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Church Management: 17 Simple (And Effective!) Tips

Church Management: 17 Simple (And Effective!) Tips

Church management is the combination of the spiritual and the organizational. In a practical sense, managing the staff of a church takes the same skill-set as managing any other staff because at their core, churches function much like small businesses.

Your pastors and administrators take on the majority of the managerial duties that encompass the day-to-day tasks. This helps them fulfill the overarching goals for the church. 

But it’s the entire church’s responsibility to hold the administration staff accountable. Therefore, helpful guides for effective church management (like this one) are for more than just your staff members!

Whether you are developing a church management system or checking up on a current system, keep in mind the best practices for church management. These best practices include:

  1. Choosing the best membership software.
  2. Improving your tithing strategies.
  3. Planning your church’s events.
  4. Managing finances responsibly.
  5. Communicating effectively.

From effective church communication to fundraising to ensuring smoothly run Sunday services, church management is not something to be taken lightly. It’s necessary to keep everything running properly and efficiently.

Ready to get started putting into practice the best church management strategies? Let’s dive in!


Church Management and Membership Software

One of the many jobs of the church administrators is buying membership and management software (emailing services, CRMs, etc.) to help manage the church’s members.

Whether you are starting a church or simply updating your technology, take note of these best practices to get the most out of your software platforms’ services.

1. Determine What Features You Need From Church Management Software

Determine all of the important church management tasks need to be done, then which of those can be automated and actively improved through the purchase of church management and membership software.

Some of these features and tasks may include:

  • Keeping track of members and donors. This function can be easily taken care of by an effective CRM (constituent relationship management) system.
  • Sending mass emails to members. A mail merge system can help you organize, segment, and and mass email important communications and messages to members.
  • Fundraising for various events. Fundraising software will help you to more easily collect and track donations from your members and outside supporters.
  • Accounting for your regular budget. Accounting software will help you maintain your finances and stay on track for the budget you set at the beginning of the fiscal year.

After you’ve made a list of all of the features your church will need from various software, you can start looking for church management software that will be a best fit for your organization. You may even find some software solutions that offer a few of these features in a single system.

Be sure to pick software that will support your mission and fits the size and vision of your church.

2. Create a Strategy With Your Church Management Team for Welcoming New Members

Welcome new members with church management best practices.

If you’re taking major steps to grow your church, it’s likely that you’ll have multiple members sign up at once. Having a streamlined system in place will make the process of bringing new members into the fold more painless.

As soon as your new member submits their membership paperwork, you should shoot off welcome packet materials without a second thought. For instance, make sure you have on hand prewritten:

  • Emails.
  • Letters.
  • Informative documents.

Having a streamlined system in place will facilitate the process of bringing new members into the fold.

3. Update and Clean Church Membership Data Frequently

Software is only helpful so long as it is kept up-to-date with the goings-on from your church.

Think about it this way: Let’s say you send your church email newsletter each month (which is a great idea!), but forget to update your email list. You could be sending your newsletter to old members who are no longer with your church or to mistaken email addresses. Or, you could accidentally leave new members off the email list.

If your church membership software is not up to date, you run the risk of sending emails to the wrong people or not sending them to new members. However, if it is up-to-date, you minimize the chance of this type of hiccup.

Be sure your church management team has a plan in place to regularly update your various software systems. We recommend assigning a particular administrator to the task, then setting up a weekly time frame to commit to these updates.

Tithing Strategies for Church Management

As the church administrator, one of your chief duties to the ministry is to make sure that the finances are all in order. Because churches are actually more like small businesses than not, there are a lot of financial factors to consider. You’ll need to be aware of what paperwork to file, how to manage a bank account, how to avoid fraudulent activity, and how to effectively fundraise.

4. Implement Text-to-Tithe as an Alternative to the Offering Plate


Texting-to-tithe is a great invention that allows your congregants to give to the church even when they’ve forgotten their wallets and checkbooks. All they need is a phone and the ability to text!

This strategy, and the steps to start, is simple:

  1. First, find a text-to-tithe provider (like Snowball!) that is safe and offers the features your church needs.
  2. Second, get a unique text-to-give number from the provider for your tithers to send their donations to.
  3. Then, feature the number in your bulletin and on your website so it’s easy for members to find.

Once you have everything set up, your members simply have to text the number to send in their donation. After texting, they will be sent a link to an encrypted email with a prewritten message. If it’s the member’s first time giving, they’ll need to fill out a short donation form. When they give again next week, they’ll simply send the email!

More often than not, churchgoers forget to bring checks to church, but it’s unlikely that you’ll catch anyone without their cell phone. With fewer barriers to tithing, churchgoers will be far more inclined to give.

5. Let Churchgoers Give Straight from their Emails

Email donation buttons are another technological advance that is making it far easier for churches to raise money from congregants. To tithe, all a church member has to do is click on the button and follow the subsequent steps. That way, they can give in just 2 clicks!

Emails are already an effective fundraising technique because they are sent directly to your members’ inboxes. But if all of your emails became fundraising opportunities, imagine the spike you’d see in gifts!

As a church administrator, you probably send out dozens of emails a day, from newsletters to prayer requests and surveys to daily scriptures. Adding a button to this content you’re already sending out has a couple major benefits:

  • Buttons are eye-catching. It’s easy to pick them out from the rest of the email, making it more likely that members will see the opportunity to tithe.
  • Buttons don’t take away attention. While they do draw the eye initially, buttons are subtle enough that they don’t distract from the rest of the content.

Adding a donation button directly to your email templates is an easy way to increase the visibility of your tithing opportunities without distracting your readers or sounding pushy.

6. Display Your Goal Using Fundraising Thermometers

Fundraising thermometers are a great church management strategy.

Fundraising thermometers and other gamification techniques are amazing incentives for collecting tithings for a particular church project.

For instance, let’s just say you’re fundraising for new pews for your chapel. You do the math and figure you’ll need around $20,000 to make the purchase. Set your fundraising thermometer at $20,000. Then, each contributor can visually see the impact of their gift toward your goal!

You can include a fundraising thermometer to your fundraising strategy in two ways:

  • An old fashioned sign in the lobby of the church. You can color this sign in for every benchmark reached as your members give. The advantage to this method is that your church members will see it every Sunday. The disadvantage of this method is that you need to approximate the impact gifts make and can’t update it for each and every gift—only benchmarks.
  • An online thermometer that updates automatically. This fundraising thermometer is featured directly on your fundraising page and automatically increases “temperature” with each donation. The disadvantage to this method is that people will only see it when they visit your website. The advantage is that it’s automatic, making life easier for you and appealing to more donation sizes.

Make fundraising thermometers more fun by hosting celebrations for major benchmarks reached on the way to your goal. For instance, you may host a pizza party for the first $5,000 raised, a movie night when you hit $10,000, and so on and so forth.

7. Get Congregants Involved with Peer-to-Peer Fundraising


Peer-to-peer fundraising is not just a great fundraising strategy, but also a great marketing strategy for your church. Effectively, this method of fundraising empowers your supporters to raise funds on behalf of your church.

Peer-to-peer fundraising works like this:

  1. First, you set up a campaign page for your church’s project for which you are fundraising.
  2. Next, your supporters set up individual fundraising pages for the same project.
  3. Then, these supporters share the fundraising page with their individual networks.
  4. Finally, their network donates to the cause, helping support your church.

This method is incredibly effective because you’re not only appealing to your church’s network of support. 

When your supporters share their fundraising pages to their own online networks, they are spreading the word about your church far and wide across the internet. This is why social media is a great platform on which your supporters can share their peer-to-peer fundraising pages.

So if your church management staff is looking to market your church for more community awareness as well as raise money for upcoming projects, be sure they are aware of opportunities such as peer-to-peer fundraising.

Church Management and Fundraising Events

Church management staff, both the pastor and administrative task, should be involved with the events your church hosts. This is because church events are likely used for fundraising or stewardship.

If for fundraising, your entire staff should be involved to show strong leadership at the fundraising event. They should be there for stewardship events in order to foster the family aspect of the church congregation.

8. Choose an Event that Best Fits Your Church’s Congregation

Church management teams should choose great events.If you’re considering hosting an event for your church, make sure you choose one that is mission-appropriate. By this, we mean you should be brainstorming events that are connected to the overall mission of the church as well as the singular mission of that church project.

There are a few questions you must ask in order to ensure this:

  • What is your ultimate goal of hosting the event? Make sure you know what your ultimate goal is and the checklist of necessary steps to get there.
  • Are you planning on working with another organization? If you are, be sure that other organization has a mission that aligns with the mission statement of your church.
  • Is there a particular project your church is working to support through the event? See if you can keep a theme going with the ultimate project for your church.

Let’s just say you’re hosting an event to raise money for the homeless population in your area. You may choose to partner with a local nonprofit with the same mission (especially if they are already affiliated with the Faith). When planning the event, try hosting a fun activity like encouraging a youth sleepover where the youth group camps in cardboard boxes outside to experience what it’s like not to have proper shelter.

Other event ideas you may choose from include ideas like a:

  • Silent auction.
  • Lock-in.
  • 5K.
  • Kickball tournament.
  • Christmas pageant.
  • Pig roast and bonfire.

No matter what event is best for your church, make sure your entire church management team is on board. Then, get started planning!

9. Ensure Your Church Management Team Plans and Organizes Events Ahead of Time

Depending on the scope of the event your church is hosting, you could spend 6 to 8 months planning an effective fundraising or stewardship event.

There’s nothing worse than scrambling to put together an event with only a few weeks to plan. The best way to achieve the most profitable and well thought out events is to start early and leave yourself some wiggle room for extenuating circumstances.

Not only should you be sure your plan is comprehensive, but you should also make sure to have back-up plans B and even C just in case. 

Start with how your event will help raise money for the project it will fund. The fundraising element may include event activities such as:

  • The registration fees.
  • Merchandise sold.
  • Auction profits.
  • Raffle profits.

Next, the church management team should focus on funding the event itself. You may host a campaign leading up to the event. For instance, you may choose to host:

Finally, you should start planning the activities themselves that you’ll host and begin marketing your event. Make sure to stay organized during this aspect of the process. You may choose to invest in event planning software or keeping track with spreadsheets if it’s a smaller affair.

10. Brainstorm Additional Ways to Raise Money During Events

In addition to raising money through your main source of income from your fundraising event, there are plenty of other less conventional methods of raising money that can be used during your event. Therefore, in order to make the most of your event, your church management staff should employ as many of these conventional and unconventional methods as deemed appropriate.

It’s important to ensure your church supporters never feel as though they are being harassed by your church administration. However, they should also know about the options available to them. It’s a careful balance to  strike.

A couple of the easiest and classiest ways to raise some extra money during your event include:

  • A text-to-give option. If you already have a text-to-give number as an offering plate alternative, this option is that much easier for your church to execute! Announce at the event that if your supporters want to give, they just need to text their donation to the pre-established number from your software provider.
  • A silent auction. Whether you host your silent auction online or at the event, you’ll find people swarming the tables to see what types of prizes you have to offer. Contact local businesses and ask them to donate for the cause. You never know what they’ll have in store!
  • Matching gifts. Matching gifts are gifts given through the corporate philanthropy programs of your donors’ employers. Some organizations, like Double the Donation offer a database where people can search to find their eligibility status straight from the online donation page. This is especially effective if your church partners with a nonprofit because churches are frequently excluded from matching gift eligibility.

While these are just our three recommendations, there are plenty of other ways to raise money during your event. All your church management team has to do is get creative!

11. Thank Fundraising Event Participants

Church management teams should always say “thank you.”Whether it’s emailing a quick “Thanks” to your event participants or following up with a phone call or handwritten letter, it’s critical to send some kind of acknowledgement as soon as possible after an event.

Appreciation can go a long way in your church. Not only will people feel as though they are appreciated for their actions, but they may also feel more connected with the church as a whole and more inclined to get involved with other activities. 

Try thanking them with a quick email or maybe even something more! No matter what, make sure your supporters feel appreciated.

Financial Best Practices for Church Management

Your church management team works hard to make sure your church’s finances are up-to-date and responsibly handled. Standardizing a process to keep up with financial management is key to organizing your records and responsibly allocating your funds.

12. Break Each Church Management Goal Into Daily, Weekly, and Monthly To-Dos

Church administrators often get bogged down by the enormity of tasks they’re assigned and the frequency with which they’re assigned them. The only way to tackle such gigantic tasks is to turn them into smaller tasks that can be taken one day at a time.

The best advice for a church administrator with a goal (from large goals like organizing the Christmas pageant to small goals like switching coffee providers) is to break each goal down into the most granular tasks that comprise it and create a timeline that displays each goal as it’s broken down.

Once these mini tasks are set, you’ll find it much easier to swallow even the largest tasks at hand. This advice pairs perfectly with tip number 9 (plan everything in advance) because it can be difficult to set these mini tasks effectively if you are too close to the activity itself.

Delegate the tasks once they are set. You can delegate this to various members on the church management team or to other staff members within the church to make it easier.

13. Create a Church Management Budget and Stick to It

Effective church management requires effective budgeting techniques.Every 3 months, it’s important to have a check-in meeting with your church’s board (as 501(c)3 churches are required to have managing boards) to ensure that you’re sticking to the budget you set out at the beginning of the fiscal year.

Be sure to allocate certain parts of your budget for all of your expenses, including:

  • Building operations.
  • Staff paychecks.
  • Mission trips.
  • Christian education supplies.
  • Bibles and other books.
  • Music supplies.

If your a part of a church management team for a small church, you may be able to track your finances through a simple spreadsheet. However, larger churches will find management much easier through a comprehensive accounting software.

Three month check-ins with this budget does not leave a long enough amount of time for your budget to be irreparably set off course. If you catch mistakes or oversights in fund allocations early enough, you can redirect and correct them in the coming quarter.

14. Allocate Room in Your Budget for an Emergency Fund

Because your church relies on the generosity of its congregants, there’s usually not an excess of funding flowing your way. That’s why it’s vital that your church set 10% of its monthly tithing away each month in case of a disaster or an immediate need.

Although we all hope your church will never see such a disaster, it’s always good church management to be prepared for such an event. This could be allocated for something as destructive as a flood, or something as simple as a broken staircase railing. Either way, it’s a necessary fund to have available for any church.

Each month or quarter, set aside an agreed upon amount expressly for emergencies. If at the end of the fiscal year, this money has to been spent, portion some of it out for an extra fun event and allocate the rest for next year’s emergency fund budget.

Church Administration Communication Tips

Not only do church administrators have to be miracle-workers behind the scenes of church management, they also have to be great communicators. From calling members, writing newsletters, and updating blogs, administrators have a lot of plates to keep spinning. Use these tips to help you balance them all at once.

15. Update Your Website and Blog Regularly

When you update the website and the church blog on a regular schedule, your members are more likely to check it and glean useful information from it. Imagine their disappointment when they go to check the website for the most recent information about the goings-on in the church, and it hasn’t been updated in 4 months. They’d never check it again!

Just as it’s important to be consistent in other aspects of your job as a church administrator, it’s also incredibly important to maintain the website and blog of the church on a regular basis.

Decide what that schedule is, whether it’s daily, weekly, every other week, or even just monthly, and stick to it no matter what. Remember, it’s okay to delegate tasks like this one if you feel overwhelmed.

If you’re looking for updates for this blog, look for inspiration from the most recent worship service. Members will love finding a connection between their Sunday worship and their evening online reading. Plus, it can provide even more educational insight for a topic you are focusing on as a congregation. How great is that?

16. Publish and Pass Out a Monthly or Weekly Newsletter

Effective church management often requires a regular newsletter.Just as you should commit to updating the website on a regular basis, your church administration team should also aim to publish your newsletter on a consistent schedule.

Some of your church’s members won’t want to check the website or blog to keep current with the happenings in and around the church. For those members, it’s important to have something physical or easy to access via email so that everyone can keep informed.

Your church newsletter should contain information such as:

  • Upcoming events.
  • The current sermon series topic.
  • Any upcoming votes for the church.
  • Upcoming church-wide meetings.
  • Member profiles.
  • Scripture of the month, week, etc.

Your church’s newsletter is key for those who want something physical to hold onto. However,  you may also consider sending this newsletter through your email to reach a wider audience of church members.

17. Set Aside Time to Acknowledge Members and Volunteers

Your church members are a family, so let them have the spotlight every now and then. Especially as your church grows, it becomes more and more important to introduce your church members to one another. 

Consider featuring a different church member on your church’s social media page each month. Or highlighting a member profile in your newsletter. Make sure your church members are acknowledged by the administration staff.

Your members will love reading fun interviews of their fellow members. Plus there’s a great level of anticipation to see who will be featured next. Who knows, it could be you!

Good church management includes taking care of the building, services, etc. However, your church is more than walls and a roof. Your church is defined by the members who worship together.

Therefore, when you manage your church, you are really managing the family that comes together each and every week to worship something bigger than all of us. Make the church experience the best it can be for their sake with the tips above. Now get out there and worship!

If you’re looking for more key information to run your church, check out these resources below:

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