Hey Ya'll -
I saw an ad for this resource in Worship Leader recently ... it looked pretty interesting so I signed up for the free trial yesterday. I've only spent about 1/2 hour so far, but love it. There are some rave reviews by some big churches ... we even called one to make sure they were actually using it and the girl said "it was her best friend".
Check it out!
OK - so, I mentioned this a few days ago, above, and I've had about 1-1/2 days working with PlanningCenterOnline.Com now. Folks, let me tell ya - this thing is like a huge portion of my job description, all bundled nicely in an incredibly easy-to-use web interface.
At first I thought it would only be appropriate for churches with larger ministries, venues, and staff ... but I think it's incredibly worthwhile even if you only had to manage the worship ministry alone.
Things I'm loving about it:
1 - I can schedule each service, assign band members, vocalists, techs, video, etc., and they are automatically emailed a notification that it's their turn to serve, and it automatically lets me know if they confirm or decline.
2 - Ability to see who was used last, when they were used, what songs were used, when they were used last.
3 - Consolidation of my master songlist, chord charts, mp3, etc., into an easy-to-use interface.
Let me park on #3 for a moment:
Since joining the staff at SSCC, I've spent my wheels for a month trying to decide how to best manage the previous, and ever-growing repetoire of music and charts. Excel spreadsheet? Manilla file folders and filing cabinet? Individual band/singer volders and binders?
With PlanningCenterOnline.Com, I can work with the existing songs that are already in there, or I can easily add my own songs, or import existing songs directly from CCLI's SongSelect program. (another resource Worship Pastor's should have in their toolbox).
I can upload .mp3 files of the song, the arrangement, I can upload .pdf of the chord charts, etc., and all of these are attached to the Ministry's Production/Flow Sheets. The band members can access the set list (they get an automated email reminding them they've been assigned to play), they can listen to the songs, they can print out their chord charts, lyrics, etc. So, one cool thing is all these arrangments in our notebook - our copier @ the church can be used in 'scan' mode and just email the .pdf to me .. attach to the song in Planning Center ... and there it is ... any time we do that song, we can just print from that master. (I think I'll keep a backup .pdf offsite, just in case!)
Speaking of arrangements, you can create multiple arrangements of a single song ... "Fred's Arrangement", Easter Arrangement", etc. And one feature I've not even used yet is the ability to type in (via their built in web interface) your own chord chart which can be transposed with a click.
Needless to say, I'm excited about this resource. I'm sure I'll mention it more, and will continue updating my discovery of it's features here.
okay, we watched the tutorial today and then i made brent jack around with the 30 day trial (he loves experimenting with web 2.0 stuff). I love the functions but wonder if it will actually require more administrative work. example....
right now we have two bands, band odd and band even (creative names i know). if it is 1st or 3rd weekend (or the rare 5th) and you are band odd you play. 2 or 4 and even plays. the guys email me if they cannot play, otherwise i assume they will be there (dangerous i know but it works). Now i will have to build at the beginning of the month a masterschedule and individually slot them each week right? (doing the same for vocalists etc.) there is no way to automate that (for example our bridge team choir couldn't be placed on weeks 1 & 3 as a group entry right, we'd have to check off all 50 names each time????).
love the automated flyup of the charts and mp3 (right now we individually ftp them up to a password protected webpage).
what else works well?
what bogs you down?
and what features is it missing?
we are very tempted at this point.
From the tech director standpoint this stuff is solid too. We can put notes on every aspect of the service giving a flow sheet where everyone knows what is expected at any given point. At FOH we are beginning to make track notes for each song and instructions for our volunteers. Not to mention it is good archival of each weeks content. We upload our ProPresenter .plist file, sermon notes, and announcement loops so we can have an easy to use record as well as easy access to all important media on Sunday morning.
Although I've not yet used them, PCO uses a feature called "Ministry Groups" where you can add multiple "People" to a "Group" - so I'd think your choir could be one big group.
Also, with their templating structure you can create a "template" for Odd and a separate template for "Even" ... so when you create a new "plan" (their word for a service or event), you choose which template to create the plan with.
Within the templates you can pre-define what "people" groups are needed -ie. (Odd Week: 1 acoustic gtr, 1 sound man, 1 propresenter, 1 elec player, 1 worhsip leader, etc) .... and when you create a Plan for it, using that template, all you have to do is go over and click on the people area and assign.
One of the things I love BEST is that anyone w/ access (including all your musicians and singers) can go in themselves and BLOCK OUT the dates they can't be there. For example, here in June - we have lots of team members on vacation, mission trips, etc. So, when I click on "1 keyboard needed" ... a box of ALL people that are keyboardist pop up - and several of them are highlighed in red - "BLOCK OUT" ... leaving me with ONLY the options of people I can use.
I am madly in love with this tool. The ONLY thing I'd like to see added is that in addition to sending automated emails to alert people they are being scheduled, I'd like the option to also send a SMS (text message). I've talked to the programmer, and he's assured me that SMS/Text Messaging is a feature that they are already working on; but it's an expensive thing to add.
If you get it - use the links here on TWC (Banners) or be sure they know you heard about it here ... !
I am also a huge fan of the Planning Center. It has saved me hours so far in the past few weeks...and that includes getting songs in. Once that is done and it is configured for our needs, we will be golden.
I want to request a couple other service printout options once I get a better handle around what they are doing but,...other than that, I will be a happy camper.
Thomas R. Pullen
Planning Center Online saved my marriage!
Not really, but I absolutely love this resource. It is a huge leap up from our ever-changing Excel formatted plans we used to get. There's just something about not having to look at a spreadsheet during a service that does my heart wonders.
Our team is better planned, better prepared, and better practiced because of this. Take the free trial, it'll be worth it.
We are adopting Planning Center, tying its noose around our necks, and we will have to live or die by it now. Scary, but Fred assured me on the phone I would love it. He even let me hack his account to see how it worked (excuse the fact Fred, that I scheduled Eddie VH to play electric for you this week...just kidding).
We are doing all the load in's of mp3's, pdf charts, people maps, etc this week. Wish us providence!
I use this and love it. It really helps me keep tack of so many things at once. Also, it's nice to have the database of songs etc., and, when the emails go out I don't feel like the nagging worshipleader.... I let the planner do it for me. Ha Ha. Also, the mp3's keep the house calls down. You know the ones,... cell phone rings during important dinner meeting... "how'd that song go again?" ugh!
I think the only down side is if your worship folks aren't computer literate. O well, that's another thread,.. isn't it?
If you got questions about my further thoughts on this send me a PM.
Last edited by lytesource; 10-30-2007 at 07:31 PM. Reason: typo
....so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:5 NIV