Everyone likes to think that they are a unique individual, and you are. Does that mean your Church is unique, or the same as the other “First _____ Church” down the street? Of course we are all bound with our common faith in Christ, and the Biblical truths. Yet look at the different personalities of pastors, leaderships and worship styles within denominations and the wider Church community. Just think of the spirited debates of the last 20 years, hymns and organ vs. praise songs with drums. Great debates, but at the end there is no clear winner.
In the world of church management software, the debate has never been more vigorous. At one end is software from the older LAN systems and a few web based that are simple one size fits all or cookie cutter. What you see is what you get, and don’t ask for anything else. The price for the product will have a tendency to swing your opinion as it looks too good to be true. With the inflexibility of the software, is it going to give you the information you need? This will be answered with time.
At the other end of the church software, would be some of the larger platforms or flat out custom software. A few of the management programs have had the attitude that they would never say no to a request for a new feature. A first glance it would be human nature to say how great that would be. The problem that will arise when the software becomes so large and feature heavy, that without an IT background, staff and volunteer leaders will be lost.
In the same category are the well meaning self professing IT experts that offer to develop a custom program for their Church to use manage their activities. To catch up with the pack of existing programs, it is going to require several thousand hours of programming. After that investment in free time, who is going to maintain the system? When that volunteer IT person takes that new job at the other end of the nation, you will be left out in the cold.
When selecting your new ChMS, look for the software that has a serious set of core features and make sure they do them very well. Then keeping in mind how unique your church is, the software must have the ability to have those last remaining items you want on a custom basis that everyone will understand how they operate. This should not change the price you pay and give you that help in finding a replacement organ player or drummer.