Church software is the future of pastoral professionalism.
Novices will continue to rely heavily on pen and paper.
Amateurs will continue to jury rig organizational efficiency, effectiveness, and professionalism by cobbling together GSuite, PayPal, and a host of other monthly subscription services that weren’t optimized for churches.
Here’s the hard truth:
In an emerging market of software services, churches that don’t use church software such as church management software, event registration software, giving software, and a church app already are already late adopters.
Here’s the good news:
Church software is finally in a phase of technological maturity where it’s actually really good.
Most pastors think that with new church software comes new problems.
Many pastors think that using church software will require them to become tech gurus.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Good church software gives you the best of both worlds—it actually simplifies all of the complicated analog systems that go into managing a church and it increases your effectiveness.
In this article, we’re going to break down the 9 pieces of church software you should have, and why that number (9) shouldn’t scare you at all.
Let’s jump right into it.
1. Church Management Software (ChMS)
Church management software enables your church to see every piece of member data that makes up your church.
This supplies two possibilities—(1) to see the big picture, and (2) to see the granular details.
For example, if you use a ChMS like Tithe.ly ChMS, you can track new visitors, member attendance, member giving, leadership management, financial statements, service planning, internal communication, advanced analytics, and data sharing, all within a highly intuitive and professional workspace.
Imagine having a website dashboard for your church that gave you every single detail, and allowed you to look at those details in beautiful big-picture configurations that made sense.
Think of having a ChMS like having an on-call doctor monitoring your health. You would know every detail so that if something goes wrong, or there is a possibility for growth and improvement, you could spot it, turn it into an opportunity, fix any problems, and course-correct for any mistakes in real-time.
The real question is this: If you don’t have a ChMS … how do you know what’s going on in your church?
Are you reading tea leaves?
If you don’t have ChMS, you are missing critical data. Neglecting to use a ChMS at your church is like neglecting to go to the doctor.
If you use Microsoft or Google to store data, to get the same thing as a ChMS, not only would you have to manually collect and enter every piece of data every single Sunday—you would have to spend so much time analyzing it that your church would have to hire an entire team of data scientists to understand it and report it.
At Tithe.ly, our philosophy is that we will give you the technology and tools to collect and understand the information that best indicates the health, trends, and potential blind spots in your church.
But there’s a more important reason to have a ChMS:
It’s the first building block of any other piece of technology.
Your ChMS is the hub through which you can make possible the launch and management of any other church software.
Without it, any other piece of church software is far less efficient.
2. Church Event Registration Software
If you don’t have event registration software, then your current event strategy is akin to throwing a penny in a wishing well and hoping people show up.
Event registration software enables you to create kiosk sign-ups (with any browser), online sign-ups, registration payment, sign-up tracking, discount codes, ticket scanning, tiers of participation, and marketing management.
With event registration software, you can automate and digitally optimize your entire event experience from messaging to boots-on-the-ground execution.
Church event management software basically gives your church leadership team the ability to be your own TicketMaster.
Again—without it, you’re basically betting on the belief that your church isn’t going to grow.
The more you grow, the more necessary is church event registration software.
By neglecting to use church event registration software, you are kneecapping your church’s capacity to grow by at least 65%, depending on your size.
3. Church Giving Software
Church giving software is the beating heart of high-return church software.
Without church giving software, your church basically uses a casino model of cash collection—a guy with a transparent green visor and a cigarette counting cash in the back room.
Well … maybe he doesn’t have the visor or the cigarette (depending on your denomination).
But the cash tracking method is the same.
All non-digital money collection methods are highly susceptible to fraud, theft, mismanagement, miscalculation, and high time wasting due to exponentially large analog tasks.
With church digital giving software such as Tithe.ly Giving, your church is able to centralize its donations in the ChMS and make it available through the church app (more below) so that tithing (and special single-time gifts) is as easy as buying a cup of coffee with the Starbucks app.
With church digital giving software, every dollar is automatically accounted for. Every donation receipt is automatically generated. Every payment can even be automatically scheduled for any iteration of time—monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, etc.
4. Church Website Platform
Your church website platform is critical.
If you use an inefficient system that forces you to compromise on design, or spend thousands of dollars on customization, then you are using the wrong platform.
Use a platform that streamlines user experience on the back end, easily integrates with your giving platform, looks fantastic, and is easily optimized to convert web visitors into first-time church visitors.
5. Church Website Optimization Software
Without church website optimization software, you might as well start a church blog and pray you get more than 10 visits … per month.
A great example of church website optimization software is Church Hero, which automatically pops up and creates a scheduled event that appears on the schedules of the new visitor and the designated pastoral staff, so that the church knows who’s visiting, how best to follow up, and what the best plan is to help convert that interested website browser into a dedicated and tithing member.
6. Church Worship Planning Software
If you use church worship planning software—which is native to Tithe.ly ChMS—you are saving yourself about 1 Billion gmail chains (not an exaggeration) made up of 90% time changes, cat memes, and song suggestions that no one wants to take.
Church worship planning software enables your team to update and automate their worship planning experience so that the entire team can see, practice, record, and collaborate for any service where worship is needed.
7. Church App
A church app is one of the most important pieces of church software on the market. Every single church needs one.
Pastors often think: “We have a website for that!”
Can your website send push notifications? Or are you sending out “last minute emails” to people with urgent information? Once churches get the Tithe.ly Church App, they never send “last minute emails” ever, ever again.
Can your website automatically be updated from your google calendar? The Tithe.ly Church App can.
Can people bring your website to church to take sermon notes that automatically generate a beautiful PDF they can export to email? The Tithe.ly Church App can do that.
There’s a common joke about tech going around. When someone expresses a need, someone else is supposed to say: “There’s an app for that.”
“I broke my foot and can’t get up. I have no food in the house and I’m starving.” There’s an app for that.
“Ugh. I forgot to feed my dog, and I won’t be home until late tonight.” There’s literally an app for that.
“I want to see where crime is being reported in real time in my neighborhood.” App.
Now, think about your church. What problems do you face—big or small?
Write a list 100 items long—there’s an app for that. It’s called Tithe.ly Church App, and it is a custom church app that displays your church sermon feed and blog, looks better than any other church app, enables church notes, syncs with event registration, tithing, and ChMS, and even stores a dynamically updated church calendar, including individual user accounts for every member.
8. Text Marketing for Churches
Text marketing is very important for your church to adopt.
This is a newer piece of technology, but it will inevitably replace much of needless email communication.
It’s just a fact.
Text marketing must be used delicately, because people are sensitive to receiving texts they don’t want to receive.
But people are increasingly used to being texted by businesses and apps.
“Your car is ready for pickup.”
“Reply Y to confirm your appointment.”
“The date has changed from X to Y.”
Churches need to adopt this form of direct, opt-in, short-form communication to keep the right groups of people up to date on the latest information relevant to themselves and their families.
It’s simple for churches to add text marketing to their communication strategies, as long as they’re using the right technology.
The ultimate form of church software is the one that integrates all of these technologies into a single-sign-in portal and allows you to manage your entire church technology program like Tony Stark.
The bad news:
There’s no church Iron Man suit (even though the youth pastor tried to buy one).
The good news?
This all-in-one, single-sign-on church software does exist with Tithe.ly.
If you go with Tithe.ly, you can ditch the life of stringing together 10 different subscription services to create a makeshift church technology plan.
That doesn’t work anymore.
Real pastoral professionals use these tools. And Tithe.ly offers them all in a single sign-on.
All of it.
… And you need it.
Over to you
Church software shouldn’t be intimidating.
Church software makes everything easier.
Church software replaces old, analog systems of management and communications with new, better systems.
The earlier you adopt an all-in-one church software solution, the better your church will be able to adapt for the next decade of ministry.