The Quest

Church Management Software Chosen!

A while back, I posted an entry concerning church management software. At that point, our church was trying to decide between three different options. My associate was doing the legwork of research, and he gave a brief synopsis of each program. After weighing all the pros and cons, we finally landed on our choice.

Drumroll. . . . We chose to go with The City, by Zondervan. The City is an online-based church management software that focuses strongly on the organization and coordination of groups within your church. Someone once described it as “Jesus Facebook,” as its format strongly resembles Facebook. The cost is a yearly fee based upon your number of potential users. I would encourage you check out The City. Here are some ways The City has benefited our church ministry.

1. Group organization—Our adoption of The City took place around the same time as our new small group ministry. This was a huge blessing and allowed us to quickly organize and communicate with each group. When we set up The City, we created as many groups as possible: deacons’ group, nursery workers’ group, ladies’ ministry group, youth group parents’ group, etc. After the invitations have been accepted, the leader can communicate with the whole group simultaneously. The leader types a message on the discussion board, and The City sends it out to everybody’s e-mail. A leader never has to worry about having updated e-mail addresses, because the users keep their own information current.

2. Church directory—This program will take the place of a standard church directory. When people join The City, they are prompted to create a profile and to upload a picture. Also, they enter vital information like phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, and other family members. The directory never goes out of date because the users update their own information. Additionally, folks who are new to the church join The City and are immediately a part of the directory.

3. Event planning—Within each group is an event planning tool. The event organizer names the event, enters the time and address of the event, and lists things for people to bring. The invitation is sent to all those in the group. When group members receive the invitation, they mark whether they will attend or not, and they mark what they are going to bring. That information is posted back on the event’s main page, and it automatically keeps a tally of attendees, as well as manages the list of things to bring. People in our church have enjoyed using these features.

4. Discussion board—This has been especially helpful in working with our deacons. I will post a discussion topic, and when the guys reply, the reply is posted on the discussion board page with all of the responses in the order of when they were posted. This is far better than discussing something over e-mail using “reply all”; I have found those e-mail discussions difficult and confusing. The City has enhanced our monthly meetings, because in many cases we have already covered some ground in discussing topics on The City.

5. Posting from e-mail—When something is posted in a group, a notification is sent to the user’s e-mail address. In order to respond, the user does not have to log on to The City. The user can hit “reply” from his or her e-mail, and the message will automatically be posted in the appropriate spot on The City.

6. Talent stewardship—As users build their profiles, they are asked to “update their skills.” The City includes a list of various talents and areas of service within the church. People simply mark the appropriate boxes. Church leaders or group leaders can search for people by skills. As an example, when we were interested in finding people who wanted to be greeters, we went to The City and searched for people under the heading “Greeters.” The site brought up 24 people who had marked the box to be a greeter. I typed a message in a little box below the list, and The City sent out the message to all of those people. I asked them to respond so we could improve our greeting ministry.

The potential uses of The City are unlimited. We have found great success in using the program, and we anticipate that its usefulness will only increase. If you are looking for good church management software, I encourage you to consider The City.

3 Responses to “Church Management Software Chosen!”

  1. Mike,

    I am glad you are having a positive experience with The City. I was strongly interested but was having difficulty in getting information (I was making a decision while they were rolling The City out to the public and they were overwhelmed).

    Our church plant settled on Church Community Builder. We use it similarly but also use it as a tool to help coordinate follow up efforts with community contacts. I also have started using the comment ability to interact about applications from the sermon. Last week I issued a challenge to our group to publicly thank God for one of His attributes each day this week. It has been spiritually encouraging to read the responses. It has definitely helped prepare me for Thanksgiving in a God focused way.

    We also use CCB to receipt people for their gifts to the church. They can print out giving statements any time they wish.

  2. Adam J. Miller says:

    This is pretty neat. I just wish the members of my church were computer savvy. Unfortunately they aren’t even on Facebook. I’m in upstate NY and a lot of them don’t even have high-speed internet. If the day ever comes where it would benefit the body, I’d totally jump on board here. Right now I’m just trying to get my Church to update their efforts in evangelism.

  3. Brian Luke says:

    hey there Mike – just came across your reply on this post. Just had to say I’m sorry we didn’t get you what you needed in time to make a decision to use The City. Our loss!!

    Yip, we hit the ground pretty hard last year. The City has been in production for over 2yrs, but we only started spinning it up as a commercial division within Zondervan during 2009. God has truly blessed the vision given for this web service and we just feel honored to be a part of it.

    I hope we can help your church at some point in the future.

    Grace & peace!
    Brian Luke
    chief marketing dude @thecity

  4. James MacArthur says:

    Absolutely right, I do agree with your post. By the way I work for church. We use web based church management software of Congregation Builder. It’s easy to enter data, and print reports. Church Web Calendar is really good application by this we can manage the events for church & lots more options available.

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