Make Your Own Church Management "Software"

If you would like to have your own, fully customizable, sharable, password-protected, web-based Church Management software, you can! And you can do it for FREE! All you need is a Google Account (as will anyone you wish to share access with) and a little time. Here's how...

Step #1:  If you don't already have one, go to Google and get a Free account. The basis of this Free Church Management "Software" is Google Docs. For a brief explanation of how it all works in plain English check out this two minute YouTube video...






Step #2:  Signed in to your Google account, go to Google Docs to set up your spreadsheets, documents, and presentations. You can also import existing databases, documents and presentations with the "Upload" button on the task bar. cf. these Templates to get you started or check out these official Google Templates.



Step #3:  Share your databases, documents, and presentations with your member volunteers, church council, elders, and the like. With the file open, click on the "Share" button in the top right-hand corner. If you want to keep the data safe and password-protected "Invite people..." insert the email addresses of those you want to share access with and keep the "Always require sign-in" button checked. (Note: They will need a Google account to access so send them here if they have trouble.) If you want to make it public (like a church calendar, or worship plan), then select "Share with the world" and "Let people view (or edit) without signing in." When members or visitors without access try to access a page without permission it will not let them, keeping your Church Management "software" easily shareable and yet secure.



Step #4:  Create a portal to your documents, databases, and presentations, as well as calendars, existing websites, or other external links using Google Sites. Create a webpage and be sure to make it accessible to the world. (Note: Don't worry, your data is still password-secure, so they will only see the website with the links, not the docs themselves.) Catagorize and name your databases, highlight the name and select "Link" from the task bar. Then copy the address from your document (it will be a long string of letters and numbers and will look something like this: http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=psjR3AHbLOwV4F5hgDjvyTg) and paste it into the "Web Address" option of the link. (Hint: You may also want to check "Open this link in a new window" to keep your portal open.)





Step #5 (optional):  Go to GoDaddy.com  or some other domain name registration site and find a more memorable domain name than http://sites.google.com/site/gethsemaneadmin/home , maybe something like "YourChurch.info" (Note: Most .info domains go for $.99/yr. .com's sell for $9.99. Both are renewable on an annual basis.) This makes it easier to share your Church Management with volunteers. Once you've purchased the domain name, "Manage My Domains," click on the domain name and then "Forward" in the task bar. Check the "Enable Forwarding" box and copy and paste the sites.google.com address into the field and make the move permanent. Hit okay and in within a few hours your new domain should point to the Google site "portal.


Step #6:  Share the link with your members. They will have one easy to remember site they can bookmark to access all the church info they have access to. Volunteers can enter and edit data from home rather than one or two church computers giving them freedom to work their volunteer hours into their own time and to save on travel. "Many hands make light work" and more can easily get involved in the joys of ministering to God's people! Enjoy the blessings that God's gifts of technology bring!

For questions, comments or help, feel free to email pastorguenther@gmail.com . I'll help you as soon as I'm able.

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