What is it and how does it work?

Software That Thinks Like a Church

If you’re reading this page, you probably work for a church. And if you’ve been working for a church for any prolonged amount of time, it’s likely you’ve experienced the pain of piecing together lots of different technology solutions to help manage the everyday work of running a church.

While it’s true there are many great church software solutions out there filling specific gaps, most churches are still using a hodgepodge of platforms that may or may not have been built for churches and that certainly don’t play nicely with one another. In addition to keeping track of multiple logins and passwords, church staffers are often doing duplicate—even quadruple—the admin work they should. And ultimately, it’s the congregation and greater community that suffers the most because more admin work pretty much guarantees less time for ministry.

Fundamentally, the churches we work with talk about three very specific goals:

  1. • Preaching the gospel faithfully to those who do and don’t already know Jesus
  2. • Engaging and discipling the local body of believers
  3. • Equipping those believers to reach more people for Christ

These may sound like simple goals, and that’s because they are. They’re very basic and foundational to churches all over the world. However, this isn’t easy work, and you (of all people) know it.

The reality is the Church has been doing this work long before modern technology ever existed. So, no, the gospel doesn’t need church software to be effective. But if a church wants to learn how to do this work at scale (that is, discipling many people at once), technology can help—specifically if it’s technology that actually “thinks like a church.”

5 Essentials for an Integrated Ministry Platform

1. Scripture

The three goals listed above should be the heart and soul of your platform. All three goals are centered on Scripture, so Scripture needs to be at the center of everything. It should never be an afterthought, yet so much of modern church tech is built in silos. An integrated ministry platform tears down the silos that keep church administrative work detached from ministry work by eliminating the need for additional sermon prep tools or email tools or community groups.

Everything a church needs for digital administration and ministry work is all housed under one roof (from sermon prep to website maintenance to small group meetings), making it easy to move from one task to another seamlessly—all while keeping the “why” front and center.

2. Online Community

Your online community must be fully integrated into everything because that’s how you will engage and disciple your people throughout the week. The easier it is to intentionally stay in communication, the more likely you are to stay on track with discipleship. Your online community should have built-in access to online groups, group and video chat, and even an app—all incredibly helpful tools for building community in a post-COVID world.

3. Content

Theologically rich, digitally available content must be easily accessible and shareable across this community platform, so people can meet and communicate about what they’re reading, watching, or listening to seamlessly—particularly when they can’t gather in person. This includes discipleship-ready content, small group curriculum, and even simple Bible reading plans that can be done in community or individually.

4. Integration

The software should “just work,” so you don’t spend time fiddling with integrations, building multiple calendar invites on different platforms, or doing any task twice. Here’s some simple examples of how tasks work seamlessly for each member of your team in an integrated ministry platform:

Pastors can easily organize their sermon notes into beautifully designed slides at the same time they’re preparing their message. And they can easily push those slides into the presentation software.

The worship leader can collaborate in real time with his team and add and organize their slides around the pastor’s slides.

The communications director can add in any extra announcements and set the program to start and stop recording the slides and audio at particular markers in the service.

The technology team can easily integrate those slides with the live stream Sunday morning, pushing that broadcast out to social media, the website, and the church’s TV channel all at the same time—all while supporting in-person slides as well.

The church administrator can easily add the recording to the sermon archive, website, group, newsletter, or more. Or turn it into a podcast!

The congregation will be able to give, chat, fill out a connect card, and participate in worship no matter where they are physically, and they’ll be able to relisten to the sermon on a morning run, follow up on announcements and events in the app, or even chime in to conversation about it later in their online group.

5. Administration

The pastor or church admin can keep track of everything in one place from people records to church giving to website maintenance to communications. It’s all there in one platform with only one login.

More than a ChMS

An integrated ministry platform isn’t just a glorified ChMS. Fundamentally, church management systems are more focused on management than they are ministry. But that’s wrongheaded and antithetical to the kind of work the Church is called to do. Churches are called to be in the ministry business, and that’s ultimately why an integrated ministry platform is so critical. An integrated ministry platform helps churches keep the main thing the main thing.

The 4 Main Functions of an Integrated Ministry Platform

We’re breaking down the dichotomy between the tools used to run the church and the separate section where churches do Christian education to serve the whole Church and help the whole Church grow in the light of the Bible.
—Bob Pritchett, Faithlife CEO

What Should an Integrated Ministry Platform Include?

Below you’ll find the core tools and technology that should be included in an integrated ministry platform. Note: Just as important as all the tools is their seamless integration with one another. Don’t be duped by fragmented or siloed church tech. Real integration should be seamless and require only one login for everything.

  • ChMS

    Without people, you wouldn’t have anyone to minister to. Church management software is important for keeping track of all the people in your church and remembering special milestones, conversations, and ministry opportunities. This tool should include things like a digital and printable member directory, customizable data fields, integrated forms, check-in and attendance tracking, communication preferences, resource management, reporting, exportables, and more.

    Learn more

  • Communication tools

    Every good ministry platform should have a pile of communication tools for the church to use: from email, to SMS, to newsletters, to social media publishing, to your church app, an integrated ministry platform should have everything you need to engage your church digitally.

    Learn more

  • Online community

    It’s critical to have a place for people to connect online. Even better if it’s built for the specific needs of the church with a place to share prayer requests, discuss the sermon or other tough topics, and share announcements and praise reports to the whole church or a smaller group. Bonus points for a built-in messenger and video chat functionality.

    Learn more

  • Mobile giving

    Before the pandemic, most people had stopped carrying cash and checks. But in a post-COVID world, it’s more important than ever for churches to have a digital way to give one-time and recurring gifts. Even better if the giving platform has built-in stewardship resources and a way to calculate giving based on percent of income.

    Learn more

  • Church website

    Not having a website today is like not being in the Yellow Pages years ago. It’s a must for being found online. But it doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. A good church website platform will integrate with everything else you’re already doing, so updating it should be as simple as clicking a button.

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  • Bible study software

    Remember what we said earlier about eliminating the barrier between admin work and discipleship work? Having Bible study software that integrates with all of your other software is a great way to start. Whether you’re a pastor preparing a sermon, a lay leader working on small group prep, or a church staffer leading a group through a reading plan online, there’s no question having Bible study software built into your integrated ministry platform will help keep everyone closer to the Word.

    Learn more

  • Presentation software

    Before the pandemic there were screen churches and non-screen churches. However, in an effort to keep the germs at bay, many traditional churches are now embracing presentation software, too. With a built-in CCLI integration and beautiful media, creating professional slides is simple and fast. And you can even get those notes up on the screen for the churches that love to sing in parts.

    Learn more

  • Live streaming

    Live streaming is another tool that took off in popularity due to the pandemic. If you’re hosting in-person services and live streaming or if you’re still just live streaming, it’s helpful to have a platform that plays nicely with all of your other software. On top of that, having a way to share a digital connection card, digital bulletin, and a giving link in the service along with a chat and prayer request area is a great way to help those far away still feel very connected.

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  • Sermon storage

    Store your sermons, visuals, transcripts, and more all in one convenient place. Easily share that sermon out to your website, group, or newsletter. Or turn it into a podcast. Add convenient tagging, a beautiful cover image, and more. Plus, you can even perfect your craft using sermon tone analysis.

    Learn more

  • Stock media

    Tired of your church’s visual elements being a free-for-all? With an integrated ministry platform, you can easily guide the look and feel across every platform using a beautiful, built-in media library with images designed specifically for churches.

    Learn more

  • Digital asset manager

    Have other files you want to share across your organization? You shouldn’t need a separate storage platform. It should just be baked into your integrated ministry platform. Faithlife's media storage is easy to manage with tags and filters.

    Learn more

  • Discipleship essentials

    While having built-in Bible study is a game changer in and of itself, it’s also important to have supplemental materials available for small group and other personal and group study. That’s why an integrated ministry platform should also connect with digital books, audiobooks, and video courses. Curating these resources for your church members is an excellent way to continue the discipleship process and to foster more independent learning over time.

    Learn more

Schedule a custom demo of Faithlife’s integrated ministry platform today!

Schedule a demo

Related Pages

Biblical Literacy

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Christian Leadership

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Church Management

With so much data to keep up with, it’s vital to have a church management system (ChMS) that is fully integrated into everything else you’re doing. Do you have access to your people data across all of your various platforms? Or are you living an importing and exporting nightmare?

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Church Growth Strategy

If your church fell off the map tomorrow, would anyone notice? You’ve read a lot about the integrated ministry platform today, but having the right software isn’t enough. You have to have a strategy and know how to use it. If you want to grow your church but aren’t interested in gimmicks or tricks, you’ll want to dig into this page a bit.

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Sermon Lifecycle

What does the lifecycle of your sermons look like? And how do you extend their reach well beyond Sunday morning? Learn how an integrated ministry platform changes the game completely when it comes to sermon preparation and amplification.

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We’re building something that has all the power and innovation you see in modern business technology but is completely focused on serving the Church.
—Bob Pritchett, Faithlife CEO


Running a church isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s hard work. And chances are, you didn’t go to seminary to live in spreadsheets or spend hours in front of a keyboard. You got into ministry to see hearts and lives changed by the gospel.

Good church tech should help you do just that. It should make your life easier, not harder.

If you’re spinning your wheels or dedicating way too much time to administrative work, it’s time to reassess your church tech stack. Spend some time in the links below, download some of the guides above, and figure out whether the technology you’re using is really working for you—or whether you’re working for it. And when you’re ready, scroll down to the bottom of this page to book a custom demo with one of our platform experts to learn how Faithlife’s integrated ministry platform can help your church.

Schedule a custom demo of Faithlife’s integrated ministry platform today!

Schedule a demo