Church management software (ChMS) continues to provide church leaders with the ability to maintain up-to-date membership rolls, giving records, small group rosters, and more. However, this rapidly changing technology can be a challenge to follow.
In this article, we’ll offer an overview of some recent changes along with insights as to what’s coming up next for the church management software market.
- Changes in the Church Management Software Market
- The Impact of COVID-19
- What’s Next for the Church Management Software Market?
- Integration of Functionality
- A Focus on Online Giving Fees
- Mobile App Development
Changes in the Church Management Software Market
Over the last year, we saw a few companies change ownership.
- Pushpay acquired Church Community Builder in late 2019. They made their first combined product launch in April 2020 and released ChurchStaq™ in September of last year.
- Tithe.ly acquired Ascend, a church website company, in January 2020.
- Faithlife acquired Servant Keeper in November of 2020.
The Impact of COVID-19
The inability of congregations to meet in person impacted their usage of church management software. Key features that church leaders leveraged include:
- Taking attendance of those who watched services online
- Receiving online donations
- Communicating via email with their congregations
As churches return to in-person services, they need a way to register people for a service to maintain social distancing protocols. Again, ChMS tools are often able to facilitate that requirement.
TouchPoint was one of many ChMS vendors that responded to the changing needs of churches during the pandemic. They released an integration with Twilio to provide two-way texting to help church leaders communicate with their congregations. TouchPoint also added a feature that enables churches to process ticketing for individual seats. This supported social distancing as churches reopened.
What’s Next for the Church Management Software Market?
According to the Global Church Management Software Market 2020-2024 report, “The church management software market is poised to grow by USD 126.48 mn during 2020-2024…”. Churches rely on their ChMS tools to communicate with their congregations, maintain giving records, handle registrations, and other key functionality. Therefore, the ChMS market is ripe for further development and investment.
Integration of Functionality
Putting a new spin on how churches view a ChMS vendor, Faithlife recently launched Faithlife Equip. Kristin Schafer of Faithlife introduced the new release this way, “Faithlife started 30 years ago with Logos Bible Software and a mission to grow in the light of the Bible. Our founder, Bob Prichett’s vision is to help save churches time by creating an integrated platform for them. He didn’t want to build another ChMS. Instead, he wanted to build an entire platform for the church. Faithlife Equip is that Integrated Ministry Platform.”
Faithlife Equip contains more than the traditional ChMS offering. It includes these Faithlife products in one integrated platform:
- Proclaim presentation software
- Online calendar & event management
- Digital bulletins and connection cards
- Church app
- Email and text messaging
- TV video library
A tightly integrated system provides new options for church leaders:
- A church could display a fundraising total on Proclaim in real-time as people donate online towards a new building project or another goal.
- When adding an event to the church’s online calendar, those details are immediately available to create a slide about the event or display it on the church website.
- While preaching a sermon series, a pastor could create a reading plan for the congregation using Logo Bible study content.
Additionally, Pushpay’s ChurchStaq™ includes several integrated features such as church apps, online giving, ChMS, and donor development functionality. Another company that has embraced the integrated platform concept is Tithe.ly. Tithe.ly started as an online giving platform. However, it now offers a ChMS, text messaging, website development, media, event registration, mobile apps, worship, and point-of-sale payment processing.
A Focus on Online Giving Fees
As more churches implemented online giving due to COVID, Chris Dolan of TouchPoint expects that “church leaders will start getting more savvy regarding their online giving fees. Some of the best or first-to-market solutions charge high fees. We rebuilt our giving platform in 2020 and integrated with payment providers that offer the lowest fees. We’ve been able to save individual churches tens of thousands in processing fees.”
Mobile App Development
Along with the movement towards more integrated platforms, Chris Dolan sees a trend with mobile apps. Not too long ago (and perhaps still underway), the debate was whether a church with a mobile-responsive website really needed a mobile app. Per Chris, “Mobile apps are changing from a repackaging of the website, to deeply integrating with the ChMS…providing personalized experiences for congregants.”
As ChMS vendors offer more integrated mobile apps, church members will be able to perform a variety of functions right from their smartphones:
- Update contact information
- Schedule a recurring donation
- Sign up for a small group
- Send an email to their small group roster
Church Management System Providers To Watch
As ChMS vendors merge and evolve, it will be interesting to watch what other players in the market to do respond and position themselves for the future. Some platforms to watch include:
- ACS Technologies
- Church Community Builder (CCB)
- Planning Center
- Shelby Systems
- TouchPoint Software
Future Demand for the Church Management Software Market
The demand for church management software remains strong. Church leaders will likely expect a ChMS product with a robust series of features as that becomes more prevalent and cost-effective.
Instead of using multiple software options for emails, texting, database management, online giving, and other operational functions, the ability to handle all those functions in a single program is beginning to appeal to many church leaders.
Which church management system does your church use?