5 Church Software Tools Every Church Should Be Using

5 Church Software Tools Every Church Should Be Using

Breeze Church Management

Digital giving apps and tools

We think church software should make your life easier.  It should allow you to get through brainless, mundane tasks with incredible efficiency so as to be able to focus on the opportunities that are worthy of our mental energy.  We all have limited amounts of brain power to use each day and so our goal should be to leverage that brain power on tasks that truly demand critical thinking and to let church software trim down or automate the rest.

church software

We've compiled a list of the top 5 church software tools that, if we were to start a church, we would want to have going in.  At the end we've included a quick chart showing pricing for the software in this list.

1. Breeze (Church Management Software)

church management software

Some churches may be tempted to believe that church management software can be added in later, once the church gets bigger and more established.  This however may be a bit of a short-sighted philosophy as we believe launching with a quality church management system is extremely important.  While it's true that some of the fancier bells and whistles can wait until later, here's why you can't afford not to have a church management system from the beginning:

  • Centralized Communication: One of the greatest strengths a church management system can provide is a central place for staff and volunteers to communicate with members.  When someone needs to email the nursery volunteers, there's one list everyone can access - not separate files where people have to figure out what's the most up-to-date copy.  When member information needs to be looked up, there aren't conflicting records on different spreadsheets maintained by different people.  Everything is in one spot which streamlines admin and communication, allowing you to get on to more important things.
  • Visitor Retention - Church management systems allow you to easily keep track of visitors and build in processes to connect with those visitors, helping them become part of your church.  Gaining traction with new visitors is an incredibly important aspect of church management systems.
  • Contribution Tracking - Church management systems will allow you to track not only who gave how much and when but also trends in giving to help you better understand the giving profile of your church.  This can be crucial to the longevity of your church.  Having a system like this also makes end of year tax statements drop-dead simple.
  • Secure Child Check In/Pick Up: The other day I had a conversation with one of our churches who was told by two different moms that they wouldn't use the nursery until some sort of check in system was put in place.  While we might want to believe that nothing bad would happen in our church, the truth is that it could, and parents want to know that security measures are in place, regardless of the size of your church.

While there are a lot of church management systems out there, we think Breeze Church Management (okay, we're a little biased) is the best fit for the typical church.  Breeze was built with small and mid-sized churches in mind with a focus on ease-of-use, all while at a price that won't break the bank.  Check out more information on Breeze here.

2. Google Apps (Email)


You need something to power your email and the two major web-solutions out there are Google Apps (Gmail) or Office 365 (Outlook).  You can use either to power your own custom domain name (e.g. yourname@yourchurch.org) and choosing between the two can be challenging.  Both are powerful, both have many features, and both offer free non-profit versions.

In the end, we've selected Google Apps for one reason - familiarity with Gmail.

Email on Google Apps is Gmail.  It's just that this Gmail account sends emails out from your domain name (yourname@yourchurch.org).  Because of how ubiquitous Gmail is, this puts your church in a good place for adding additional staff or volunteers as chances are they're already familiar with Gmail and would need no training on the system.

Many would argue that the other aspects of Office 365 (Calendaring, Word, PowerPoint) are more powerful than what Google Apps offers and so it may be worth considering, but at the end of the day we would side with Google Apps.  For more information, check out Google Apps for Non-Profits.

3. Grasshopper (Phone)


If you've ever been involved with the installation of a PBX phone system, you know that phone systems can be complex and pricy.  Grasshopper believes it doesn't have to be this way.  Grasshopper uses the cell phones you and other staff members already have.  You'll get your own church phone number and when people call it, they can type an extension to be routed to a specific staff member's cell phone or stay on the line to be connected to the "front desk" which can be any cell phone you'd like.  You're no longer forced to have to be in the building to answer the phone.  You can even set it up so that if no one picks up, it begins ringing a second cell phone, and so on.  Additionally you're able to set your away hours so that your phone won't ring when you're eating dinner with your family.

We use Grasshopper at Breeze and find it to be one of our most favorite tools.  You can find out more about Grasshopper here.

Update: In talking with Grasshopper after this post was originally published, they've allowed us to give a $50 credit to new accounts we pass their way.  For full disclosure Breeze is also then paid a referral percentage.  We think Grasshopper is worth using even if it doesn't benefit us, so if you'd prefer to not indicate that we referred you, just use the link above, otherwise to claim the $50 discount and show Breeze some love, here's the link :).

4. ProPresenter (Projector/Visuals)


When it comes to displaying content in front of your congregation, we think one of the top qualities of the software needs to be ease-of-use.  Chances are the person running this software is going to be a volunteer and there will likely be the occasional time when you'll need to pull someone in last-minute to run the slides.  The software you use needs to be so intuitive that training can be done in a matter of seconds.

From my involvement with student ministries, ProPresenter fits exactly this niche.  When in a bind I could pull a middle school student into this role and in a matter of 30 seconds, tell him or her everything they needed to know.  I've not found another piece of software this simple.

While ProPresenter isn't the cheapest option out there ($399 for an individual computer, $799 for a site license), it is well worth the money and a great tool to make Sunday mornings flow smoothly.  You can find out more about ProPresenter here.


5. Dropbox (File Sharing)


Have you ever found yourself plugging in a USB drive, loading some files onto it, unplugging it, going to another computer, taking the data off, and then 5 minutes later realizing you missed a file and need to do the process again?  Or you're prepping the slides on a Sunday morning and realize that the computer in the sanctuary doesn't have the sermon title graphic which is still on your laptop?  A file sharing service, like Dropbox, can do wonders at streamlining your processes.  Dropbox allows you to place your files into a folder on your computer and then, from any other computer hooked up to your Dropbox account, access that same folder.  Here's the major advantages we see Dropbox providing your church:

  • Access from anywhere: Access your files on any computer, whether that's your laptop, a computer in your conference room, or the computer hooked to the projector at the back of the sanctuary.  No need to run back and forth with a USB drive or email files to yourself.
  • Share Files: Chances are that you're working with others on a lot of your projects.  Having a centralized file storage system makes it easy for anyone with access to view the files they need.  And unlike with email or USB drives, everyone always knows they are seeing the latest version of the file because everyone is using the same files.
  • Save Time: While it's possible to use USB drives and email to achieve part of what Dropbox can do, technology is suppose to help us do things faster.  By always having access to the latest version of your files, you're able to spend more time on what's important and less on trying to figure out how to move files around.

Dropbox has multiple plans you can select from- they offer a free version for individuals and for teams provides $15/month per user.  If you're a non-profit (which you probably are) Dropbox also invites you to contact them for potential discounts.  You can find more information on Dropbox here.

How much will this cost me?


The table below shows how much these programs are going to run you:

         Product    Price                  Breeze    $72/month    Pricing Page          Google Apps    Free (for non-profits)    Pricing Page          Grasshopper    $24/month (500 minutes, 1 line)
$49/month (2,000 minutes, 2 lines)    Pricing Page          ProPresenter    $399 One Time Fee (One Computer)
$799 One Time Fee (All Computers)    Pricing Page          Dropbox    Free (Individual)
$15/user per month (Team)    Pricing Page

What did we miss?

Is there a piece of software your church uses that you find extremely helpful?  Does your church use any of the software mentioned above?  We'd love to hear about it.  Leave your comments below!

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loves Breeze

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David P.
loves Breeze
St. Pauls United Methodist Church

Breeze has been incredible. Their customer service, commitment to innovation, and their product are top-notch. I love the features, the ease of use and the mobile applications.

Karen M.
loves Breeze
Hillcrest Church

All of our database needs have been more than met, it's easier to use than the last database we had, and the price is amazing - what a value this has been to our church! All of our staff can use this software and they do regularly. We use it to track…literally anything a church could possibly need to track regarding it's attenders.

Chris K.
loves Breeze
Crossroads United Methodist Church

Breeze has been a great asset to our church and congregation. Especially from an administrative standpoint, it has been the most adaptable and easiest church database I have ever used. The features from blast emails to giving on-line, and texting have been one of our greatest assets. Thank you!

Ed R.
loves Breeze
Church Admin

We switched from a major, web-based ChMS to Breeze and our decision is confirmed every day. We are a medium size church and we use Breeze for contributions, member management, event checkin and a few other applications custom to our church. I had trouble getting any staff to use our previous ChMS but almost all staff are using Breeze. The product is very well designed, extremely easy to learn and use and customer service is incredible.

Ellen G.
loves Breeze
Grace Church

Breeze has opened the communication highway for our congregation and staff, with very little training. Because members can update their own records and search easily for other members - and map their locations, send emails and text right from Breeze, they love it and our data is more real-time accurate. Our ministries are stronger, because they can trust the data in Breeze, which is easily accessed anywhere, anytime.

Steve H.
loves Breeze
First Presbyterian Church of Ramsey

Breeze is the first ChMS my volunteers have actually embraced. That's because it's so easy to use. The software is very flexible and gives us the opportunity to make decisions based on actual data we've collected and not just hunches or stories we believe to be true.

Allicia B.
loves Breeze
Ellel Ministries Canada

I cannot say enough about Breeze. Their customer service is so friendly, you feel like you have friends and family helping you get started, they're prompt to reply and will do whatever they can to help you get things sorted out. It's been so easy to learn, our staff is loving it and best of all even our staff who are not computer savvy find it a breeze (pun intended). We are just thrilled by our choice.

Kevin D.
loves Breeze
Central Baptist Church

From the start of our process looking for an online solution, Breeze has exceeded all our expectations. Fast data import, fast and friendly customer support, and we can’t say enough about how much we like the program itself. Very well designed and user friendly. On a scale of 1-10, Breeze gets a 15 from us!

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