This week we’re continuing looking at free church management solutions. Here are four necessities we’re looking at for church management.
1. Centralized communication
2. Centralized church schedule
3. Efficient attendance-keeping
4. Guest follow-up
Two weeks ago we posted some free communication options for churches. You can view it here. This week we’ll look at some options for church scheduling.
Church scheduling is vital to every church. Almost every department uses scheduling to make sure their volunteers know when to teach, sing, emcee, usher, etc. When it comes to church scheduling, you want to make sure it’s centralized, because the volunteers at our churches don’t enjoy having 3 different schedules handed to them from 3 different ministries. These 3 calendar apps all do that well.
1. Google Calendar
Google Calendar is a great free online calendar, and up until the new Outlook.com revamp, it was my #1 choice.
- Online (In the Cloud) – Easy. Manage your calendars anywhere.
- Attachments – With Google Labs enabled, you can add attachments to the events that you create, which means you could attach chord charts for musicians or curriculum for teachers.
- Video Call - A newer feature is the ability to have video conferences through Google Calendar.
2. Apple’s Calendar
Apple’s Calendar (formerly iCal) is one of the sleekest and easiest calendar apps out there. Note: If you are sharing a calendar with someone through Calendar they must have an icloud.com account. It’s free.
- Clean and Simple - Calendar is well designed, and the updates that are coming in the fall are looking to make it even better.
- Attachments - Just like Google Calendar, Apple’s Calendar also has attachments to your events available.
- Best for iOS - If you own an iPhone, Apple’s Calendar is hands down the best app to use. The desktop and iOS app work seamlessly together.
Outlook.com and the new Outlook app have received a major update recently. The changes are definitely for the better.
- Desktop and Online – Outlook has an upper hand here. They are the only option of these three that has a desktop, mobile, and online app.
- Modern look – Whether you’re an Apple or Microsoft fanboy, you have to admit, Microsoft’s new look is bold and modern. I love the new design of Outlook.com.
- Great Integration – Outlook.com makes it a little bit easier to get between your calendar, contacts, email, and cloud-based drive, than Google.
These are all great options for scheduling. If your team isn’t all on Macs or using iOS devices, I would go with Google Calendars or Outlook.com. If you can, try to get everyone on the same app, that way everyone has the same capabilities available.
So, how do I integrate centralized scheduling using these apps? I don’t know if your church is like ours, but we have one church calendar with all the events for the year. Then, each department also creates schedules for volunteers. First, lets look at the easiest way to centralize and manage the main church calendar.
Scheduling the Main Church Calendar
- Instead of having one person schedule the entire calendar (like a secretary), have each director or leader create their department’s calendar with their own Google/iCloud/Outlook account and have one person manage them all. This spreads out the load.
- Have each director/leader share (with “write and read” privileges) their department’s calendar with the person managing the main church calendar, and then share (with only “read” privileges) their department’s calendar with their team of volunteers.
- Create a calendar for each position. Example: The Worship director/leader would create a calendar for drums, keyboard, guitar, praise singer-tenor, praise singer-alto, etc.
- Then, have the events be the volunteer’s names. Example: On the Drums calendar you would create an event on Sunday titled John Smith. Use this template to schedule all of your volunteers.
- Change the color for all of your calendars. Example: Have the Drums calendar be blue, the Praise Singer-Tenor calendar be red, etc.
- Share (with “read only” privileges) each calendar with only the volunteers involved with that schedule. Example: You wouldn’t send John Smith the Bass calendar if he doesn’t play bass.
- Finally share (with “read only” privileges) each calendar with other directors/leaders that may be scheduling the same volunteers for their department/ministry. They can hide the calendar if they get tired of seeing all the names.
- Added Bonus: To make it easier on the volunteers, you could invite the volunteer that is scheduled to their event. That way they get a reminder before they are scheduled to volunteer. Example: On the Drums schedule you created a John Smith event for Sunday. You can also invite John Smith to the event. Now he gets a reminder email.
In conclusion, church scheduling can get monotonous and time consuming. Hopefully this has helped shed some light on some great free options to centrally integrate your church schedule.
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