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:
- • Preaching the gospel faithfully to those who do and don’t already know Jesus
- • Engaging and discipling the local body of believers
- • 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 Software That Thinks Like a Church
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
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.
More than a ChMS
The 4 Main Functions of an Integrated Ministry Platform
Connect people to your church from the first time they interact with your church, whether it’s a website visit, invitation to a small group, or their first Sunday at your church.
Organize your data on people, families, content, and resources so you can care for the people and possessions God has given you to steward.
Equip your church for spiritual growth with curriculum, Bible study resources, ebooks, and faith- and family-friendly videos.
Engage your congregation during the service and all week long through giving, service, your church mobile app, and text messaging.
What Should an Integrated Ministry Platform Include?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Schedule a custom demo of Faithlife’s integrated ministry platform today!Schedule a demo
Bonus Church Management Resources
The Complete Guide to Church Visitors
Churches are notoriously bad at welcoming first-time visitors. Here are some tips to help.Download
Digital Discipleship: 6 Steps for Churches
Can technology really help with the Great Commission? Yes! Learn how in this free guide.Download
Church Growth Strategy
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.
Helpful Articles for Church Leaders
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Keep Everyone “in-the-Know” with These Church Communication Tools
The Easy Way to Unscramble Your Church Communications [Video]
5 Church Health Vital Signs to Check Now
Why Start a Church Group Reading Plan? 4 Good Reasons
Discipling Families Isn’t Optional: 4 Pillars of Church Family Ministry
How Good Church Administration Is Like Farming
4 Quick Wins for Online Church Discipleship
Mobile on a Mission: How Church Apps Make Discipleship Portable
More Than a ChMS: Why Your Church Needs an Integrated Ministry Platform