Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General Questions

What is Church Director?

Church Director is an online scheduling tool that helps staff and lay leaders track volunteer needs, assignments, and volunteer availability. Think of it as a group calendar for your church that helps you manage volunteer coverage during service for your sound team, ushers, greeters, children's ministry, and other needs.

What are the requirements to use Church Director?

A modern browser (Firefox 1.x or 2.x, Internet Explorer 6.x or 7.x, or Safari) and an internet connection. While Church Director will work over dial-up connections, we recommend having a minimum of a DSL or cable modem connection to get the most out of our application. If you are using an older version of Internet Explorer (v5.5 or lower) or Internet Explorer on the Mac, we recommend installing the latest version of Firefox - it is free and works great with Church Director!

Can we run Church Director on our own servers?

No. We offer Church Director as "software as a service" (SaaS), meaning that you don't have to install, upgrade, or manage it on your network. This allows us to take that burden from you, while giving you the most current version of our application without hours of upgrade problems often common with desktop applications or do-it-yourself software.

Do I need an existing Church Management System (ChMS)?

No. While we are planning to offer integration support with different vendors in the near future, Church Director can be used stand-alone or in cooperation with a church management system (ChMS).

How do I upgrade to the latest version of Church Director?

There is no need to download or install any kind of upgrades - we do this for you whenever we release a new version. Just visit the website and know that you are using the most recent version at all times!

Are you in a beta?

No, we are no longer in a beta program. To signup, visit our Signup Form and get started today!

Pricing Plans

How much does it cost?

Visit our pricing page for more details.

Can I try before I buy?

Sure! We do not ask for credit card information until you upgrade to a paying account. At that time, you must provide a credit card to pay for the pricing plan of your choice. You are always welcome to remain at the free plan for as long as you like, with no time limit.

Can I change pricing plans?

Yes you may. We do not pro-rate for remaining time, so your adjusted price will be reflected on your next invoice.

Why do you charge for your church software? Why not give it away for free?

While we agree that church software can cost way too much, we are trying to build a business that can service you full time. This requires us to pay bills (and people) to handle our customer service and software improvement needs. We have structured the pricing plans to be fair to churches of all size, and do not penalize your church based on the number of members you have.

Managing Users

What are the different roles/levels of users?

The first person to setup an account for their church is considered a "church admin" within Church Director and have the capability to manage church-level settings. You may designate other church admins using the user accounts feature within the "my church" area.

"Church admins" may access personal information of any user account for their church, such as email address and phone number, so due consideration should be given to anyone with this access level. We recommend more than one person from your church have this capability, in case of emergencies, but no more than five for a medium-sized church to limit data access.

The first person to create a team planner is considered the "team admin" and may add team members to their team planner. These "team admins" may access personal information for their team members, such as email address and phone number in case their is a need to contact someone outside of Church Director.

All team members added, unless designated otherwise, are considered standard users and may not access personal information of other team members or church user accounts. To provide these team members with important contact information, they may be promoted to a "team admin" security level

Can I import user accounts in bulk?

Currently, no, but if you would like to contact us, we can try to help speed up the process. We hope to have some tools available in the near future to allow both a one-time bulk upload along with a bulk update feature.

Scheduling Volunteers

How does volunteer scheduling work in Church Director?

Church Director allows a church to manage one or more "team planners", each of which have "team members". For each event that your church or team have on their calendar, you may drag-n-drop a team member into a specific job role. Job roles may be created for any kind of "slot" or "skill" you may need for an event or church service. Examples of a job roles include: door greeter, usher, sound engineer, lights engineer, site pastor, etc.

Once you have completed these assignments and are happy with the schedule you have drafted, you may send email notifications to your team. They will receive an email with the details and will be guided to their personal dashboard to view all of their assignments and respond to them with an accept or decline status. You will be notified by email of their response.

48 hours prior to the event, they will be sent an email reminder of their assignment. "Team admins" will be sent a report at the same time with the list of assignees for the upcoming event and their current response status.

What if some of my team doesn't have an email address?

We allow "team admins" to track the accept/decline status of a team member on their behalf. When you send assignment notification emails (see last question), you will be told of any team members that do not have an email address on file. You may then contact them using their phone number (if available) or in person. From the "view assignments" link on the calendar event summary screen, you may edit their status on their behalf with a reason such as "Talked via phone" or "Talked in person". This provides the same accountability as email-based scheduling for those without email addresses and/or reliable internet access.

What if family members share an email address?

When a user activates their account, they have the option of changing their login to something other than their email. If we see that another account has the same username, we inform the user and suggest that they select a unique login name. This allows family members to use a shared email account but be treated differently when it comes to assignments and notifications in the system. Note that the first member of the family to activate their account may still choose to use the email address as their login.

How do I manage multiple teams (sound, lights, worship, children's, etc)?

Church Director allows teams to be managed through the creation of "Team Planners". Each team planner has access to all church-wide events, and may include or exclude them from their calendar as desired. They may also add their own team-specific events for their own needs. The best way to manage your various teams is to create a new team planner for each team you want to treat separately. You will find the "Create a New Planner" link from the Planner list on the "my church" section of the site, or from the "My Team Planners" screen of the "my account" section.

How does the Rapid Scheduling ("Auto Scheduling") feature work?

Rapid scheduling allows team members to be grouped and scheduled every week, every-other week, or every 1st-5th week of the month. Assignments are automatically created and email notifications sent on a monthly sliding window. Once assignments are automatically created, they may be responded to or changed as any standard assignment within the system. The assignment reminders will also be sent prior to the event, just like the manual ("drag-and-drop") scheduling system.

NOTE: You must activate Rapid Scheduling before it automatically starts scheduling.

How often are Rapid Scheduling ("Auto Scheduling") assignments created?

Assignments are made nightly for the next month in advance. So, the first time it starts scheduling, a team member assigned to an every week occurence will get 4 (or possibly 5 if the month has 5 occurences of the event) assignments for the next month. Then, they will get an email the next week for the next upcoming assignment. This keeps assignments on a team member's calendar at least a month in advance to allow time for their response.

Can I control Rapid Scheduling manually?

Yes. From the primary Rapid Scheduling screen, click the 'Preview Schedule' button. You may view the last scheduled date and a preview of upcoming assignments. To request the Rapid Scheduler to perform assignments immediately, select a specific date range, click the 'Preview Rapid Scheduling' button to preview the assignments to be made, and click the 'Schedule Now!' to create and notify all assignments immediately.

Can I use Rapid Scheduling to plan more than a month at a time?

Yes. Use the manual controls for Rapid Scheduling, described above.

Can I use Rapid Scheduling even when it is marked inactive?

Yes, using the manual controls for Rapid Scheduling, described above.

Can I have volunteers sign-up for an event without first assigning them?

Not currently. We are planning support for this in a future release.

Can I manage worship music/song lists?

No. Church Director is focused on volunteer scheduling for your worship team rather than song license and list management. There are some great software packages that can do this today - we encourage you to select the solutions that best meet your needs of volunteer scheduling and song license management.

Events and Event Management

What kind of events does Church Director support?

Church Director supports events for a single day, range of days, and recurring events. Recurring events may occur weekly, or on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th occurrence of the month. Weekly events can also have an exception day (e.g. Every Sun except the 1st Sun).

In what order do my events appear on the team calendar?

Events have a starting time, which allows for controlling the sort order on a calendar. If a starting time isn't provided, then the calendar will sort events based on name.

What if I have a special event or conference?

Church Director is quite flexible when it comes to managing conferences and special events. We suggest you add the event from the "my church" area to enable all of your teams to schedule for the event. This is the simplest way to address your needs with minimal setup.

If the event requires a different set of job roles, then we recommend instead to create a special planner for that event, designate one or more "team admins" who will be in charge of the event, and add as many job roles to this planner as needed. While this requires more setup, it does provide for maximum flexibility when managing things list setup/teardown, event committee roles, and additional needs beyond typical event staffing.

How do I add an event so that all team planners see it?

Go to "my church", "services and events" and add your event. Remember, this event will show up on all team calendars!

How do I add an event just for my team (but not for the entire church)?

Go to "Team Calendar", "Special Events", and add your event. These kinds of events are strictly for your team, and are great for scheduling small group meetings.

I have a small group - how do I exclude church-wide events?

If you have a small group or a team that operates outside normal church services, go to "Team Settings" and click the "exclude" link to prevent church-wide events from showing up.

Why can I only inactivate, not delete, a planner, user account, or job role?

We want to prevent accidental deletion of important information. Simply edit the item and mark it as inactive to prevent it from showing up as an active planner/user/job role. We are considering deletion support for a future release.

Can I rename a team planner after I create it?

Yes - go to "Team Settings" and click the "rename" link.

Can events have a duration (start/end time)?

Not currently. Today's features wouldn't use the start/end times, so there is no need to ask for them. If you want to identify times for your events, include the time or duration in the event title. For example, "Sunday 9am Service".

How can I prevent my church users from creating new planners without my permission?

Yes. Simply go to the "my church" link, select "church settings", and change the setting to disable this link for anyone without a church admin role in Church Director.

How can I prevent my church users from seeing the "My Church" link?

Yes. Simply go to the "my church" link, select "church settings", and change the setting to disable this link for anyone without a church admin role or team planner admin role in Church Director.

Can volunteers mark their calendar as busy or unavailable ("blackout dates")?

Yes. Each team member can mark the days they are busy or not available, which prevents team leaders from assigning them a job for a particular day. Rapid Scheduling also honors these blackout dates by skipping an automatic assignment if they are marked as unavailable.

Integrating Church Director

Can Church Director integrate with my Church Management System (ChMS), Exchange Server, LDAP, PHP website, ...?

God has really placed on my heart the need to keep Church Director simple. Our findings so far is that much of the church software available today requires too much setup and technical expertise, sometimes requiring consulting engagements to get it working. We are focused on giving staff and lay leaders, who are giving their precious few hours after their work and home life, a simple app that helps make their leadership better and volunteers healthier.

Can I include a church logo or a custom design?

Not currently, but we are considering this addition in the future.

Subdomains and Login (new)

What are subdomains?

Subdomains are special website addresses, like the www in www.churchdirector.com. Many web-based applications are now using subdomains as the special website address where you may login and access your account. We have started using the same subdomain support to help provide better features and enhanced security for you in the future. From now on, you will visit your new subdomain to login, manage your teams, and respond to assignment requests.

What is my new subdomain website address?

To ensure everyone is already setup properly, we used your organization's website domain as your subdomain. So, if your church website is www.calvaryaustin.org, then your subdomain is calvaryaustin.churchdirector.com

Can I change my subdomain?

There is no way to change your subdomain on your own. If your subdomain is incorrect in some way, please contact us and we'll make the change on your behalf. Keep in mind that when we change your subdomain, any emails sent to the old address will no longer work.

I try to login but it keeps taking me back to the login screen. How do I fix that?

This happens if you still have browsers cookies from the older www website. We added some code to attempt to resolve the issue, but if you are still experiencing problems, try closing and restarting your browser. If that doesn't work, then please visit this website to learn how to clear your browser's cookies.

What will happen to emails sent out prior to the new subdomain support?

If assignment notification emails were sent prior to the new subdomain support, the email will contain a link to the older www.churchdirector.com page. These links will still work for some time while the conversion is underway. After enough time has passed, all emails will reference your new subdomain website address and we will enforce the subdomain requirement (invalidating any outdated www.churchdirector.com links for assignment request emails).