[CS-FSLUG] Church Management Software

Greg Slade grgaslists at rogers.com
Mon Mar 31 08:00:36 CDT 2008

Being reminded of that old church management package which was actually a set of dBase II templates also reminds me that it came in three different packages. They could be used individually, or else install all three, and they would interact with one another. 

The difference between the three databases was who needed to use them. It basically broke down to the pastor, the church secretary, and the church treasurer, because each would be dealing with information that the others didn't need to (and, in some cases, shouldn't) see.

If I remember correctly, the breakdown in functionality (out of the features suggested so far, and a few others I'm throwing in) would be something like this:


Manage ministry/administrative teams
Service planning (sermon series, Bible readings, responsive readings, hymns/choruses, special music, etc.)
Pastoral visitation (scheduling, notes)
Sermon preparation


Track attendance
Promotional mailings
Worship service scheduling (bulletins, announcements, others?)
Membership roll (and tracking missionaries)
Mailing list
Event tracking
Formatting and printing church directory


Track donations
Track support of missionaries
Time tracking for employees
Pay bills
Payroll, taxes, and other accounting goodies
Implied but not stated is membership roll and mailing list.

Not envisioned by early packages:

Worship service execution (slides, recordings)[1]

I should say that normally packages for small to medium churches offload all the accounting/financial functionality onto an existing third-party financial package, although some do things like add fund accounting capabilities (essential for even small churches, but not used by many businesses) to those packages through plug-ins or some other means. The one financial function which is absolutely essential, at least for certain countries, is automating the way that donations are receipted, because the IRS has specific rules which much be followed, and the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency has even more specific rules. (In addition, in the UK, there are rules for submitting claims for Gift Aid: there, instead of donors getting to deduct donations from their income tax, the government adds 30% to qualifying donations.)


[1] OpenSong works under Linux, although I'm currently having trouble connecting to the web site. In any case, I don't see any need to reinvent the wheel here.

Greg Slade
"A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells
us the truth about its author."                       - G. K. Chesterton

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