I have been interested in the organizational side of church ministry for some time. As an organizer, and one who employs internet technology, I have often wondered about the available solutions for membership management in the local church. I came across Church Community Builder and this post is a review of that solution.
Some time ago, I came across a post that briefly explained three Church Management Systems. I investigated each as far as I could, but at the time, my ministry was unable to implement any kind of system due to financial constraints.
When we moved to Toledo, I learned that my most recent ministry was using Church Community Builder, a very robust, web-based church management solution. The platform is similar to Facebook in that it focuses on profiles, groups, and self-paced community building. (UPDATE 4/4: In addition to the self-paced community building, there are significant administrative tools for church leadership. See comment below.)
Church Community Builder Website: Links to look at:
- Software – See an explanation of the features and options available with Church Community Builder
- Coaching – CCB wants to make sure you understand how to use their software to the best of its capabilities.
Here are some strengths and weaknesses as I see them:
Church Community Builder Strengths
- Clean, attractive look — I am one who appreciates what I call “good branding.” If a website doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing, its functionality doesn’t much matter. But a good, clean look makes up for some functionality issues. Church Community Builder is attractive.
- Website integration — one can easily connect to the “front-end” of the public church website. Notable integration options are the church calendar, getting connected with groups, a login module. A moderately experienced admin would have little difficulty.
- Intuitive – Every page in the portal contains explanations and details of the page functions. Users can navigate easily and know where they’re going.
- Comprehensive help — While some of the more detailed training are paid services, there are plenty of videos and knowledge base articles to help everyone from the most novice user to the site administrator.
- Self-paced — members with initiative can easily get plugged in to the ministry.
- Completely web-based — The only IT required is a web connection and an internet browser. (The check-in interface is best viewed in Firefox.)
Church Community Builder Weaknesses
- Cost — Church Community Builder offers graded cost depending on the size of the church, but one must submit information for a quote. I’m not certain what each bracket is priced at, but a church of 800, with a Standard Package, is in the thousands.
- Intricate — Some of the features require forethought and planning for implementation. Church Community Builder provides (free) video tutorials for every feature.
- Not Intuitive — Whereas each page has information to walk the user through, this information and the sheer volume of features make for an intimidating task to a regular user. The intricacies will require extensive training for full implementation.
- Too “self-paced” — In some respects giving the monkey to the members is a risky proposition because most members are on a level 2. Without sufficient encouragement, members may not use Church Community Builder, leading to leadership frustration for lack of participation.
- No trial period — As far as I can tell Church Community Builder is an all or nothing proposition. It would be profitable to be able to test the usefulness of the product with no upfront cost. That doesn’t appear to be an option with Church Community Builder. (UPDATE 4/4: There is a “test drive” option available. See comment below.)
- There is no offline support — If the internet service goes down, users cannot access data. This is especially problematic for the check-in feature.
Ministering in the 21st century, church leaders ought to consider implementing some form of technology to maintain their roles. Church Community Builder would be worth an examination.