You always put so much thought and planning into popular summer church events like Vacation Bible School (VBS) and Bible camps, but can your best summer productions be even better? Absolutely! You can create next-level events this summer by thinking now about how to harness the power of Church Management Software (ChMS) and the features that can make your best summer events even more powerful. At Shelby Systems, we’ve been helping churches plan and launch outstanding events for 45+ years. Based on our experience, we can share with you five specific areas of ChMS that will help make highly-anticipated summer church events like VBS better than ever. The most essential features to think about include: Better Security through Background Checks Putting safety first makes sense—especially for events like VBS where parents trust you with their kids’ well-being. Implementing and maintaining a thorough background screening program for employees, staff and volunteers will give families peace of mind. Knowing your congregation is doing everything possible to keep kids safe from predators is important. Effective background checks are a complex process involving a vast number of information sources plus rigid legal requirements and security considerations. With so much at stake, this is a job for a credible, trusted background screening company. Shelby Systems partners with Protect My Ministry, because they’re experienced. They’ve run millions of volunteer checks over the past decade. They also provide the quickest, most proven church volunteer screening available on the market today. Engagement and Efficiency with Digital Forms Registering for big summer events like VBS should be simple for your church families. That’s where forms come in handy. Simple, easy to use online registration and payment forms will be the digital workhorses of your summer programs and your families and church staff will appreciate them. The best ChMS platforms will offer you a variety of customizable online giving and registration forms that let church families instantly sign up for events and pay any related fees. For kids’ programs, you can include space for families to list any allergies or special needs, name emergency contacts, and specify who is authorized to pick up their children from the event. And with integrated church management software (such as Shelby Systems), the information and payments received through the forms can be seamlessly incorporated with your other church software. It can even trigger communications like confirmation emails or event reminders. This is a great workflow tool that can streamline processes for your team in your church’s busiest seasons. Connections with a Church App Like never before, your church families are powered by apps. It’s how they do everything from grocery shopping to extracurricular activities. The sooner your church offers a thoughtfully-designed app that engages families, the more engagement you will see in your congregation and community. This is especially true for summer events like VBS. The integrated MinistryOne app is included with all Shelby Systems Church Management plans, and for VBS it offers online registration and payment and giving options (using the forms we just discussed), plus event reminders and day-of check-in functions. If you create your app now and implement it before the busy summer season, it can be tested and scaled for fall classes and events and the upcoming Christmas season. Plus, you can incorporate sermons, livestreaming, videos, prayer requests, group connections, and giving options that will build engagement with your active church families. Planning your app now will strengthen your church year-round! Efficiency through Volunteer Management Summer programs like VBS depend on volunteers, and your ChMS can power your volunteer organizing and tracking this summer and throughout the year. Shelby Systems’ ChMS platform lets you maintain and manage your entire volunteer ministry, for VBS and for all your church’s daily, weekly, and annual ministries, so they’ll run smoothly. Leading up to VBS, you can create volunteer groups that keep volunteers connected with their specific times, roles, and training requirements, so your team will be ready to serve. Group leaders will have the ability to maintain their team from anywhere, including communicating with the members and sending reminders before events get started. On the day of each event, check-in options will let you and your team leaders keep track of who’s where and what’s happening, so you can be sure that your volunteers are ready to keep your event running. Of course, summer is just one season for your ministries. The volunteer management processes you implement now can guide you through everything from Sunday services, choir practices and weekly ministries to fall classes, Christmas festivities and , Easter programs. Engagement that Lasts All Year Long The families who sign up for summer programs like VBS will include regular attendees as well as those who haven’t attended in person for some time. This will be an introduction to many families whose children are participating for the first time. A good church management solution will help you and your ministry teams engage these families and build stronger connections once you’ve wrapped up your summer programs. As you and your staff meet with families during your summer events, you’ll have the flexibility to capture and maintain important data points, even right on your phone while conversations are still fresh in your mind. You can instantly make notes, assign follow-up tasks for your team, and get these families involved! And with these connections, you will be even more engaged with your congregation after summer programs are finished. You can connect families with ongoing ministries, and help new and first-time visitors learn more about your church programs and religious education opportunities. Shelby Systems is in your corner! Shelby Systems is the most trusted provider of premium software solutions to churches and faith-based nonprofits, with over 45 years of experience in helping churches like yours increase their impact on the world. With all that experience, we know what works. Reach out to us to learn more about how Shelby Systems helps over 3,000 churches in the United States, and how we can help your church for your summer programs and beyond!