling
  3. Church Website Forms and Analytics
  4. Attendance Tracking
  5. Child Care or Youth Education
  6. Events and Volunteer Management
  7. Manage the Use of Church Property

You can see that the market is inundated with solutions and this is one of the challenges church professionals face. Even with all of the options that exist (and consultants to provide help) choosing the solution that is best for your congregation can be difficult.

 

3 Church Management Systems to Consider

Once you have identified specific priorities of what you need a ChMS to do, we thought we would take a moment to highlight three of the more popular options as a place to begin your search. Your priorities might be based on price, or have more to do with features and functionality -- either way, you do not have to be lost in the sea of options.

Based on our experience and the experience of our clients, some solutions are simply better at certain features than others. (That is why it is critical to first identify the unique needs of your church.)

TIP: Think of it like a college or university. Most colleges offer several degree choices or even general studies programs, but a lot of the time a university is known for specializing in a specific major. For example, you can do many things at the University of Missouri in Columbia, but they are renowned for their School of Journalism.

For the purposes of this blog post, we will highlight Church Community Builder (CCB), The City by ACS Technologies, and Fellowship One (F1). Here is a quick comparison chart on their feature set:

Whats-the-best-church-management-software-comparison-chart.jpg


The City
(ACS Technologies)

Site: http://www.acstechnologies.com/products/the-city
FAQ: http://www.acstechnologies.com/products/the-city/faqs
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thecity

Church doesn't stop Monday morning. People get together throughout the week, talk with each other, and share life's adventures every day. It's already happening whether you are in the middle of it or not. The City fits into the existing social habits of the people in your church and gives them 24/7 mobile and online access to information about your church.

The_CityFeatures Ekklesia 360 users like:

  • Church Communication
  • Community Building
  • Easy Administration tools
  • Children’s check-in
  • Online Giving Modules
  • Robust Calendar & Groups Modules
  • Newsletter

"We really wanted to have people connect together outside of church. We’re a big church that focuses on volunteering, serving and community groups. Using The City helps people engage in these activities throughout the week. People can communicate prayer requests and share life together. It provides an opportunity for the community to grow together online."

Jeremy Taylor, Black Rock Community Church

 

e360 ChMS

Site: https://www.ekklesia360.com/e360-chms/
Blog: https://www.ekklesia360.com/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ekklesia360/

We’ve made it easy for you to integrate management software into your day-to-day church routine. You’ll wonder how you ever got by without it! We provide all the insights and information you need to help your church or ministry reach its full potential, right at your fingertips. e360 ChMS lets you link people into families, groups, ages, lifestage, location, etc. You can contact everyone or any smaller segment. You can track your Small Group attendance or your Youth events, log volunteer training, and notice donation trends.

Plus, you can manage everything on the go with our mobile app. The ChMS is ready to use on any device, from your desktop computer to your smartphone.

Features Ekklesia 360 users like:whats-the-best-church-management-software-e360-giving.png

  

Fellowship One (F1)

Site: http://www.fellowshipone.com/
Blog: http://www.fellowshipone.com/blog/product/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FellowshipOne

Fellowship One, web-based church management software, helps dynamic churches of any size or denomination become more effective in ministry, more efficient in administration, with the essential information to make decisions. Fellowship One provides a unique 360-degree, single view of the family including individuals, their involvement and their needs so the church can personalize their care. Ministries ranging from new church plants to large, multisite churches use Fellowship One.

A1

Features Ekklesia 360 users like:

  • Login on the front of their site
  • Small group finder
  • ServiceU
  • Request a room at the church
  • Volunteering coordination module

 

“We’ve been using Fellowship One since late 2009. It is pivotal for our church in several ways. Through Fellowship One our covenant members and attendees can register for events, join volunteer teams, update contact info and give online, Also, through Fellowship One our staff members can receive and follow-up on pastoral care notes for our covenant members and attendees, record and monitor check-in attendance for our Next Gen ministries, keep up to date on our volunteers teams, groups, events, etc. Overall, it helps us care for our church.”

Brian Vinson, The Village Church 

 

Church Community Builder  (CCB)

Site: http://www.churchcommunitybuilder.com/
Blog: http://www.churchcommunitybuilder.com/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccbchurch

Church Community Builder exists to help the church be more successful by providing powerful tools to church leaders. Our software has the features you need to not only manage ministry tasks, but also shepherd people. By compiling information to give a comprehensive view of your people, our software helps you ensure that no one falls through the cracks. Our features include check-in, contribution management and online giving, forms, volunteer management, guest follow-up, dashboards, and much more.

CCB

 

Features Ekklesia 360 users like:

  • Forms
  • Workflows for Internal Communications
  • Database Integration
  • Integrated Calendars
  • Streamlined Church Communications

“We chose CCB for its all-in-one package - database, forms, scheduling and more. CCB continually updates with new features, and being able to integrate our calendar with our website has simplified our scheduling process and streamlined communication. When we talked with other churches, many were moving away from other leading software after having to obtain multiple subscriptions for their needs. CCB is all-in-one!”

Ginger Larson-Hall, Calvary State College

 

Something to keep in mind: Integration

Churches miss huge opportunities when they manage two, three or even four or more different sets of data. Keeping online giving records and member participation data separate from your chosen church management software database creates a missed opportunity and unnecessary work for your staff.

TIP: Even the top solutions may only cover 80 percent of your needs. Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate how well they "play" with the other systems you currently use or may use in the future. Evaluate how the ChMS integrates or exchanges data from its built-in membership system with other technologies like Constant Contact, PayPal, Giving Kiosk and your church website content management system)

 

So, what's your church to do?

At the end of the day, church management systems are intended to help your ministry flourish and make your life as a pastor or church communicator easier. It is about supporting you in the different ways that you minister to people every day of the week. These technology choices should support the gathering of people around a specific mission and purpose. It should exist to make your life easier while building a strong community.

 

Next Steps

If you're still looking out for and thinking about your next ChMS but are afraid you might forget about some key necessities, download our eBook Nine Questions to Ask As You Consider a ChMSNine Questions to Ask As You Consider a ChMSIt goes into detailed stories about what would happen when your ChMS needs to come to the rescue! Click below.

download our ebook nine questions to ask when you consider a church management system

Topics: Strategy, e360 ChMS

   
 

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