How many times have you and your team started out with a big vision, rock solid plans, and an incredible projected outcome only to end up overwhelmed with stress, poor communication, overcommitment, and complete burnout?
If your answer is,”TOO MANY!” I’m right there with you.
As a Graphic Designer and a former Worship Director I know that keeping church services, special projects, and important files organized while maintaining effective communication with your staff and volunteers can be a huge challenge! Based on personal experience, and my pretty impressive investigative skills, I want to introduce to you five awesome tools that will allow your church team to work more efficiently and put out killer content without the killer headaches. Starting off with one of my favorites…
1. PLANNING CENTER SERVICES
As the name implies, the majority of churches use this for planning out their weekly worship services. While it is phenomenal for that, I have also used it as a tool for planning events and training sessions that needed to stick with a specific timeline. It’s easy to use, free for up to 10 volunteers, and the mobile device apps are incredibly easy to use. I highly recommend that, if you aren’t already using this time saving software, you give it a try!
Here’s an awesome video that gives you a sneak peek into what Planning Center Services has to offer.
Like I mentioned, you can start with 10 or less volunteers for free but you can choose to upgrade to a paid plan to add more volunteers. Their plans start at $14 a month for 25 team members and increase depending on how many volunteers you have. If you take into account all the time and confusion you’ll be saving, it’s a great deal!
Next up is Proclaim. This incredible software tool is ideal for putting out quality service content in less time. It provides everything you need from high quality sermon series graphics, easily customizable event slides, and it even makes it easier than ever to upload sermon audio to your website. The best part is, unlike other software programs that make you pay for graphic packages separately, all the graphics you could possibly need are included in your subscription! They’ve got some exciting things in the works to make Proclaim even more of an asset for your church and I can’t wait to tell you all about that in a later post!
Check out this video to see what I mean!
With monthly plans starting at less than $20, I find the price point incredibly reasonable for the amount of resources you get. This software is easy to use so you won’t have to worry about intimidating your volunteers, and with the massive selection of content you’ll always be sure to find something that works perfectly for your church.
I could probably write a song about how much I love Basecamp.
I have used this as a Project Manager for the creative department at a mega church and I currently use it to keep my freelance work organized. The reason I love Basecamp so much is because it keeps my project feedback from clients out of my email inbox and into a much more manageable and organized space. It has made communication so much easier! My clients love the easy to use app that allows them to check on projects, view schedule deadlines, and send quick messages.
As a Project Manager, it allowed me to keep track of multiple freelance designers, projects, campuses, ministry areas, and special events easily. Trust me, stop cluttering your email inbox and personal calendar and keep everything in Basecamp. I know you’ll love it! Check out this video for a quick look at what Basecamp has to offer.
For most churches, the free version would be plenty. It’s straight forward, easy to use, and your staff will love how organized it is. If you have a very large church with a lot of departments and/or multiple campuses, upgrading to add more groups (or “Basecamps” as they’re called) might be a good idea. Plans for unlimited Basecamps, unlimited users, and 100 GB of storage are $29 a month and the price increases with storage size. I highly recommend you check this out! This is an awesome resource for any size ministry.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, you’ve been using DropBox for years and why should you switch? The reason for me was simple, security. Sync is designed specifically with your privacy and protection in mind. When you’re sharing files with multiple people on various platforms it’s important to know that your projects are safe and secure. Not only that, but the free version comes with 5 GB of storage compared to the 2 GB you get with DropBox. If you like DropBox, you’ll love Sync! Check out this video to find out how important security is to Sync.
If you’re worried about the cost, don’t be. The price to upgrade to 500 GB per month is only $49 a year which is cheaper per GB than the upgrade cost on DropBox.
I must start out this section by saying that when it comes to my personal time, I love being spontaneous. However, when it comes to work and productivity I am a huge advocate for time management! Stewardship is so often associated with money but I truly believe that being a good steward means proper management of all the blessings we have, including time.
Timely is geared toward freelancers but it can easily be utilized by you and your team. It’s so easy to underestimate the time it takes to complete certain tasks and by planning and tracking your hours you can see within a few days where adjustments need to be made.
That planning meeting that was scheduled for 30 minutes? It took 2 hours. Now you have to quickly rearrange your day in your head and decide what to do next.
I know! I’ve been there!
Timely can be used from your desktop and your mobile device so scheduling, tracking, and rearranging your time can be done from almost anywhere. The user interface is simple and the navigation is incredibly straightforward so it’s easy to get started. Check out this video to see it in action!
Timely is free for 1 user and up to 5 Projects. Plans are $13.99 a month for unlimited users and unlimited projects. If you want to stick with the free version what I would suggest is to use your 5 projects to label very broad areas and add notes to each section to make it more specific. Such as Project: “Children’s Department” Notes: “Special Event Flyer” or Project: “Worship Service” Notes: “Announcement Slides”.
So, I hope you’re taking a big sigh of relief! You now have access to some incredible resources to help you and your team build the Kingdom and stay organized!
What did you think? Do you have any amazing resources you’d like to recommend? I’d love to hear from you!