Church Management Systems

Current Solution (Community Church Builder)

Our current solution is Community Church Builder CCB, the site is located here.
The current software has an excellent back-end, but does not provide any CMS/Web hosting. Although it is possible to create a separately hosted web site, there is no obvious way to integrate the CCB backend with an external web application.

This leads to a serious dilemma when we want to have public group websites. It appears to be impossible to publsh group content to the web without requiring any visitor to obtain a CCB login.

The CCB site’s security model seems to be rather weak at first glance. The inability to publish groups without requiring a login is one example, another example is their document management solution. All documents published in a group are completely visible to the outside word regardless of the group’s privacy settings. This is due to the use of an external FTP server for document their document hosting solution. This requires that the FTP site publish all documents as public, snce there is no mechanism for passing the CCB credentials to the FTP server for file download. The license of CCB that we are using will cost us $600 per year, but we are still in an evaluation period.

Pros

  • Role-based security, users can be given varying levels of administrative access for Groups or the Church as a whole

Cons

  • No webhosting/integration with externally hosted website.
  • No hosting of documents, this means that document management does not leverage the CCB security model.
  • Groups canot be organized hierarchically, all groups appear at the same level

New Solutions

We found a website that provides an extensive searchable/filterable list of Church Management Software. We have begun to evaluate some alternative software that might be more feature-rich than CCB. We have created a matrix of features for some various web-based solutions here.

Ascribe

The first software package that we investigated in depth was Ascribe.

Pros

  • Hosting plan includes Webhosting/CMS
  • Hierarchical groups
  • Unlimited public webpages for groups

Cons

  • A bit more costly ($125/mo for first 200 regularly attending church members).
  • Only 1GB of webhosting space in the standard base plan

 

 

Other Churches’ Solutions

We have also investigating church websites that are very slick, and/or include features/design patterns we wish to replicate.

South Side Life

At the 2007 Internet Ministry Conference, Tom and I went to a seminar in which a church group from Chilliwack, British Columbia demonstrated their church site South Side Life. They have a number of good ideas for their site:

  • Including community-related content on the church site to increase traffic
  • Microsites for community interests such as hiking that link back tot he church site and drive up traffic ans search engine rankings

New Hope Chruch

New Hope Church essentially created the foundations of the Ascribe church management system back in 2001.

  • Church classifieds system called iNeed
  • Internet Church Campus provides a chatroom, live video feed of the service, etc.
  • Video feeds of sermons with side-by-side notes

More Sample Church sites

Pinecrest
Christian Life Center
Faith Developers
Calvary Chapel
Lakeside Church
Lakeside Life
The village church
10 must see sites

Church site design help sites

CMS Matrix

A faily in-depth feature comparison specific to donor/financials trackign has been compiled by the makers of the Soul Management system here.

We have reviewed a number of web-based software packages:

 

Software Package Price (Annual) Licensing Webhosting Group Organization Group Website Contributions Management
Community Church Builder $600 Site License None Flat Private/Non-extensible Yes
Ascribe $1500+ By Membership Yes Hierarchical Public/Full website Yes
Kingdom Tools Unknown Site License Templates/CMS Unknown No Support? Yes
IconCMO $304+ By Membership None Heirarchical No Support Yes
Arcturus Web Systems $660+ Per Module Templates/Custom Unknown No Explicit Support No
ChurchDB $120+ By Membership/Per Module Unknown Hierarchical Unknown Yes: Integrated Online Giving
Church Ledger $72-420 Open Source Available Unknown Unknown Yes
Church Membership Online $113+ By Membership Included/Not integrated Flat No Support Yes