Odds are, if you’re working for or volunteering with a church and you’re reading this site, you’re already using Planning Center Services. I’d even go as far to say that you probably don’t know how you would do what you do on a Sunday morning without the help and support of Planning Center Online apps, including Services, Check In, Resources, & Registrations.
Since coming on the scene, Planning Center Online has been the premiere developer of software designed to help churches organize, facilitate & execute their services and operations excellently. Honestly, I’m not sure how I could do my job well without their services app alone.
Before I go any further, you should know that I’m NOT endorsed or paid by Planning Center Online to say these wonderful things about their products. I’m simply a guy who is squarely in their desired customer base who loves what they do and how they do it. Plus, I want YOU to be able to do what you do even better, which will give you more time to do everything else you need to do. Sound good? Keep Reading.
Much like they did for those who plan services, I believe that an announcement PCO made recently about a new app has changed the game for anyone who uses church administration apps (i.e. any and all staff for a church).
In my experience, there has been no application or program that has had everything you want when it comes to managing church membership (or partnership at Journey). Some do certain things, but they are either dated, difficult to use, lack the ability to collaborate, are not connected to the cloud, or don’t interface with your giving information.
This has been frustrating and I’ve been waiting for a solution that fits all of our needs . . .
Planning Center People
Planning Center People is an app designed to help you organize and gather your church member’s contact data, membership information, and everything else you might need to know your people with confidence! And did I mention its designed beautifully?!
I’m so excited about Planning Center People that I wanted to let you in on what you need to know about the app and why this will hugely impact your entire staff! Here’s 3 things you need to know about Planning Center People:
Unlike other church membership applications, PC People is highly customizable. There are very helpful standard organizational structures built in, which helps you keep track of individuals (a page for each person), households (individuals who are connected together, even through multiple households), & even schools for kids & students (so smart)!
Beyond this, People allows you to create an unlimited number of Custom Fields, ranging from standard text fields to dates, checkboxes, and even dropdown boxes. You can further organize these custom fields by adding headings or even creating your own tabs.
Lets say that your Youth ministry wants to be able to track the interests of their students. Knowing what students are into football, drama, band, photography, or whatever else could help your leaders further understand which students they need to reach out to.
Lets say that your Kids ministry wants to be able to track kid’s allergies. Simply create a new section with checkboxes, and now you have a standard method for tracking allergies.
The possibilities are endless with Custom Fields, which means you can customize PC People to fit your church organizational structure perfectly on every level, from adults to babies. The more you customize your account, the better you’ll be able to find specific people in your church through the parameters you select. Which leads to the next thing . . .
Lists might sound like a simple tool for any database-type program, but when used properly, lists will save you time and help you equip your staff!
Basically, you can create smart lists (read: automatically updated) by setting up one or more rules from any Planning Center app (we’ll talk more about that in a moment), which can provide you with a customizable report or an easily exportable CSV file. If you take the time to customize your account by using custom fields and being diligent in inputting your people, then these Lists can be your ultimate communication tool!
What if you want to email all the parents of 2nd grade students at your church that go to a particular elementary school? A few clicks, and done.
What if you want to have a complete roster of everyone who has served in any capacity on a Sunday morning in the past year? A few clicks, and done.
Get the picture?
Lists give you the ability to connect, analyze, & engage with your church members like never before!
This means that all the information you ALREADY have in these apps can be, and already has been (WHAT?!?) imported into PC People. This means anytime someone interacts with one of these apps, you can track that in People and get a better picture of how they engage with your church. Even better, if someone updates their own information (i.e. new email, phone number, address, etc), it automatically updates PC People.
This kind of information is unprecedented in the church membership management world, and it is all housed in the cloud. This means you can connect to PC People from anywhere with Internet access. Macs, PCs, Chromebooks, you name it, it connects to PC People. No more logging in remotely to a terminal just so you can get an email address you need.
Now, you might be like me and be wondering about that last missing piece: Giving. Being involved with church administration means you need a great solution for tracking & facilitating giving for your church.
Well, Planning Center Online has responded by announcing they will be launching Planning Center Giving later this year. That’s right, their own app entirely dedicated to giving management. This means that all the information from giving will be available inside of PC People, where you will be able to see a person’s entire interaction at your church for the first time, from serving to giving to attendance. I told you they were changing the game!
If you are currently using another membership management application, you can likely export all of your information as a .CSV file and import it all directly into PC People. If that sounds confusing, I’m sure the guys at PCO would love to help you make that import happen.
One More Thing . . .
There’s one thing I forgot to let you know . . . it’s free. Like Free. I’m talkin’ FREE!!! That’s right, Planning Center People is free, and they want it to be free forever! (Did I say I loved these guys recently?)
You simply pay for the other apps you are probably already using, and People is free for you, forever. I hope you can now see why I was so excited about Planning Center People and why you should be too. Trust me, and go check out Planning Center People today!
If you have any questions, you can contact the Planning Center team here, or I would love to help you figure out how you can make all of the Planning Center Apps work best for you and your church.