This article lists the Planning Center products in the order that we recommend you sign up when setting up your ChMS and includes the basic tasks you need to do to get up and running with each product.
If you haven't already subscribed to your first product, first review this guide to determine where to get started with setting up your ChMS.
We recommend that you sign up for one or two products at a time in the order shown in the following sections.
The content in each section is targeted toward the Organization Administrators that subscribe to each product, but many of the tasks listed can also be performed by other product administrators, depending on their permission level.
People is the hub of your Planning Center database. Any information you need on an individual is in their profile, and People holds all the profiles.
What should I do in People?
You first need to add your congregants' information to the Planning Center database. You or another Organization Administrator might have already completed this task. If not, here are some tips on how to set this up:
Once you've added your congregant information, you can add other administrators, who will receive a guide based on their permissions.
Here are some things you'll use People on a regular basis:
Church Center integrates with Planning Center products to enable your church members to manage their profile information, donations, events they've registered for, and groups they attend or lead. They can also view a church calendar or directory and fill out forms.
Church Center is not a separate product. You might have already set it up in Accounts, but if not you will enable Church Center when you set up Giving.
For more information on Church Center, check out this Getting Started article.
Giving holds all donation information, from cash and check to online donations. Anything that has to do with tax-related donations is tracked in Giving.
Only the Organization Administrator who signed up for Giving has access. Any additional administrators have to be added manually.
What should I do in Giving?
When you first subscribe to Giving, you'll be walked through steps to set it up. Additional steps to set up Giving include:
Encouraging your church members to use a new giving platform can be daunting. Here are some tips to make that process a bit smoother:
- Give advance notice in multiple forms: email, text, social media, live announcements.
- Make the transition process easy to understand.
- Make yourself available to answer any questions and give assistance.
Many of your congregants will be checking in to attend a service. The best way to populate your database is to ask them to check themselves in, which allows you to track specific and general attendance.
What should I do in Check-Ins?
When you first subscribe to Check-Ins, you'll be walked through adding your first event. Additional steps to set up Check-Ins include:
If you already use a check-in system, we recommend a slow rollout for your church. Choose one month to run both systems simultaneously, and ask people to check into both systems only on the week that corresponds with their last name. Here's a format we've seen that works:
Week 1: A-F
Week 2: G-M
Week 3: N-R
Week 4: S-Z
Try to split the families as close to even as possible, and by the end of the month, you're ready to use Check-Ins on its own!
This system works well for most church sizes, but if you need help thinking through the rollout, reach out to our Support Team!
Services helps you schedule people and maintain an order of any service.
What if someone has already set up Services in our account?
Services is our oldest product, the one that started Planning Center! Many churches have used Services for their worship teams long before the church knew Planning Center was a Church Management Software.
If your church has been using Services, talk to the current Administrator to get familiar with how things are set up, and then follow the steps below.
What should I do in Services?
- Create a service type for your main service, and add your first plan.
If the service type already exists, you can manage new teams from the service type settings.
- Create teams and positions.
If the teams and positions already exist, talk to the team leader before making too many changes in order to keep any appropriate history.
- Add songs or media to use in your plans.
- Add team members to the account, and they will receive a guide based on their permission.
You can use Publishing to manage and customize Church Center where your congregants can access their contact information, donations, events, and much more.
Calendar shows your church-wide events and events taking place at your church. Your congregation can view them on Church Center.
What should I do in Calendar?
Because classes and groups are connected through community, make sure your congregation is familiar with Church Center before you enable Groups.
Groups creates a place for people to gather, virtually or physically, and connect with each other.
What should I do in Groups?
As you need people to register for events, you can use Registrations, which helps you gather information about people attending the events your church hosts.
What should I do in Registrations?