The First Decision

I have been asked to write about our choice to switch and implement a new church management software.

It’s the reason I’ve taken some time off from this blog. I wanted to do some planning and organization. I want to be sure that I’m not throwing anyone or any software company under the bus. There were some tough decisions. I’m not even convinced they were all right, but they were (and) are best for the current situation.

I’ll start with the first decision.

When I started working at Fairview Baptist Church (9.26.16 to be exact), we were using a Church Management Software that seemed disconnected. When I executed a command to publish something to the public calendar, it didn’t show up on our public calendar. In hindsight, no one knew how to integrate these. The attendance and check-in systems weren’t overall integrated with the financial system which resulted in some people being entered into the system twice. Again, in hindsight, it would appear that no one knew how to solve this problem. The biggest issue I had was in running custom data reports. When I tried to save them, it came with a warning that if it wasn’t saved in exactly the right place – including typing the letter of the drive and all of the backslashes and semi-colons, that it would be stored on the server and inaccessible.  I’m sort of a cloud-person. I love creating, running, and re-running custom reports. Inaccessible data isn’t in my vocabulary. Besides, if it’s inaccessible, what good does it do us?

The end-user interface wasn’t there either. It was an office productivity tool only.

So my first task was to investigate new software programs. And I did: Fellowship One, Elexio, Breeze, Church Community Builder (CCB), Planning Center, Rock, and The City. There were a few others. Those I just mentioned made my short list. I signed up for demos and my bosses and I had some fun playing with the different features.

I talked to my bosses about what they disliked about the current software, where they thought processes could be improved, and how a new software could help with that. I talked to a few leaders in the church – asking them the same questions. Where they felt current processes could be improved and how a new software could help.

Based on their answers, I narrowed it down to one software, however, the cost for that software was greater than our budget would allow so I broke down a few areas and refocused. Rather than only think long-term, I thought about the immediate need. What will solve these problems right now. In the end we went with Breeze Church Management Software. I know that eventually our Church will outgrow this software. We will reach a point where we need more features than it gives. We’re already seeing that in some respects.

Breeze Church Management Software is an excellent software. It helps with office productivity, but provides a good end-user interface as a church directory. I’m impressed with their app, I’m also impressed with their ‘follow-ups’ feature. Their customer service some of the best I’ve experienced.

Overall, I’d say Breeze would be in my top three of the Church Management Software category. It’s got a lot of outstanding features. It’s got a good price and excellent customer service and support.

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