ChurchSuite is great, and getting better every day!
As our church has grown, the need for us to manage the various spheres of information has grown with it. We have tried managing that data in a variety of ways ranging from simple google docs to expensive software. Nothing has compared to ChurchSuite.
Many of the top-end options we considered were too expensive and included features that we really didn't need. The additional options were integrated in such a way that it clouded the functionality of the overall service. The interface on those systems was enormously complex, and often we were told we would be required to pay for our admin folks to be trained on software. Also, some of those options offered a church-side interface that had high expectations for our members. We DID want a church-side interaction so that people could do simple things like update their addresses or view a church directory. However, for the most part we wanted our members to be focused on their spiritual growth and development and reaching the lost, rather than on having to login to some church management system that took on the personality of yet another online social network.
We searched far and wide and found nothing that really suited us. Most options were either too expensive, required too much interaction on the part of our congregation, or they were too simplistic. Then while doing an apple "App Store" search we stumbled upon ChurchSuite.
We were given a month "to try it out" and we experienced very few issues. By contrast to the larger interfaces, everyone on our church staff found ChurchSuite to be completely intuitive. Plus, when we did get confused, the customer service was phenomenal. From uploading our data for us, to adding features that we've requested, these guys bent over backwards to make this a useful tool for our church.
And it is SUCH a useful tool. The reports that it runs and the way that it presents data has been so helpful for us as we've decided things like where to start a new small group, evaluate whether or not to move to two worship services, and what Sunday morning classes we need to offer in order to enable us to better care for our children. It makes volunteer teams easy to manage. The fact that it integrates with a host of communication options (email, text, snail mail, etc) makes it that much easier to communicate with our entire congregation -- or better yet, specific parts of our congregation. It also plugs right into our website and other publications so that when we start a new small group, I no longer have to update that information in four different places.
As an American church looking at utilizing a UK-based program, I was initially worried about getting lost in translation. After all, we don't have anyone that gives to our church using pounds. We tend to think about dates with months first, and we have zip not postal codes. However, the ChurchSuite team took each of my concerns one by one and we were able to seamlessly "go live" with our congregation after our month trial with no issues whatsoever.
I think that illustrates well the strength of ChurchSuite. I feel like our church didn't just get an online database when we signed on. It feels more like we hired a team of employees to design a system specifically for our needs. ChurchSuite serves tons of churches, but the ChurchSuite staff never seem too busy to brainstorm with me on a way to optimize things to help us accomplish our ministry goals. Usually when we have submitted ideas / suggestions we've either gotten an email back in 5 minutes or less explaining how ChurchSuite already does what we want it to do, or we've seen the team implement some sort of change in the next week or so to accommodate our needs. Nobody else is that flexible.
I recommend ChurchSuite to any church without hesitation. It is by far the best system that we've seen. I'd encourage interested churches to at least take the time to do the 30 day trial. It's free, the ChurchSuite staff does all the setup work for you, and in the long run you will save tons of time and energy.
James Sutton, Director of Community Life | Christ the King Presbyterian, Raleigh, USA
Duncan Hanton, Senior Elder | Trinity Church, London