[CS-FSLUG] Church Management Software

Tim Young Tim.Young at LightSys.org
Fri Mar 28 09:11:11 CDT 2008

I have refrained from speaking up too much about this topic.  First of 
all, let me say that I think it is a very good project, lest my other 
comments lead you to think otherwise...  :)

I am involved in building a similar project for mission organizations, 
"Kardia" (kardia.sf.net).  The web-site is woefully out of date.  But 
suffice it to say that we are hoping to have our first usable version 
out in a few months.  Kardia is focused entirely on missions, and would 
take a lot of work to get it to function for a church.

While I do not know which priorities you should take, I would like to 
mention that "payroll/tax" is a HUGE item.  The finances in general are 
a bit rough.  Every church will have it's own chart of accounts and own 
accounting practices.  Building a financial package that works for a 
large group of churches will be very difficult.  We are doing this in 
Kardia for missions, and it is a massive undertaking.  Most software out 
there for missions, even the $300,000 versions, does not contain payroll 
as a part of it.  A few had it in it, but they dropped it because of the 

My recommendation is that you look at your question of which modules to 
start with on two fronts.  Yes, look for the highest impact items you 
can find, but balance that out with items that can be done in a timely 

I think that, with a little bit of work, you could find a way to 
export/import to quickbooks, kMyMoney, or some other financial 
management software.  While this would not be the long-term solution, it 
may give you a good jump-start.  If financials are one of the things you 
want to start with, tying it in with another program at the beginning 
may get you a fair bit farther in the beginning.

The other thing I would like to mention, is that, if you can use one of 
the many multi-lingual code design systems, that may help as well.  What 
you are making will be very helpful for churches here in the States, but 
it will be equally as useful overseas.  If it is easy to build 
translations, then you will have increased your audience by a huge 
margin.  So I would like to encourage you to look into that.

So, with those comments, let me re-ask Robert's question:  Which of the 
following will make the biggest impact on churches in your initial 
target audience.
> * Track donations
> * Track attendance
> * Promotional mailings
> * Worship service scheduling (bulletins, announcements, others?)
> * Worship service execution (slides, recordings)
> * Manage ministry/administrative teams
> * Time tracking for employees
> * Pay bills
> * Payroll, taxes, and other accounting goodies
> * Membership roll
> * Mailing list
- Tim Young

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