Frequently Asked Questions
Can Arena work with other applications, like Constant Contact?
Yes. Arena offers API integrations and the ability to export files to work such applications.
Can church staff and church members access their own records, remotely?
Yes. Arena offers the ability for staff and members to access their records, either from a computer or a smart phone.
Can I track Missions in Arena?
Yes. Arena includes a specific module for Missions where you can track who is registered and how much money has been donated.
Can Arena run on a virtual server environment?
Yes. For Shelby v.5 clients, Arena will run on the same server as Shelby v5.
What are the staffing needs of Arena Administrators?
Having someone on staff that is knowledgeable of SQL provides the church with the opportunity for additional customization and flexibility with reporting.
How long does it take to implement Arena?
Implementation time varies, based on church needs and available resources. Many churches elect a phased approach, implementing core features first. It is strongly recommended to have a plan in place that addresses all areas of impact.
Do I need a DBA (Database Administrator)?
While Arena doesn't require a DBA, successful Arena churches do have a dedicated staff member who is responsible for the overall implementation of Arena, as well as hands-on responsibility of the application for the church.
What is the involvement of the IT church staff?
Initially, the IT staff will be involved with the setup and installation of Arena.
We have a two user license. Does this mean that we can only have two users that can log into the system?
No, if you have a two user license this only means that two people can be logged into the system at once, you can have as many users as you want.
How customizable is Arena?
You have the ability to customize screen layouts, user level security rights, field names, templates and webpages or join the Developer Community and enjoy an even higher level of customization.
How secure is my data?
The data resides on your servers so you have the ultimate determination of who can access any data. You are able to set user security levels according to roles within your church staff down to the individual user.
What platform does it run on?
Microsoft platform, 4.0 .NET framework®, SQL2008®
How does it integrate to my website?
Arena actually authors your website, therefore your website and ministry software are one in the same. You have the ability to add graphics, text, hyperlinks and beginning/ ending dates for all items, insuring timely and professional web content and promotional items. Arena supports multiple websites and even sub-domains, so all your websites are connected and easy to manage. Already have a website? Don't worry, Arena will coexist with your current site.
How in-depth is the training?
Arena is very intuitive to use. A consultant will personally assist you in the setup, installation and user or administrative training. Ongoing professional training services are also available for all levels of users and administrators. Additionally, we have an extensive collection of online videos to assist with your training needs.
Can we build our own business rules into the program?
Yes! Arena was created with immense flexibility to ensure conformity to your ministry style as well as your organizational policies and business procedures.
How can I extend its capabilities?
As an Arena client you are a valued member of a shared-source project. You also have access to other Arena developers, providing opportunity to create individuality. Create applications for your church and share them with other Arena users.
What is the reporting like?
Users can create their own reports using a simple, yet extensive report wizard. There are numerous existing reports and unlimited sorting and filtering options. Customized reporting can be created, published, and posted for all users to run on-demand or auto-generated on your schedule. Reporting is processed using Microsoft's Reporting Services, a leader in reporting tools.
How does it support small groups?
Arena allows you to create, track and communicate with any group. Leaders can view, add new members and update their groups' information, demographics and attendance. Potential group members can sign up for small groups according to their group preferences. After an approval process (that you govern), applicants are automatically added to the appropriate small group. Email communication between the prospective member, small group leader and church administrators are automatically generated and monitored for timely response.
Does it support children’s check-in?
Yes! Registration of groups, check-in and check-out can be performed with Arena. Attendance is tracked in real time with Check-In or R.O.A.R. (Rapid On-line Automated Registration). You can customize the look of each kiosk for a 'wow' experience. Check-out is controlled by your predetermined systems and security preferences & ensuring best practices for child safety.
Does Arena integrate with Shelby?
Yes, Arena co-exists with the Shelby v.5 database and can automatically update common fields. Changes in Arena can be set up to be automatically reflected in Shelby v.5. All of this is done behind the scenes without the need for user interaction.
What is the difference between Arena Select and Arena Premium?
Arena Premium contains a few areas which are not included in Arena Select. Assignments, Web Publishing and the ability to add Community-created modules are the most substantial areas. See the Compare section for further details.
Shelby Church / Financials
Can Shelby v.5 be loaded on an Apple?
No, but the use of terminal services or a Windows emulator will allow the use of Shelby in the Apple/Mac environment. The only supported method is through Remote Desktop Services (RDS).
How do I assign due dates automatically in Accounts Payable?
In Accounts Payable, use the Recurring Payment utility.
What is CAST?
CAST (or Certified Associate Shelby Trainer) is a program where an organization can work together with Shelby Systems to develop a staff member as the internal trainer and resource person for all things relating to Shelby v.5. This person blends the culture, the needs, and the expectations of their ministry or organization with a heightened knowledge of Shelby software. The CAST member is chosen by his or her organization, personally trained on-site by one of our Shelby Consultants, and given access to thousands of dollars worth of training resources to facilitate the growth of his or her skills and knowledge for this responsibility. A few of the benefits included in this program during the subscription period are: free access to all of our regional workshops, free personal access to all our On-Demand training webinars, free personal access to the courses in the Shelby Institute, and free access to International Shelby Conference, our premier event, when you bring along another paying staff member.
How often should we back up our database?
This is a very good question. Most organizations back up their data each day that they might potentially make changes. For most organizations this would be each weekday. You would be well advised to create a scheduled backup using the Shelby SQL Backup-Restore Utility. (You can find more about making a scheduled backup in a community posting by clicking here)
Can we export Shelby information into Excel?
Yes, you can export data from Shelby into Excel or any spreadsheet program accepting CSV files via several avenues. Any report that comes to the screen can be saved as a comma separated value (CSV) file which in most computers is automatically associated with Excel. You can use either the Formatted or Word Processing Interface reports in Selections and Listings and save those as a file with a CSV extension. You can tap CTRL+P on most of the grids or active lists you see on the screen (such as the Account Structure screen in General Ledger or the list to browse names in GlobaFILE). This will give you the option to print the list or open the list in Excel.
How many profiles can I have in Shelby?
The short answer to this question is you will have the ability to create more than you will ever need. Calculating the total by using the eight digits offered for a profile code and multiplied by the more than thirty-six possible characters available for each digit the total goes way beyond four trillion combinations. (Profile combinations> 4,000,000,000,000)
Who can train us in our Shelby software?
Currently, the only training that Shelby Systems has authorized is offered by either our staff trainers or by one of our contract trainers. We have contract trainers who have qualified at three different certification levels: Certified Trainers, Master Trainers, and Shelby Consultants. These trainers are located in several areas of the country to provide convenience and savings for our customers. For more about our training levels, check out our page covering On-Site Training. If you would like to secure a trainer, you can contact us by calling 800-654-1605 or by email at .
How do I print contribution receipts?
Go to the Contributions module and under "Reports" choose "Statements".
How do I update one person's attendance history?
Attendance is updated in the Attendance module by using the Clear/Change Attendance utility.
How do I send an email to the parents of selected children?
Select the children in Selections and Listings and choose the Group E-mail & SMTP (All) report.
If you have any questions that you think would be helpful for other Shelby users, please contact us at