Current ChMS poll

25 Campuses

Pretty sure we’d change if it wasn’t such a huge undertaking.

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Fellowship One
Single site
We’ve outgrown its capabilities.

We switched to F1 because we had a home grown ChMS (built in FileMaker) and, at the time, it was less expensive to switch rather than keep the developer on retainer and F1 had a number of features that we didn’t have in our own system (such as check scanning and child checkin). At this point, though, we keep running into limitations that cause us to write API code to extend it. If we have to code stuff ourselves anyway, it doesn’t seem worth the cost anymore. Also, the service has been poor. If we find a true bug, the ticket goes into a black hole.

I’m curious what experience people have with Open Source ChMS offerings. It seems appealing to me to have the flexibility to add functionality when we want it and at the same time benefit other churches. I’ll read all the replies above, but if you’ld like to add something, please DM me.

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Lotus Notes? Lotus Symphony? Lotus 1-2-3?

I don’t know which version of Lotus. The directory guy has some version of Lotus on his computer at home (or work?), and he uses that.

Switched from Shelby v5 to Ministry Platform on 11/6/2016
(keeping Shelby for Financials ONLY)
8xxx AWA
Single site
Very pleased with MP software and their staff
Two of our users attended MPUG and the user community is outstanding
Looking forward to 2017 MPUG and partnering with other churches on possible dev work

6 campuses

Personally, I’m a huge fan of open source software, so I’d much prefer to be running an OSS ChMS. Have heard of Rock and also have thought about customizing CiviCRM.

  • Development Practices: I’m concerned by the way they handle custom fields, this sort of limited customer field is usually seen when a database hasn’t been normalized. Similarly, there are issues with normalization in the API and lack of full functionality (e.g. Forms API isn’t officially documented, though I understand it does exist).
  • Payment Gateways: While they offer a number of different payment gateways to partner with there are actually only two (BluePay and PushPay) that have been fully integrated.
  • Forms Limitations: They offer a forms solution, but it is fairly limited in scope and doesn’t support registering multiple individuals simultaneously (as in a family attending an event).
  • Lack of Customizability: There is fairly little that can be changed about the layout, emails, etc.
  • Email Delivery Issues: We have recurrent issues where folks stop receiving notification emails.
  • Email Domain Issues: Emails come from instead of



Moving to CCB
No, current is Logos II, hence move to CCB.

We worked through an extensive process, arriving at CCB and MP for our finalists. CCB won by a narrow margin with our scoring grid, with forms stronger than MP.
CCB now has 2 way sync with PushPay, which we will use. PushPay will handle all online giving, including forms, with CCB receiving manual entry of one site giving. All giving data resides in CCB, and exports for use in accounting package. PushPay does receive funds listing (COA) from CCB, and presents the ones of our choice to online givers.

Someone mentioned their finance people wanting both database and financials in one package. Most ChMS providers have dropped support for general ledger products, but do include all people related giving information.

  • Greg
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I’ve actually completed my first pass of the Top 100 List and did the best job I could at guessing which ChMS is being used. Church Community Builder and F1 are pretty easy to identify, as well as some of the others. RockRMS publishes their users on the website so I think that is pretty accurate. MP is more difficult for an outsider like me, as well as some of the churches that don’t integrate their ChMS into their website. If anyone has any hints on things that would be dead giveaways of MP, Arena, and others, please let me know.

NOTE: I know this isn’t 100% accurate – yet.

At first pass, my best guess for usage would be:

33 - Fellowship One
16 - Church Community Builder
15 - Shelby / Arena
11 - RockRMS
9 - Unknown
7 - Ministry Platform
3 - ACS Family
2 - In-house/Proprietary?
1 - BvCMS
1 - Church Teams
1 - Elexio
1 - The City

A few things to keep in mind…
a) This is the top 100 churches THAT REPORTED to Outreach Magazine. There are a lot that should have been on this list but decided not to participate.
b) This takes into account current evidence on their website but if someone reported that they are changing (i.e. on the CITRT Discussion Board), I listed the NEW ChMS instead of the current.)
c) The only number that I’m confident on is the Church Community Builder one, because I’ve personally verified those in our database.

If any of the manufacturers would like to compare notes to clarify that their number is correct, let me know.

I hope this helps.



Have u tried using meraki am to manage them along with your Apple Dep?

Shelby v5
Since the dawn of time.
Looking at maybe changing to Arena.
Their support so far has been great for most part.

I must admit some surprise that CCB outperformed in the forms arena…there is no conditional logic, no ability to register multiple users, an incomplete Forms API, etc.

Also, if you have multiple campuses you generally need to setup a form for each campus - in our case that means six separate forms for every event.

What does MP lack? I’m not familiar with them.

CCB was better than Ministry Platform on forms primarily for two things:

  1. Ease of setting up forms, including preview of form.
  2. Form automation’s to add to event, group, queue, etc based on form submission or answers to form questions.

MP form creation was very clunky, difficult to get preview of form, plus automation features less robust.

Staff have been using WuFoo for form creation, so CCB will be an easy transition for them.

I believe CCB is addressing the multi user issue in forms.

  • Greg
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FWIW, Ministry Platform is releasing their new drag-n-drop form builder which addresses many of the requests from their customer base (and prospective customers) … I love how the product continues to evolve.

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Thanks @gbrenneman!

You are correct about the form automation, which is great. I haven’t been working with it in-depth recently, but I seem to recall my main concern there being that it needed a human to move things through the queues, rather than offering full automation…but this was somewhat a could be good, could be bad thing. Human review helps ensure automated processes aren’t working incorrectly, as data is reviewed…but on the other hand, lack of full automation creates additional tasks, which in some cases might not be needed.

I’m glad to hear that CCB is addressing the issue with multi-users on forms, I haven’t heard anything on this front.

@jpowell thanks for sharing about the MP updates!


Just for clarification, if the form is matched (i.e. they’re logged in when they fill it out), automation happens automatically. It is only when the form is unmatched (i.e. they filled it out without being logged in or are not in your database) that a form manager has to get involved to match the form response and/or pull their information into the system to create a profile.

Forms can be automated as a whole (i.e. simply because they filled out the form) and on a question-by-question basis (i.e. If they answered THIS then automate THAT).

I hope that helps.


FellowshipOne since early 2010
AWA: 1050
Single Campus but moving to Multiple Campus
We are happy with our system. We have our issue with it but we are ale to adapt at this point in time due to 3rd Party integration.

Planning Center for church DB + ACS for financials/giving
AWA: 1300
Single Campus
We’ve been doing this model for a little under a year and the staff likes it so that means I like it.

We were all ACS prior and had a ton of issues with usability and product updates. One of my most frustrating issues with them was when an issue with our database caused all of our vendors to have a different city and zip code. They weren’t able to revert the change or figure out why it happened and forced us to manually go through our vendor lists and verify everybody. ACS did give us a credit on our account once I complained about it enough.

How was the migration from Shelby to MP? We’re looking into it and I’m curious what was involved. Also, are you self hosting or are they hosting for you?

Very good overall, we had one project lead (our DB person) and then supporting people in IT (me), Finance and a few others. 12 week timeline was promised and delivered. I chose offsite hosted and that has been good for us.

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Single campus
Happy then, unhappy now

Very happy with Elexio initially when we signed on in 2015 with a migration from Shelby v5. At the time lots of hope and promise about upcoming feature functionality and their support and willingness to customize and help was outstanding. After their acquisition by Ministry Brands, everything has changed - support is unwilling to do anything for our issues, no foreseeable improvements coming for our version, and they now would like us to move over to their web based solution which brings a whole lot of cost and disruption (training, replace all checkins, pay for migration from their own software, etc.), and we’re not ready for that less than two years after our last migration.
If forced to change, will be looking at other options like MP or Rock…

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