Fairly often we'll get a question from a new church looking into using Breeze that goes something like this:
This is a great question and one you should be asking. Nobody wants to move all of their data into a new system only to find out that it was designed to fit the needs of a church half their size. In a similar vein, no one wants to transition all of their information to a system that they might outgrow in the coming few years. When it comes to church management software, churches want (and should have) a system that fits them well both now and in the foreseeable future.
And so when a church that is thinking through these dynamics sees Breeze, they may feel stuck with the two thoughts:
- I like what I see but...
- It says it's for small and mid-sized churches. Would this really fit our church?
And this tension is usually expressed with a question along the lines of:
- Is my church too big for Breeze?
- How would you define "small to mid-sized churches"?
- What about your software limits it to small and mid-sized churches?
The Short Answer: No Limits
The short answer to this question is that you can load as many people into Breeze as you'd like. Whether you're a church of 30 or 30,000, all of your people can be put into Breeze. There's no additional cost for having more people in the database. Enjoy!
The Long Answer: Who is your database for?
The longer answer helps connect this question to who we are aiming to serve. I've had the privilege of helping many churches through these questions and my answer is always the same. It has nothing to do with number of people who show up on a Sunday, the number of people in your database, the physical size of your church, or how many staff you have. Rather, it has everything to do with one simple question: who is your database for?
Philosophy 1: The Database is for the Database Administrator
As churches grow larger and larger they're able to have more specialized roles. The pastor that used to teach, counsel, lead worship, organize youth group, run lights, troubleshoot sound issues, email newsletters (and the list goes on) is now able to just teach. Other people have been hired who specialize in worship, student ministries, technology, and communications.
As churches move into the "large" and "megachurch" categories, some like to dig deep into the analytics and data of their church. They hire a database administrator and want to be able to isolate any data point imaginable and they have the staff resources to do it. Complexity is not an obstacle because they have the level of specialization needed to handle it. For these churches, while the rest of the staff may be able to log in, look up a phone number or address, and perform some other nominal tasks, the true user is the database administrator.
We think there's a lot of great church management software systems that serve churches using this first philosophy. Breeze however is looking to serve a different segment of churches.
Philosophy 2: The Database is for all the Staff, Volunteers, and Members
In contrast, most small and mid-sized churches (although many large churches as well) are looking for a system that everyone on their team can use. They want the youth pastor, children's director, and adult ministries leader to be able to run their own reports, generate follow ups, and send out communications without having to go to a database administrator or through extensive training. They want software they can put in front of volunteers and those volunteers, with no or minimal training, can dive right in and begin using it. They care less about the ability to generate complex queries to access nuanced slices of information but rather they want the most important data and main features of their church management system to be simple and easy for everyone to access and use.
It's churches that think along the lines of this second philosophy that we're really aiming to serve.
We find that small and mid-sized churches are more likely to adhere to this second philosophy which is typically what makes Breeze a great fit for them.
While many churches in this range find themselves having a weekend attendance somewhere between 100 and 1,000 (which typically translates to 200 - 5,000 database records), there's plenty of churches above this spectrum that also share the second philosophy and would be well served by Breeze. With a focus on ease of use and simplicity, Breeze strives to make church software easy and accessible to everyone.
So is your church too big for Breeze? It all depends on which philosophy you'd like to follow.