All of the choices that available in just about every category can make it confusing when you have to pick church software. This one trick will bring the most clarity and make your decision easier.
The church planters I support ask me from time to time which software in a given category is best:
- church management software
- website builders
- shared to-do list (productivity)
But “best” is relative. The classic tension between software solutions is complexity vs. simplicity; they’re both the best, depending on your viewpoint.
If you pick church software on this end of the spectrum, you get:
- powerful features
- advanced customization options
- best-in-class functionality
But it comes at the cost of being more difficult to set up and maintain. If you have 100 settings to change and all kinds of customization to set up, it’s going to take you a while to get everything ready to use. And the sheer amount of stuff on screen can be overwhelming for new users.
So pick complex software if you have above-average software skills and your staff and key volunteer leaders do, too. Even then, some training will be required. But when it’s running smoothly, it will be amazing!
The other end of the spectrum is simpler church software:
- easy to use
- simple to set up
- cleaner user interface
- higher user adoption rate
But it comes with the handcuffs of being able to do only the things the developers thought were important enough to include. Sooner or later, you’ll say, “Boy, I wish my software would do X,” but you gave up that functionality for ease-of-use.
When your team grows in its tech-savvy-ness, you may find your software incapable of the clever thing you need it to do.
The Trick: Decide in Advance Which is More Important
So before you look at specific vendor choices, go in having already decided which is more important: complexity or simplicity. Because you won’t get both.
The primary lens to help you decide is considering who the end user will be. If it’s website-building software and your site is going to be maintained by your average volunteers, maybe simplicity is more important. Or maybe if it’s church management software that you only want your digital-native staff using, then complexity is more important.
If you ignore this one trick and pick wrong, you’ll have complex software that never gets used or simple software that makes people rip their hair out.
There are so many great software apps and platforms out there that can help your church. Before you pick church software in any category, decide in advance whether you need powerful/complex or easy-to-use/simple.