A Complete Guide to ChMS

Churches have unique needs when it comes to managing their missions to spread the gospel, minister to their congregation and communities, and continually engage with members. As ministry happens and the church grows, having the necessary tools for member management, online giving, accounting, member engagement and church safety will drive your missions forward. If these tools are integrated and all work together within a complete church management solution, your missions will not only advance but will do so with much less operational burden.

Managing the multitude of tasks can be quite complicated without established procedures and programs. That’s why it’s important for churches to have a system and the people to help tackle the ins and outs of ministry work. With such a wide array of people, finances, and activities to monitor and process, church management software (ChMS) is a helpful tool to increase efficiency and reserve more time for ministry, not to mention to lessen the burden of church administrators everywhere.

Church management software is computer technology designed for the church, so church admins, pastors, and staff can be well equipped with the necessary resources to engage their community, stay organized, and expand as the organization grows.

In this post, we’ll talk about what church management software is, what the benefits are, and the distinct integrations that make up a powerful ChMS.

What is ChMS?

A specialized computer technology specifically designed for churches and other ministry-based organizations, Church Management Software, or ChMS, assists with streamlining daily operations. Integrations help with the organization and optimization of membership databases, scheduling, volunteer management, events, reporting, finances, and communications.

It is a full-bodied software program that aims to support churches by encouraging collaboration that allows multiple people to view, track, and update the various systems. It centralizes administrative tasks that build and engage your community.

A Brief History of Church Management Software

At first, church management was done by hand or typed and then compiled into a filing system. Church admins or volunteers would have to manually gather and transfer membership data. Depending on the technology at the time, they would then have to enter it into a word processor or spreadsheet.

Though this was the only form of church management at the time, it was difficult because it took a great amount of time and didn’t allow for much collaboration. One person had a handle on the system, and if they were gone or left the church, it could easily cause complications in all the processes. Communication was also challenging because you couldn’t send a text message to hundreds of people at the same time, thus taking hours to contact people individually with important updates.

When church management software first arrived on the scene, it was mainly a data processing system to simplify mailing lists and track membership information. Today, ChMS is a powerful, cloud-based tool to help churches audit, manage, and organize the various aspects of ministry, including visitors, members, volunteers, small groups, finances, and mass communication. With integrated functionality, all the back-end administrative work can happen seamlessly, allowing for collaboration across staff and departments, and produce Kingdom growth.

Why your church should have an integrated, all-in-one ChMS

Ease-of-use consistently ranks as the most important purchase criteria for church software among faith-based organizations. Integrated church management software is one critical way to simplify church operations. With an integrated church management software, you’ll have access to everything you need for your ministry to run smoothly. Pastors, staff, and church administrators will be able to streamline the behind-the-scenes administrative work. Rather than having a different software or online platform for membership, online giving, communications, website and content management, security, and events, an integrated ChMS cohesively ties all the tasks into one system. This means fewer logins and passwords to remember, and more importantly, that all the tools work together.

  1. Stay up to date with your people. Easily capture and maintain your members’ data. Monitor where they’re at in their involvement—whether they are a visitor, member, volunteer, or staff. You can also save administrators time by allowing your congregation to keep their own information updated.
  2. Stay engaged. Communicate to your congregation through mass text and email messaging. You can send an update immediately or schedule out in advance. Segment into groups or send a message to everyone at the same time.
  3. Track finances. Manage donations and contributions. Monitor growth or dips in giving. And, with an included online giving platform, your congregation can contribute from anywhere. Church accounting integrations will go beyond checks and balances and make budgeting, payroll, and tracking finances even easier.
  4. Make training easy. Equip your team members, whether volunteers or staff, and then view where they are at in the process. Notify them if they need to take a new class. Easily upload files and completion certificates to their account.
  5. Generate reports. If you want to see how your church is growing, or even where there are dips in attendance or giving, reporting analytics helps your ministry track specific data over time. Gain insightful trends and use reports to leverage ministry.
  6. Keep people safe. Provide safety for your people with an automated process that integrates seamlessly with your church database. Utilize security functions and check-in processes. Implement background checks for staff and volunteers to provide an extra level of security to your congregation and building.
  7. Do more ministry. One of the most time-consuming things about ministry is organizing and updating all the administrative work. But by combining a wide variety of tools into an easy-to-use system, it will free up the hours your team would have spent doing paperwork, inputting information, and entering data. With a streamlined process through innovative technology, you can spend more time doing what matters most — ministry.

Learn more about how one church simplified church management with time-saving features and functionality of ChMS.


Benefits of Integrated Church Management Software

One of the main benefits is that ChMS is designed to assist churches with structuring and managing all aspects of daily operations. ChMS simplifies the complex, often chaotic day-to-day tasks that churches encounter.

Whether you're using your laptop or mobile app to update interactions, plan and manage groups, send mass emails, or add information for visitors you're meeting on the go, the church management tools you rely on must be flexible and adaptive. Obtain whole-church management at your fingertips with cloud-based church administrative software. With so many people working outside the office, it is helpful to have a system you can access from anywhere.

Churches have unique needs that require a software program (and a team behind that program) that understands how the church operates.


All-in-one ChMS solutions can greatly increase the productivity of the organizational and operational aspects of a church. The complete suite of tools within an integrated system will help with management across the board. Check out the features of these various tools that work cohesively.

Administer your whole church from one system

You’ll be able to better support your ministry with the automation that ChMS provides.

People management will be simplified with cloud-based access from anywhere. Church staff can easily connect with their people because their information is not only easy to find but can be updated effortlessly keeping members’ phone numbers, addresses, etc. current. Workflows and interactions make sure that every visitor receives a follow-up by setting automated task assignments and emails.

All from the same program, you can create events and schedule volunteers. Arrange use of facilities for those events. Keep track of attendance and where volunteers are serving. Create various forms to connect with new guests or receive online prayer requests.

Staff members can run reports to gain valuable insight into trends within the church. Check off the to-do lists quickly with the support of an automated, administratively sufficient platform.


Grow your ministry with flexible online giving options

Generosity is vital to your ministry's success. Make it easy on donors and your finance team by implementing one system that offers multiple ways to give.

Provide a variety of giving options through your website, mobile app, text messaging, and kiosk giving so members can conveniently contribute to the church in whichever way is most convenient for them. With access at your congregation’s fingertips, you’ll be able to foster generosity from anywhere, at any time.

Encourage generosity with a convenient recurring gifts feature and allow donors to access their giving history. Don’t forget to thank your donors for their gifts, too. It’s easy to do with giving workflows so you never miss an opportunity to engage those who are supporting the ministry.

Manage all contributions, gifts, and donations in one system. View a range of custom reports and graphs by person, transaction, fund, and date range. With all the features of online giving within your ChMS, you’ll be able to see your church grow.

Other Giving Resources:

Connect with your community with enhanced engagement.

The challenge of church communications can be minimized with multiple contact methods supported by ChMS.

Send instant updates to your congregation or schedule mass text and emails in advance. Let everybody know about an upcoming church-wide event by messaging the entire church. Or segment into groups and contact only specified people, like women who might be interested in attending a women’s retreat.

Exceptional member care can be increased with effective communication. Send a welcome email to new visitors and let them know you are glad they attended. Reach out to volunteers in a ministry group and appreciate them for their time. Thank donors for their contributions and share how their generosity is truly making a difference.

Aside from simply sending emails, now you can see email engagement statistics all within the same system. View and gather reports on how many emails are being delivered successfully and which ones are bouncing. Observe open rates, click rates, and see how many are unsubscribing. Follow email best practices to increase congregation engagement through your communications.

Simplify the complexities of church accounting.

Being responsible financial stewards is a vital part of a ministry's call to serve God’s Church well. Use a state-of-the-art, cloud-based software specifically designed to meet the needs of churches, ministries, non-profits, and denominational headquarters.

Accounting for non-profits, especially churches, differs from regular, for-profit businesses. Churches have unique needs, different issues, and different tax considerations. Just because general financial software can be used by the church, that does not mean it is the best option.

Financial management is a critical tool to have in the ChMS suite. Be sure to use a ChMS that offers church accounting because it will make it easier to handle the financial particulars that come with the territory of church finances.

With integrated church accounting software, access and update ledgers, payroll, receivables, and payables, and stay on track with your budget.

Generate valuable reports to help align your ministry goals with data and financial insight. Remove the stress of providing financial statements to donors, pastors, and board members because you will have access to run reports with ease.

Build a church website that reflects your ministry.

Your website is your invitation to the community and represents your ministry before a visitor ever comes through the door. With an integrated church website, reflect who you are as a ministry. Because your website is the new front door, you will want a content management system (CMS) that is designed specifically for the church, not a general website builder that cannot accommodate your needs.

Use your website to expand your reach through digital evangelism. Attract new members and have your church rank higher in search queries with Search Engine Optimization. This will help even more people find your church.

Your church website should be simple to navigate, easy to manage, and mobile responsive. Use your site to share the vision and passion of your church with the community.

Other Giving Resources:


Reach beyond your church walls with live streaming.

Live streaming became necessity to stay connected with the congregation when the entire world had to shut down during the pandemic. Now churches are seeing how valuable live streaming is, even with services opening back up.

Integrating live streaming with your church management software makes for a seamless opportunity to continue in the community. Easy-to-use, all-in-one live streaming that is created for the church will help expand your reach. You can share your services, in real-time, through social media and your website, extending far beyond the walls of your church.

Interact with members through live chat during the service. Provide Bible passages and sermon notes to help the people who are watching stay engaged. Even if your people cannot attend in person, they can continue to feel included through live church streaming.

Protect your church and staff by implementing background checks.

Visitors, members, and volunteers all want to feel safe at church. That’s why church security and protection is important. Background checks for church staff and volunteers enable churches of all sizes to protect their people from criminals and predators.

With a complete ChMS, the security and background check feature will help you manage tens, hundreds, or even thousands of volunteers. Reduce the risk to children, adults, property, and information by utilizing this critical tool.

Background checks are vital for recruitment, security approval, and volunteer assignments. As the world has begun to open back up, churches need to be mindful of the safety of their congregation, and how much safety can also be a concern for them.

Having a secure system in place to recruit and track volunteers is crucial. The protection aspect of church management software should be able to accept volunteer applications, track where they are in the process, and allow you to see which ministries they’re serving in.


Engage your congregation with a personalized mobile app

People are mobile, your ministry should be able to go with them. With advances in mobile technology, people are more digitally connected than ever. If your ministry isn't mobile-optimized, then you are missing out on one of the best ways to connect and engage with your congregation.

Your church app helps you connect your congregation with information they need most. You can encourage member engagement throughout the week. Inspire them to give, sign up for events, and request prayer, all from their fingertips. The features within the app allow ministry to not only happen once a week but 24/7.

People can watch sermons and live streaming on the go. They can get connected to a group during the week. They can also receive push notifications for immediate updates.

Enhance your services with digitally managed worship planning.

Take volunteer management even further by integrating worship planning software with your ChMS. Stay organized and connected with your team as you plan services and events.

Conveniently coordinate worship services. Specify details by dragging and dropping, use a template, or develop a worship flow from scratch. Create pre-service elements like videos or countdowns, provide notes for team members, and share music sheets.

With a worship planner, get alerted if there are scheduling conflicts and allow your volunteers to block out any dates ahead of time if they’re unable to serve. This will provide your team with ample time to find a replacement.

Worship Planning Resources:

Church Management Software to Help You Do More Ministry

Increase efficiency and put more time back in the day with powerful accessories that work together. Allowing your church to be able to focus even more on ministry. With whole-church management at your fingertips, you can grow your impact, whether you’re a new church plant or a large, multi-campus megachurch.

If you’re ready to let go of the headache of running multiple programs that do not sync, and you’re looking for a full solution that will streamline your ministry tasks, talk with one of our experts today! At Shelby Systems, we look forward to partnering with you for all your ChMS needs.