Pastors and church leaders have their hands full when it comes to overseeing their congregation – they are directly responsible for the spiritual health of tens if not hundreds of members. Add to this responsibility the logistics of maintaining member records and information, and church leaders quickly find themselves overwhelmed. But thanks to a spate of church management software, the numerous responsibilities of leaders are being somewhat alleviated.
With so many new products on the market for managing every facet of church – from finances to youth groups to bible reading charts – the question arises of whether this software has any actual merit. As more and more congregations begin testing this software, a clearer picture will arise of how well this new technology can be utilized.
One of the first software suites available for churches was Pastor’s Helpmate, first produced in 1997. Since that time, the suite has been renamed Church Helpmate. The project was inspired when the associate pastor at the church the Helpmate Technology Solutions president attends asked him to build new software. According to the pastor, the church had been using commercial church management software but ran into some real headaches and limitations with it. So inspired with the vision of creating better church management software, the Church Helpmate suite was born.
What processes are so time consuming that database technology is needed to expedite it? As the size of congregations increase, so does the time of keeping records for its members – of knowing individual’s birthdays and other information. According to one Church Helpmate software user from Louisiana, “We could do what CH does with file cabinets, but it would take us days to do what CH does in seconds.”
When a church needs to send a newsletter or email to its members, rather than fiddling with various databases – in excel and Microsoft access – they are able to organize everything from one central database. It is the power to perform simple but time consuming tasks, like generating 4,000 mailing labels, that makes church management software so attractive.
The member database features are central to any church management software, but there are other features included also necessary to running a church. Financial software, attendance tracking, reminder scheduling, spiritual growth reporting are all parts of the Church Helpmate software. With all of these features, this software insists that ministers who use it will spend more time for ministering and less time administrating.
To what degree church management software can help a congregation depends on various factors. The size of the congregation and the existing management systems are two variables that may determine the potential utility of such new software. However, with the sheer amount of features offered in every new generation of software, there is at least something for everybody to streamline church operations.