Planning Center Update
The Full Story
Church management software can be a tricky subject. The saying, "If it ain't broke; don't fix it." is usually a wise move. However, we know there are exceptions.
The "Big Picture" for FCC is that we have simply outgrown our church management system. Every church needs a system. Church management systems help us keep track of you, "Our People" and keeps us connected. It helps us keep track of our kiddos and where they are during worship and Sunday School. It helps us track attendance and gives us the tools we need to grow, change, and reach out to people who may have missed a Sunday or two. We do all of this because we care. God has given the leadership at FCC a heart not just for ministry, but for people; to see people come to know Jesus better than before, better than ever!
The system, or software, we've been using has certainly served FCC well for a number of years and we are grateful to have utilized it. But, as with any system, there are short-comings that we want to fix. So after careful consideration we've decided to move to a new system called: "Planning Center Online" or just "Planning Center".
Planning Center carries a spirit of excellence and a "By Church, For Church" attitude. This means that all the different parts of the system work with church in mind.
So you may be thinking, "This all sounds good, but what does this have to with me?" Well, for some this may not affect much, and for others a bit more. Let's start with Giving.
In-person giving will continue as normal, but if you plan to give online there is a new option. Planning Center Giving is one "Sub-System" within the greater Planning Center Ecosystem. It is fast, and secure, and it offers many options to give. We care about the security of your tithes and offerings. They're another way we worship and FCC takes stewarding resources seriously. You can give online through the "GIVE" tab at the top of any page on the website. You can also give through a new avenue called the "Church Center" app. This is a free service offered to Planning Center customers and their congregations. You can download the app from either the Google Play store or the Apple App Store. It's free! And, it makes it easy to set-up and manage your giving and a number of other things as well (more on that later).
If you currently give through our current recurring giving option (Vanco) you will need to cancel your gift by logging into your Vanco account and delete your gift. This option will remain available through Sunday, September 10th. We encourage you to switch your recurring gift to the new system now, and to consider giving online if you don't already. Planning Center Giving give the option to give via credit/debit card or linking to your bank account directly.
Next is Planning Center Check-Ins. This is how we will check in children and keep an accurate track of them. The security tags we all know and love will most definitely continue; Planning Center just makes them easier to read and provides special fields for allergies or any special notes pertaining to your child, as well as another level of security. They are called Roster stations they're iPad driven stations at each classroom that has an up-to-date list of children who have been checked in at the main check in stations. This also gives the teachers the ability to "Confirm" the child's presence in the classroom. This means no kids slip through the cracks. It also means that if there were to be an emergency situation, the station goes with the class and the teacher has the ability to see the most updated roster.
There will also be new options for checking your children in: Self check-in stations! These will be iPad stations in the Holy Grounds Cafe where you can type in either your family name or the last 4 digits of your listed phone number and select what times and locations you wish to check your kids into. Because this is a Planning Center System, the Church Center App also works for Check-Ins. So, you can check your children in on the way out the door or even on the way to church (so long as you aren't the driver). This will produce a QR code from the app that can be quickly scanned to print your ID Tags once you do come in the building and kids are ready for class.
Finally, we want you to know Planning Center offers other services we may take advantage of in the future and we will ensure to keep you in the loop.
We want to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for your grace in this transition period. And thank you for your support of FCC. Most importantly, thank you for helping facilitate what God is doing here.
Click below to watch a short video about how to use giving!