I am a big proponent of web-based church management systems that are hosted by a third party. This would also be called a "cloud" approach to managing your church information. It is particularly useful when your church leadership is geographically spread out. The following systems are recommended systems. I do not claim for this list to be a comprehensive guide to all ChMS products. If you want a detailed list of features of the various systems, see the information on the Christian Computing website. Each of the following has strengths and weaknesses. It is important to do enough research to determine if it provides functionality that you need.
- Fellowship One - A comprehensive system with a lot of functionality and extensive reporting. This is a great choice for a church that is using one of the older systems like Shelby or ACS and wants to move to a web-based system. With many options comes a great deal of complexity. This is a "lot of system" for many small churches.
- Church Community Builder - A comprehensive system with a great way of creating custom work processes like event follow up or visitor connection. This is a very good system for a church built on small groups. (that is a church of small groups, not a church with small groups) Churches that are not group centric may struggle a bit with the group approach use throughout the system.
- Connection Power - The best part of this system by far is what they call "Power Visitor". Connection Power was recently purchased by Active Network which also just purchased Fellowship One. Connection Power will essentially be going away. Their current customers have the option of converting to the current version of F1 or to wait until a new version comes out sometime in 2012. Stay tuned...
- Ignite CRM - This is new system from Faith Highway. It is built with visitor connection and engagement in mind. Like I said, it is new, but I like what I see so far. Unfortunately, it does not yet provide a secure kiosk check-in feature.
If you have a success story to share, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!