Linda received a simple email invitation to Sunday evening discipleship classes. Later, she reopened it, read the class descriptions, and scanned the enrollment links. She clicked the link that most interested her. Her internet browser automatically launched and navigated to a dialogue which identified her and enrolled her in the class. It took four minutes, simple, quick, convenient. She went on with her day. Weeks later, at the first class session, she was expected, resources were ready, and prepared nametags awaited each arrival.

Months earlier, church staff had searched member records in BVCMS, identifying likely attendees. They collaborated using shared, temporary “tag” lists to develop the final list. Next, they created discipleship organizations in the system configured for online registration. That done, staff created and sent out an automated, personalized email to the list and waited. That’s when Linda received her message. One system handled the entire process, BVCMS. Ministry staff moved on to other activities while technology promoted classes and enrolled growing disciples. The church staff reviewed the registrations as they arrived in their email inboxes and ordered and prepared materials. On launch day, cloud technology ensured everything worked perfectly.

This wasn’t a megachurch. It was our church. Our attendance varies from 150 to 170. Our staff is small, with no I.T. budget and no I.T. staff. Two Pastors and two secretaries guide and assist our membership. … And, we have BVCMS.

Our members attend, give, make contacts, and grow. Behind the scenes, advanced cloud-based software keeps track of it all. It’s a system that links people together seamlessly and fosters ministry collaboration. I pastor, teach, counsel, plan, and cast vision. I function with less effort and less complication because of a powerful, friendly, easy-to-use technology. BVCMS tracks an extraordinary amount of information and helps me, our staff, and our members care for people and build disciples.

I cut my teeth on church management software as an Associate Pastor. I understand its value. I’ve also shuffled paper, spreadsheets, and file cabinets. I know the drill. When I needed something useful for today’s ministry culture, a technological cloud-connected culture, I discovered BVCMS.

BVCMS is an open source project of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Their church needed software that met their needs. Off-the-shelf products fell short, so they began writing code. Over time, their code became the Bellevue Church Management System (BVCMS). Eventually, the church spun off the development of the software, now cloud-based, and offered it to others.

Sometimes, keeping track of people paralyzes or, at least, complicates loving and reaching people. Other church tasks also include tracking people: giving, attendance, enrollments, service. Linking all of those records to the same personal contact data is invaluable. If the same system could also communicate with people, handle class and camp registrations, automate rotating volunteer schedules, and handle the record-keeping of camp deposits and payments at a reasonable cost, I’m “all in.”

Here’s an example. Judy loved our church family. Our Deacons loved her. At her funeral, a deacon delivered part of her eulogy. Why was he asked? I reviewed her contact records in BVCMS. They revealed Dean had visited her often. Dean’s brief visit summaries in BVCMS provided invaluable information that helped minister to the family, plan the services, and personalize the care of everyone involved. Dean had attended a Deacon training on entering pastoral ministry visits in BVCMS so that others could see his contacts and coordinate care. His entries mattered before and after Judy entered heaven. Technology helped me and pastoral caregivers orchestrate our ministry quickly, efficiently, and with greater meaning. Records mattered.

Change gears. Jason was ten. He asked about being baptized for the sixth or seventh time. His mom sought an appointment with a minister, feeling he might be ready. When his mother called, our staff easily checked Jason’s contact record and noticed I had already talked to Jason twice. The secretary arranged another visit.

On the day of Jason’s visit, prior to the appointment, I reviewed the contact records in BVCMS about our previous talks. They contained critical information and observations about Jason’s spiritual development. The membership documents area of the system contained two previous baptism readiness forms. I downloaded them for review.

When Jason and his mom arrived, I was ready. Mom was impressed as we spoke about previous visits. Jason appeared ready for baptism. I showed his mother, on a new baptism readiness form, how Jason had progressed from the previous ones. Seeing the records gave her confidence in the process. Behind the scenes, BVCMS technology had enabled me and others to access and use information that formed multiple pastoral contacts, spread over time, into a successful and meaningful journey. BVCMS remembers.

Another story, Rachel and her family attended church one Wednesday night after a friend’s invitation. An attentive children’s worker captured information about Rachel and her family when her parents dropped her off at G-Force. Her parents attended an adult Bible study group, where the adult teacher was only able to collect first names. The next day, our staff entered all of the information and linked up the parents’ names with Rachel as they entered guests into BVCMS.

Before Sunday, an adult visit team was assigned to visit Rachel’s family. They received a family information summary from the BVCMS system. Workers had marked the family in BVCMS as assigned to the team. Sunday afternoon, a children’s visit team trolling for visits remembered Rachel. They opened her record on BVCMS and checked her visit fields. Records showed the family’s assignment. Though fields had been marked through the adult records, they showed up on the record of each family member, including Rachel. So, they selected a different home and headed out. BVCMS easily averted double-visiting a home and awkward and disappointing experience for the teams. Tracking matters.

Having had years of experience with Shelby Systems, ACS Technologies, and other church management software, I led our staff through a transition to the BVCMS platform. Trials with test data assured us that the system was, indeed, created by a church for churches. Its design and operation made sense.

The functions and the cost attracted us. For low hosting fees, BVCMS immediately offers a set of functions other providers offer as modules with separate costs: mass emails (with tracking) to groups or search results, customizable online registration, integrated payment management for fee collection and online giving, attendance tracking and reporting, contact management and task assignment features, automated volunteer worker rotation management, contribution records, membership document server, shared scratch lists, saved and shared searches, customizable reporting, simple user management, “anywhere” cloud access, online membership directory functions, basic membership management features, and the best customer service we have ever experienced from any vendor (friendly, responsive, U.S. based, quick, knowledgeable, etc.). BVCMS offered these functions right out-of -the-box.

For the first time in many years of software use, I heard our staff say the words “I love” about software without any prompting. Our experience has been stellar. We’re devotees. BVCMS facilitates our ministry to people and improves our results. We call it ministry management software, rather than church management software. Why? It’s all about people. It works. It makes a difference. That’s why we love BVCMS.

For more information about BVCMS visit www.bvcms.com