Archive for the ‘Ministry Software’ Category.

Summer Scheduling in Ministry Scheduler Pro

The sun is shining, temperatures are rising, and summer is approaching quickly. This transition into the new season often calls for ministry schedulers to make some special adjustments in the church schedule – and MSP is here to help!

Changing service times or ministry requirements

For changes in service times or ministry requirements from season to season, you can easily make adjustments in the Service Times pane of MSP – even creating different sets of services for a particular season if needed. The changes you make to the times or ministry requirements for services in this area will all be reflected the next time a schedule is created. If you have services that are not held during the summer months, it just takes one click to make them inactive so that they will not appear on your summer schedule.

Remind volunteers to input vacation dates

MSP has built-in email templates that make it easy to send important information to volunteers. One of these templates is called  “Request for updates to availability” and allows volunteers to input all of the times they cannot serve before you run a schedule. In this email template, you can include a little blurb to remind people to be sure to input their summer vacation dates. Collecting all of this information before the schedule is created saves valuable time and reduces the amount of swaps that need to be made later on.

Display special summer activities

Having a church picnic or outing this summer? The Web Terminal is a great place to display these special summer events as it can function as an online bulletin board for your volunteers. You can even edit the font size, color, and header of the Web Terminal to make it unique to the season or your particular church.

Want to see these features in action? Start a 30-Day Free Trial or purchase risk-free with our six-month money-back guarantee.


Ministry Leaders! 3 Reasons to Celebrate St. Isidore

Today, is April 4th, the feast day of St. Isidore of Seville, the patron saint of the Internet and technology.

Who was St. Isidore?

St. Isidore was deeply committed to the preservation of the Church’s past and wanted to prevent the dissemination of any teachings that were inconsistent with its history. Because of this, St Isidore compiled a vast encyclopedia of knowledge, known as the “Etymologiae”, which has been compared to the structure of a database.

Before you log into the Web Terminal or send out an email, think of St. Isidore and the path he paved to the technologies we have today.  If you are a Ministry Leader, you may have the following reasons to be extra thankful for this patron saint:

  1. Not having to call each of your volunteers about their schedule. Whew! What would once take hours, now takes a few minutes with the simple click of a button
  2. The ability to access shared documents online. You never have to worry about misplacing an important paper or having disorganized drawers of files– think of all the trees you are saving
  3. Requesting subs on behalf of volunteers and eliminating no shows. Long gone are the days of panic, searching the pews for scheduled volunteers. Keep everyone on the same page with a Web Terminal that updates with each and every change.

Spring Cleaning with MSP!

After Easter, you might be spending some time cleaning out your church office and packing away decorations until next year. Why not bring some of that energy and organization into your volunteer scheduling? Here are some spring cleaning tips to ensure summer scheduling goes smoothly:

- Clear out old “Can’t serve dates/times”

Keep your database tidy and get rid of old can’t serve times. To do this, go to the Volunteers pane in MSP, click on a volunteer, and then “Edit Volunteer”. On the right side in the “Can’t serve times” section, click the “Clean…” button and choose “Clean all.” Click OK when done, and all expired can’t serve times will be removed.

- Onboard new volunteers and check in with current ones

With all the hustle and bustle of New Years and Easter, you’ve likely had a spike in interest in volunteering. Capture that momentum and be sure to get those folks into your system or send them your enrollment form so they can get started themselves. Now is also a great time to check in with your current volunteers, thank them for their service, and ask them to update their profiles. If you haven’t heard from some volunteers in a while, consider whether or not now is the time to remove these long-time inactive members from your volunteer list. If you are not sure, we recommend emailing your inactive volunteers to see if they plan to serve again in the future.  If they will not be returning to serve, just go to your Volunteers pane, find their name, and click the “Delete Volunteer” button.

-Update your Preassignments

Preassignments are the first positions to populate a schedule once you click the “Create…” button.  These preassignments may change with volunteers who have shifting spring and summer schedules. Take note of these changes and save yourself time by making sure everything is correct and in place before running your next schedule.


3 Tips to Help Your Congregation THRIVE This Easter

Written by John Gilman II

Easter is just around corner, giving churches across the land the opportunity to snag a few “CEO” Christians. The affectionate moniker refers to people who attend church on “Christmas and Easter Only”. For many, it’s a chance to don their fanciest church attire and engage in the annual tradition of an Easter service. For church leaders, it’s a chance to make a genuine connection that could lead to life change, and few more committed members.

To make the most of Easter Sunday church members should be encouraged and empowered to engage in the service itself as well as the promotion of your special event.

The following are some specific examples, but are by no means the only great ideas out there. It might behoove you to poll your people to see what unique opportunities would fit your community.

Here are three easy tips to increase engagement in the vitality of the Spring season.

1) Hold a Concert

- Your worship band or choir works really hard every Sunday at something they love to do. Allowing them to showcase their passion also gives them a better reason to invite friends and family who might not normally attend. After the worship service, you could even consider having a Karaoke contest to get church members involved and connected.

2) Schedule a Spring Cleaning

- In addition to clearing out the clutter in your homes and church, donating items to a local charity or selling them in a fundraising event is a great way to get members and volunteers involved in a creative, cost-effective, and meaningful way.

3) Host a 5k run/walk in The Neighborhood

- Yet another great way to get members and friends involved outside of Sunday services in a non-threatening and life-giving event. This could be a great follow up to an Easter Sunday special service.

Whatever you do on and surrounding Easter, make an event out of it. When people gather together for a specific purpose they see how their involvement in a local congregation breathes vitality into the lives of others. That fulfillment leads to excitement, creating momentum to propel your church into new life.

Get your members involved in sharing the news by posting all your event information online. From there, they can post it to social media, share it on their feeds, and invite new people to help your church thrive in a fresh new season.

As you make the most of this Easter opportunity, remember, people are searching for real relationships with real people. The people and activities in your church might be just what they’re looking for.

This article was written by John Gilman II of ACS Technologies. John is the Senior Director of Marketing and is chiefly responsible for Marketing’s overall corporate strategy and direction. He has traveled the world many times over working with some of America’s top brands and prominent non-profit ministries. John is passionate about helping the church make disciples. Follow John on Twitter through @ACSTech.

Tips for Easter Scheduling

Easter opens up special opportunities for volunteers to serve. But these new opportunities create special challenges for schedulers.  Use the tips below to ensure your Easter scheduling goes smoothly.

  • Create “Yearly Services”: Before you create your schedule containing your Easter dates, build your Easter services in the Service Times pane as new “Yearly Services.”  Once you create these services, they will appear in your schedule each year to come. MSP will even remind you to change the date of the service for future years.
  • Create “One-Time Services”: If you have already created your schedule but do not have your Easter services in the system yet, there is another option for you!  You will need to create your services directly on the schedule. Just find the date where one of these special services occurs and click “New Service.” These services will not repeat next year, though. So you’ll still want to go to the Service Times pane and create your Yearly services so you’re set for years to come!
  • Adjust Volunteer Preferences: If you have manually added a service to the schedule and are planning on auto-scheduling based on your volunteers’ preferences, you will want to check out the “Treat as” dropdown in this window to be sure the correct volunteers are scheduled. If you want any of your volunteers to be scheduled for any of your special services, regardless of service preferences, you will want to double check your Scheduler Settings to ensure they are correct.

For more help with scheduling Easter, check out Frequently Asked Questions on special services or watch the “Tips and Tricks for Scheduling Easter” webinar. Don’t hesitate to email support or ask the MSP discussion group for tips!


Upgrading to MSP’s Plus Edition

Moving from MSP’s Online to Plus Edition is fast and easy.  As soon as your upgrade payment goes through, you’ll gain instant access to valuable new features without having to download anything new.

Continue reading ‘Upgrading to MSP’s Plus Edition’ »

Top 3 obstacles when implementing scheduling software …and how to overcome them!

If you’re considering scheduling software or are helping a church with their decision, the hurdles below probably sound familiar. Here are some tips we’ve learned from our users for how to get over them: Continue reading ‘Top 3 obstacles when implementing scheduling software …and how to overcome them!’ »

The Most Helpful Overlooked Features: Attendance Tracking

This series will help you take advantage of all that MSP has to offer!

Did you know that you can track volunteer attendance in MSP? Tracking attendance is simple, and doing so can help reduce no shows and encourage volunteers to do their part! You can track attendance and use this information to cut back on no shows by following these four simple steps:

Continue reading ‘The Most Helpful Overlooked Features: Attendance Tracking’ »

New and Improved MSP Trial!

With the latest release of Ministry Scheduler Pro comes a new and improved 30-day free trial! One of the most frequent requests from users of the trial was the ability to see MSP’s web features in action – and now you can do just that! During the trial, you can now experience how MSP’s web features will save you time and actually help grow volunteer participation in ministry by:

- Easily posting your ministry schedule online
- Reducing no-shows with easy online substitute requests
- Eliminating data entry work by allowing volunteers to update their own availability online

And now, two people evaluating MSP on separate computers can access the same database and work together. Exploring your ministry scheduling options and getting a true preview of the power of effective scheduling has never been easier!

Interested in getting started, or still have questions about what’s possible during the trial? Visit our website to sign up for a free trial today, or leave a comment or question below!

MSP v6.2: Introducing Liturgy and Worship Planning!

MSP v6.2 has been released! We are thrilled to announce this new version of our ministry scheduling software, which will transform how you keep volunteers informed and engaged!

With MSP v6.2, you can:

Continue reading ‘MSP v6.2: Introducing Liturgy and Worship Planning!’ »