Looking ahead and back…

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Translations: Deutsch (Deutschland)

We’ve been thinking about exciting features for this year and have been working hard over the last few months to plan and implement them for you. In this article, I will once again present the planned innovations in detail and also review the year 2021.

Looking ahead: what’s to come

We have heard the following questions from you frequently over the past year:

“How do I find my ChurchTools installation?”

“How do we reach new people?”

“How can we better present ourselves as a church?”

ChurchTools Community

 That is why we are currently working on a new product: the ChurchTools Finder.

ChurchTools Finder

You are moving to a new city for your studies and are looking for a chance to connect with your new church? Or you want to know what churches offer in your area?

With the ChurchTools Finder you can quickly and easily find any church with a profile. And if you use ChurchTools yourself, you can of course also present your own church here. For the time being, the Finder is only available in German for churches in Germany/Austria/Switzerland. Therefore, please apologize the German screenshots.

With a click on the icon next to the name, everyone can see your contact options and social media links. A short introduction text and tags on the size of the congregation and denomination also tell visitors the most important key points.

If you scroll further, you can see your events and public groups. And of course there is also space to introduce your team and link campuses. The following applies: Everything can, nothing must – you decide what you publish!

In the new “Public Relations” section in your ChurchTools installation, you maintain and share your church’s public content.

Best of all, church and site profiles are included in your license package!

A new home for groups

A community is made up of people, and that’s what we want to focus on even more in the new group module. Already on the start page you have an overview of participants, requests and a time history, for example, to see who’s birthday to celebrated next.

You can filter your group members under the “Persons” tab according to certain criteria, search for people or sort them as needed.  

Bonus: It will also be possible for you to select multiple people in the list and edit them all at once.

In the future, statistics on the members of the group will even be displayed automatically. For example, you can estimate how many participants need a ride for events – and book a bus early if necessary.

But that’s not all!

Profile page within a group

We create an overview page for each group member. Here you will find the date of joining the group and, if applicable, the date of leaving, see all interactions and have a direct overview of the FollowUp dates and a graphical overview of the participations in the last group meetings. So all the information of a person in the context of the selected group is gathered in one place. In addition, there are many ideas on how we can make this page even more useful.

Registration list

In addition, we want to create a registration list that gives an overview of membership requests. And also the waiting list will get its own spot.

Note: There will be an open beta for the new group module in the middle of this year. This will give you an early opportunity to try out the new and improved features and provide feedback.  

What else is planned for the new group module?

We have a few more ideas that we would like to implement. Due to the large number of topics, we can’t promise them for this year. But we are working hard to make them available to you as soon as possible.

Your own group wiki!

The idea: We want to give groups its own wiki category where you can make content and files available to all group members.

For example, a connect group leader could distribute the PDFs for the next connect group evening to his participants. Or church leadership can store their minutes here. 

Automated participation in groups

The idea: Members are automatically added or removed from groups according to specified criteria.

In the forum, the principle is known as “dynamic groups”. A collection of if-then rules automatically assigns members to a group if they fulfill certain criteria. For example, new members can be put in contact immediately and can get started right after registration. Redundant adding and removing of new members will be a thing of the past.

Also:

The automatic transaction import is coming!

The update in the finance module is expected to be ready for launch in the second half of the year: With a click of a button you will be able to import a balance sheet (MT940). The module will suggest a transaction assignment on its own initiative, which your cashier can confirm with just a single glance.

Calendar coming soon to the app!

We want to integrate the calendar into the app and anchor it with its own icon in the menu bar. This way, you can check your appointments on the go and confirm or cancel meeting requests with a single click.

In the long term, we would like to add even more functions:

  • Create or edit appointments directly in the app
  • Invite people to appointments
  • Book resources

A look back: 2021

The past year has gone by so quickly. Let’s take a look back at all that has happened in ChurchTools: We have…

… completely renewed the wiki

An improved search, a new sitemap and a clean-looking, modern design make using the wikis much easier. We now support Markdown and the wikis are also finally accessible via the app.

… released the new Sync module

Connection and data exchange with external systems will save you a lot of time. ChurchTools can be easily and securely synchronized with software like Optigem, DaviP or other ChurchTools installations.

We will test further interfaces and introduce them gradually.

… extended the chat

Chat no matter where you are. That’s what we wanted to achieve, and we’ve improved the chat so that the web and the app now sync chat history in real time, and you can easily switch back and forth between the two platforms.

… introduced the quick search

Navigating through ChurchTools has become much easier. Groups, people, wiki pages and songs are now just a few buttons away via quick search and autofill.

… opened the waiting lists

Covid requirements have often limited attendance at services. Now, with the waiting list, no one has to be “turned away.” And one can simply move up when a seat becomes free again. People who have registered together are not separated.

… improved the app

Among other things, the app now offers the ability to remind you of birthdays and display songs for everyone to learn.

… introduced emojis

Because a ❤️ often says more than a thousand words.

We are looking forward to the new features and products to come this year and hope you feel the same. All the best and God’s blessings for 2022.

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