Empower Your Congregation With Church Office Online

Have you ever…

  • ...worked hard to produce a Church Directory only to have it outdated once it was published?
  • ...been asked to call or email a group of people only to find that contact addresses given didn’t work?
  • ...wondered how much you gave to the church or where you were on your pledge before the end of the year?
  • ...showed up for a church event or meeting that was cancelled or moved and you didn’t know about it?
  • ...forgot to leave a forwarding address and you knew people in your church would be trying to get ahold of you?
  • ...been overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the constant changes in peoples email addresses and phone numbers?

It’s Time to Empower Your People with their own Individual Secure Access to your Church Office Online program allowing them to:

  • Update Their Own Household and Individual Contact Information
  • View Monthly Anniversaries & Birthdays within their Church
  • View and Print their Online Church Directory
  • Make Connections to others in your church from the Online Directory with Simplified Email Links
  • View an active Church Calendar of Meetings, Activities, and Services

By empowering your people with this application you can:

  1. Save money and time by only printing off Church Directories for those who do not have internet and email service.
  2. Increase the opportunity for Connection of your people via email, phone, visitation or mail with updated contact information.
  3. Increase giving and promote good stewardship by adding the ability for members to see exactly where they are in their giving and pledges at any time instead at of the end of the year.
  4. Decrease the administrative load and time from your staff by enlisting members to update their own contact information.
  5. Enable ministry

First, your church must have a subscription to Church Office Online.

Second, simply enter their email address in their Individual Record and then distribute the Me.ChurchMembershipOnline URL in a letter, email or bulletin to your congregation.

That's it; we do the rest.

URL Address https://me.churchmembershiponline.com


Answers to common questions regarding use and security of Me.ChurchMembershipOnline

  • Q: How secure is Me.ChurchMembershipOnline?

    A: The access is password protected, encrypted and all data vaulted.

  • Q: What can an Individual view and change in their record?

    A: Individuals will be able to only view: Monthly Birthdays and Anniversaries of Church Members, Church Directory, their Contributions/Pledges, and Church Calendar

    A: Individuals will only be able to change their own general contact information ( i.e. Address, Phone, Email, Birthdate, Anniversary Date) and change their password login.

  • Q: Will a person be able to see or change records of other individuals?

    A: NO, only their own household members and just their address, birthday, anniversary information.

  • Q: Can a person change their contributions?

    A: NO, they can view and print only.

  • Q: Can a person print some of the reports?

    A: YES, the Church Directory and Individual Contributions Statement is printable to PDF, just locate the PDF print Icon/text.

  • Q: Is there a way a person can be taken off the Online Church Directory?

    A: YES, just contact your church administrator and request not to have your name listed in the online Directory. All that needs to be done is for them to check the box “Exclude from Directory” from the Individual Record on the “Options” tab.

  • Q: If I have a problem signing in to Me.ChurchMembershipOnline who should I contact?

    A: First contact your church administrator/secretary as most issues are due to not having the right email address entered into the main program or two or more people having the same email address.

  • Q: Can I have the same email address listed for more than one person in the main program?

    A: NO, to do so will not allow the program to generate a successful login to Me.ChurchMembershipOnline.

  • Q: How much extra does it cost for our church to use Me.ChurchMembershipOnline?

    A: It is a free application that comes with your paid subscription to Church Office Online.


Thanks,

Church Office Online

1/2/2012 2:08:00 AM

Video Tutorial - Adding Households and Individuals to Church Membership Online

Learn how to add households and individuals quickly and easily to your Church Membership Online account.

10/29/2011 2:09:00 AM

Video Tutorial - 101 Getting Started with Church Membership Online

Tutorial for all users new to Church Membership Online, How to Add Members to CMO and manage information in your Church Membership Online account.

10/27/2011 8:47:00 AM

Announcing New Feature Enhancements

Church Membership Online continues to receive new features and enhancements based on your feedback. We want to provide the easiest to use, least expensive and most feature rich church management software possible. We believe the following updates help us get a little closer to that goal.

Slick New Picture Upload, Resize and Crop

New Crop and Resize features have been added to Picture Upload for individual and household records.

  • Images are automatically scaled and resized to fit in your church picture directory.
  • Crop an uploaded image to just use part of the image for a perfect church directory picture.
  • New image upload feature provides real time feedback upload status and completion percentage.

Image upload example

The new feature does require that you have Flash installed on your system. If you do not have Flash go to : http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer


Improved Event and Meeting Attendance

Recording event and meeting attendance for your church functions just got a lot faster and easier.

  • View and mark attendance for just those individuals who are on the Ministry List assigned to an Event / Meeting.
  • No more saving attendance lists; attendance is recorded immediately after you check the box next to an individual.
  • Quickly and easily record attendance for any individual in your church, even if they aren't part of the ministry.

Dashboard Contributions Admin Toggle

You now have the ability to remove the display of Contributions on the Dashboard for users that don't have finance priviledges in Church Membership Online.

To change the Dashboard Contributions display:

  1. Log into Church Membership Online as an Administrator user
  2. Click on Admin -> Church Settings
  3. Change the "Show Dashboard Contributions To All Users" setting
  4. Click "Save"

Aaron

Church Office Online

8/22/2011 7:48:00 AM

Is Your Ministry Sustainable?

We hear a lot about "sustainability" in the news today. In fact it was on the front page of The Costco Connection, August 2011 edition. No, I don’t advocate that this magazine was written for the church. While most the news articles on sustainability, i.e. Costco’s, refer to the production of an agricultural or business product or plan, I wonder if churches are negligent by NOT considering the sustainability of ministries we undertake.

There has been many times in my ministry when I asked the question: “Can I/we keep doing this?” This question usually followed a few weeks after the new ministry began.

I found that starting a specific ministry in the church is really the easy part. Sustained ministry, that’s the hard part. As I read through the Costco article and a few other magazine articles I was struck by several key points regarding sustainability.

Sustainability is not the product, but the production or process. If sustainability does not figure into our ministry plans then we might as well close the door now and save the effort and heartache. Church plants start, outreach ministries begin, prayer groups form only to see them quickly end. The toll it takes has not only crippled churches, absorbed finances and shut doors but it has also burned out many gifted and trained ministers, both lay and clergy.

To ensure that a plan or production can be sustainable it must have the following factored in:

Ongoing Demand of Truth, Forgiveness, Salvation, Love, Faith, Hope

All people NEED these, … right?

  1. Do people know they need these? Some do, some don’t others don’t care. Not much help here.
  2. Are YOU convinced they need these? Is YOUR CHURCH convinced their community/world needs these? How many products do you use today that you did not need until convinced otherwise? How many ads have you watched that were directed at reminding you of what you need? Great effort and cost are taken to inform people of their need. The expenditure of great effort and finances measure our conviction to the need.

Renewable Resources

More than funds, facilities and food, the most needed resource required for sustainability in ministry is the making of disciples of Christ. If we fail at that, forget the sustainability of your ministry. In an agricultural world ‘Renewable Resources’ are huge. For something to be labeled as a Renewable Resource it must be both natural (in product and process) and of benefit. A true disciple is a spiritual process that is to be the natural/normal ministry of the church. A true disciple is one who benefits the cause of Christ in the church and the world.

Transferrable

I have done it and I’m sure you have too. We go forth in what is possible for us in ministry with little consideration as to what is possible for others. The process or production is based on our skill sets, gifting and experience rather than others. So when we give out or leave, the ministry goes as well. I wished I learned this earlier in ministry. Some of the needed ministries I created were productive, but I built them around my strengths, so they died when I left. Later on I decided that I would create ministries that were built around the gifting of the church and many of them continue today.

Networking

There is a reason why social networking is huge today. It is meeting a social need that has seriously been lacking in the family and the world. Networking is a key to sustainability. The connection or networking of your church people with each other will do more for the life and growth of your church than most anything else you can do.

Data Driven

You will never know if you are growing if you do not know if a given ministry is being effective. There is great benefit to viewing detailed data rather than what, “I heard John say…” or, “I feel we did…” There is way too much ambiguity in ministry. A data driven ministry gives more attention to what happened or didn’t happen as to what was felt. Great and simple tools are available to help you collect the data needed to better evaluate the growth of your church. My passion for a simple church management online program grew out of my frustration with complicated programs that required a geek to do. FYI… In my churches I was the geek who managed the tools but couldn’t get anyone to help me. So when I left, the programs were dumped along with the data.

One final note: the writing of this article was motivated by the number of communications from pastors I received regarding their church closing. It saddens my heart when I hear of a church closing. I know that fighting the good fight is hard. I have had a church close its doors. If I can be of any encouragement please email me at mike@churchofficeonline.com

God can and does sustain us: “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.” Psalm 3:5

We are called to persevere: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36


Mike Smith
Church Office Online

8/17/2011 5:12:00 PM

Announcing New Reporting and Analytics Release

Church Office Online’s church management software just went live with a NEW report generator for ALL reports!

Church Management Reporting

With Church Office Online’s NEW report generator you now have the ability to examine and probe data, export reports to Microsoft Office Word and Excel for further analysis, and even present them as PowerPoint documents.

Report Export Options

All reports now feature the option to export to

  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Acrobat PDF
  • CSV
  • Rich Text
  • Tiff Image
  • Web File

Improved Graphs

You will also notice a big improvement in the look and design of all graphs. With the added exporting to Power Point presentations will be a snap and look professional. Church management software has never been so easy.

Contributions Chart

The Contributions and Attendance features now include a three month at a glance overview graph to give you a quick health check of your church's progress in those areas.

Attendance Overview


Custom Fields Reporting

We have also added the ability for you to create reports of your CUSTOM FIELDS. You can select one or more Individual or Household custom fields and even add a filter. For Instance: You created a “Hobbies” custom field for Individuals and you want to know who your photographers are. Just select “Custom Fields” in REPORTS and click on the “Add Custom Field Report Criteria” and select “Hobbies”, then type in “Photography” in the “Has Value“ field then “Run Report”.

Custom Fields Report


New Mega Menu Navigation

You will notice we did away with the left side bar and designed a Mega Menu which you can view by placing your mouse/arrow over the Menu Bar. This opens up the whole width of the page for viewing data and reports along with added one click speed to access areas of the program from the Mega Menu. We believe this change offers a significant improvement to the user experience of Church Membership Online.

Mega Menu Navigation

We hope you enjoy the changes and new features.


Aaron

Church Office Online

7/17/2011 8:30:00 AM

Church Management 101 "God's Ways"

It's as old as the first church in Acts but as young as today's culture. It carries with it the challenges of relationships multiplied by their diversity and divided by leadership you and others in your church bring to it. Great church management depends on what you ask of it and measure it by. Simply put, Church Management is stewarding resources to accomplish a goal or objective of the church.

This online blog is aimed at providing biblically based and real-time relevant church management articles. It is not meant to provide a detailed solution for every situation, but it will not be ambiguous either.

Let's start off by answering the question...

What is great church management?

For church management to be great:

  1. It must be in harmony with the heart of God
  2. It must be in harmony with the mind of God
  3. It must be in harmony with what matters to God

Having graduated from one of the finest biblically centered universities in the world I learned that "God's ways are not man's ways."

Of course you don't need to go to college to figure that one out, but a college that is willing to teach it (in my opinion) is one worth going to.

So what does "God's ways..." have to do with church management?

EVERYTHING!!

  • "God's ways..." doesn't resemble the cookie cutter management practices that are prevalent in churches today.

  • "God's ways..." seeks to look for what HE is blessing rather than what we want Him to bless.

  • "God's ways..." takes into account the whole of the church rather than the parts that speak the loudest.


The list could go on and on, but let's start with the first of these three and I am certain you will catch on.

  1. "God's ways..." doesn't resemble the cookie cutter management practices that are prevalent in churches today.

    If my church had the same mix and mind of people living in the same type of community with the same history of another church I still would question the sanity of using the same church management practices. The truth is identical twin churches do not exist. There is great diversity between churches today, the sooner we realize that the sooner we progress towards "God's ways..." of doing church management.

    To get a better view of how different your church is, learn who your people are. Start with your leadership, then your congregation. Good management starts with relationships. People are more apt to follow if they know you value who they are. When was the last time you had a retreat with your church leadership?

    Knowing and recording important facts about your people (i.e. family, jobs, skills, spiritual gifts, strengths and weaknesses) provides the knowledge base of good church management. Once you gather that information the uniqueness of your church will become much clearer to you. The discovery of that uniqueness will give birth to relationships, ministries and support you would otherwise overlook with your cookie cutter approach.

    There are many simple ways you can gather the information. You can use family questionnaires, talent surveys, spiritual gift test and normal conversation to gather the information. There are great tools available to help you keep track of the information you collected, like www.churchofficeonline.com which allows you to also print off reports of custom fields you create.
    I want to warn you though that a sure way to frustrate your church is to take a survey and not use the info to advance relationships or ministry.


  2. "God's ways..." seeks to look for what HE is blessing rather than what we want Him to bless.

    Our tendency and constant pull is to vest our management in what we want to see God bless rather than looking at what God is Blessing. There are times when it can be both but not to seek and be open to what HE is Blessing is to miss what HE would have us do, “Except Christ build the church we labor in vain…”.

    We can start by asking the following questions:

    1. Who has God brought to us?
    2. Who has God taken from us?
    3. What has God given to us?
    4. What has God taken from us?

    The fingerprints of God are all over our lives and church. Our greatest task it to know what He is blessing and to move people and resources to that opportunity of blessing.


  3. "God's ways..." takes into account the whole of the church rather than the parts that speak the loudest.

    We all know that the scripture speaks to the truth that all parts of the church body are important. If we expect people to take seriously the mission of the church we need to do our part in church management that no person gets “left behind”.

    • “Left behind” happens when we lose track of a person. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say that: “we were gone for three weeks and nobody called to ask why.”

    • “Left behind” happens when a person is good at a specific thing but their name never surfaces when a ministry team or event is formed that requires someone with that skill or experience. (And we wonder why only 10% of the people in church does the work of the church.)

    • “Left behind” happens when we plan a ministry or event and then fill it with available bodies rather than start with people and build ministry.



Mike Smith
Church Office Online

7/17/2011 8:12:00 AM

Guide to Choosing Church Management Software (ChMS)

Before we get the cart before the horse, let’s first answer the question: “What is Church Management?”

Church Management is directing/managing people and programs to accomplish the desired goals and objectives of the church. Because the ministry of church management has a divine origin, and a divine facilitator we look to our Lord to provide and guide us in this.

We would be greatly mistaken if we thought that our efforts alone will help us to reach our goals. “Unless Christ builds the church we labor in vain…” Psalm 127:1

Unlike the business sector, Church Management works largely with a volunteer base which is becoming more mobile each day. Yet most volunteers expect the church to keep up with what is offered in the business sector in the way of management tools. While there are some tasks in Church Management that software/IT-service cannot begin to meet, there are some tasks that can be greatly benefited by the right program.

Now we can ask the question, “What should I look for in a church management software (ChMS) program?” A good ChMS program will provide you with the features you need without imposing upon you the features you don’t need. The programs that are the most intuitive generally are created by those who KNOW firsthand what is required in church management. For the most part they are easy to spot.

Ten Features every ChMS should include:

  1. Easy for both staff and volunteers to use
  2. Online Secure Accessibility making it possible to work outside the church.
  3. Daily Auto Back-ups of all your ChMS data on secure vaulted servers
  4. Household and Member Management –Contact Information with Custom Field Options
  5. Communication Tools i.e. email, mass email, e-newsletter creation, mailing labels, etc...
  6. Attendance Record Keeping for all Services, Meeting and Events
  7. Small Group/Ministry Management
  8. Demographic Reports
  9. Contribution Entry and Management
  10. Data Export for Custom In-house Reports

Other Features/Services that are nice to have:

  1. Great 24/7 Support with Knowledge Base and Feedback Features
  2. Data Import Service
  3. Mobile Connectivity - iPad/Tablets, Smart Phones etc…
  4. Multiple Browser and Operating System Compatibility
  5. Pledge Tacking and Management
  6. Integration Capable

Mike Smith
Church Office Online

6/27/2011 9:56:00 AM

Seven Guidelines for a Successful Pledge Campaign

Churches have found that when it comes to raising funds for a specific ministry project there is a greater success rate when you do a Pledge/Faith campaign. In fact it is proven that a well run and prayed for campaign increases general church Tithing/Giving as well. Thirty years of ministry with several completed and almost completed Pledge/Faith campaigns testify to this truth. They have also taught me a few things which I will pass on to you. So before you swing into action let me point out seven guidelines that can help.


Seven Guidelines

  1. State Your Purpose

    Have a clear concise statement as to what you are needing the funds to do, purchase, build, …etc. When possible make sure you connect to the needs of people.

  2. Set Your Goal

    Your needed funds goal amount should be spot-on. Don’t make the mistake of asking for too little or too much. The backlash is not worth it. Integrity is key to a successful campaign.

  3. Have A Campaign Completion Date

    Generally a campaign is no less than a month and no more than a year. A specific date helps both the church member and the church to evaluate progress toward the goal. This might be a good place to say that you should be VERY selective as to how many campaigns and how close they are planned to the previous. Give your church time to breath between campaigns.

  4. Keep Accurate Records

    Obtain a pledge recording and reporting software program. It is essential that you keep accurate records and maintain good financial accountability. Remember that this is unique to churches and most common software like Quickbooks do not provide pledge management.
    Church Office Online provides a very inexpensive solution to this with the Pledge Management Feature. http://www.churchofficeonline.com
    There is a growing number of online services that also provide pledge management, so shop around. Beware of those that ask for set-up fees.

  5. Make It Easy To Give

    • On-Site
      Provide Pledge/Faith campaign instructions and card/envelopes in the bulletins or pews. See attached doc for a sample card.

    • In Person
      Receive funds during the week through the church office.
      Acquire a merchant debit card processing swipe device for anyone who would prefer an electronic option. Check out COSTCO for an inexpensive solution to this in their business section. Merchant Credit Card Processing (1.48% plus 20¢ for Retail Classified Transactions*)

    • Online
      Bill Pay – Through your Bank- many offer free bill pay service up to a certain limit.
      Website Donation Button – I would recommend Google Check-Out as they are providing NO fee set-up and transactions for Non-Profits (You must apply for this grant each year.)

    • Pledge/Faith Promise Cards/Envelopes
      Make sure you have easy access to campaign brochures, Pledge/Faith Cards and giving envelopes.

    • Non-Pledge/Faith Promise Giving
      Remember not to discourage those who do not want to enter in a Pledge or Faith Promise from giving. Make sure you include them in all communications.

  6. Have A Communication Plan

    • Pre-Campaign Communication
      Teach Biblical Stewardship and Giving
      When church leadership taught and exampled Biblical Stewardship and Giving to their people it provided the foundation for all future giving campaigns as well.

    • Share the Vision
      Let the church in on the vision of what might be before it is. Seeding the vision of what God is leading the leadership of the church to consider in the future is paramount to the church feeling included.

    • Calendar the Campaign
      Post a Calendar of all campaign meetings, deadlines, publication mail out dates, announcement dates, campaign update reports,..etc. Make sure all members of the campaign team have access to it.

    • Campaign Communication
      Share the Need – put a face to the need, if there is no face than connection to the need becomes difficult.
      Share the Opportunity to Support - allow people to invest in the goal.
      Personal testimonies - should be included in services as well as other publications from those who have experienced the blessings and lessons learned from giving.
      Share the Progress – it is perhaps the easiest part of a campaign but often the most neglected.

    • Post Campaign Communication
      Report the Results
      Celebrate the Blessing – have a celebration event/service

  7. Learn From What Worked And What Didn’t

    Every church is different. We learn how different when we take the time to learn from what worked and what didn’t. I have always been surprised by the results as I am sure you will be too. Learn from them. The sooner your campaign team meets together after the campaign to review it the more you will learn to the benefit of future campaigns.


Please Note:

A Pledge is a promise to make payment toward a set goal amount. It is considered by some to specify an agreement between church member and church. It can be for the sum of a year’s tithe, total of a short term mission’s trip, or a couple’s summer conference just to mention a few.

A Faith Promise is a promise to make payment toward a set goal amount. The use of the word “Faith” denotes an amount set by “faith in what God would have one give”. Like the “Pledge” it can be used toward the same things.

In the context of the church I would contest that both Pledge and Faith Promise require seeking divine guidance.


Attached is a sample church Pledge/Faith Promise Card for you to use and distribute.

SamplePledgeCard.pdf (327.29 kb)


Mike Smith
Church Office Online

4/26/2011 5:44:00 PM

New Feature - Pledge Campaign Management

We have added another highly requested feature to our church management software, Church Membership Online. You now have the ability to create, track and manage Pledge Campaigns.

Pledge Campaign Management

Quickly and easily create pledge campaigns linked to contribution categories. Pledge campaign totals are automatically updated when contributions are made for the category and dates specified.

  • Create and manage pledge campaigns
  • Visual graphs indicate total amount pledged and total amount collected
  • Pledge totals are automatically updated when contributions are made

Individual Pledge Management

Individual pledge management allows you to track individual pledge amounts, total amounts given and total pledged amounts for pledge campaigns.

  • Create and manage individual pledge amounts
  • Visual graphs indicate total amount pledged and total amount collected per individual
  • Individual pledge totals are automatically updated when contributions are made

Pledge Campaign Video Tutorial

Click here to view our Pledge Campaign video tutorial

Pledge campaign reports will be released soon


We hope you enjoy this new feature!

Church Office Online

4/23/2011 11:30:00 AM
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