I’m always on the lookout for new tools to help me in my ministry. It’s fascinating to see how others work, and I love having something that really helps me in what I do. A good ministry tool allows us to be far more effective in serving the Lord.
One tool that I often talk about is Planning Center. Planning Center is a suite of apps that work together to provide church management software. It’s modular, so you only pay for what you need. Most of the apps come with native apps for iOS and Android, but they all have scaleable websites that work equally well on a computer or phone.
We use Planning Center extensively at our church to keep attendance, an updated directory, schedule volunteers, etc. Services is the primary app we use, and the most helpful to me. I use it for scheduling musicians, ushers, and setup crew, as well as providing a place for our musicians to set their schedule and look up songs. I’ve written about this previously Here
One Planning Center app I’ve recently begun using is Groups. I’ve recently begun using it for our youth ministry, and it is has been extremely helpful! Groups allows you to set up a small group site for any group in your church. It could be a class, ensemble, choir, or ministry. It then allows you to add members, events, and resources to your group.
Members are anyone you want to place in your group. For example, I have my teens and their parents in our group. Anyone can go to our site and see some basic information like a description, service times, and contact information for me and my wife, but only members can see more detailed information. You can also designate a member as a leader, which gives them more access to information like the calendar.
Events allows you to set a group schedule. This has been extremely helpful for me! I put all of our youth activities here. Members can look at the schedule and RSVP directly on the site. They can even link the schedule to their calendar app of choice, like Google Calendar or Apple Calendar. I can put a detailed description of each event, including date and time. I can set automated reminders for each event, or send them manually. Each email I send comes with an RSVP option, which makes keeping track of attendance a breeze.
Resources are PDFs, links, articles, or videos that I want our youth group to have easy access to. This is an area I am still exploring, but I have already uploaded things like a short guide to writing a sermon, and additional videos that cover topics we are learning about in youth class.
Groups also creates a front-facing site for each group. This is very helpful in giving guests a place they can go to easily find information on your ministry. It gives members a place where they can easily find great information on your group. It helps me as a leader to keep everything organized and provide helpful resources to my youth group. It helps my group have easy access to our calendar and other resources!
If you want to take a look at our group page, you can go to connectyouthministries.com.
Take a look at Planning Center Groups at https://planning.center/groups/; you may find it to be a great tool!