Every church that wants to effectively communicate with its congregation should understand the power of design, because how the information is presented is as important as what the information says. This short video from Column Five reminds us, “your message is only as good as your ability to share it.”


Allow Shelby Systems to assist you in communicating with your congregation with our award-winning software.

Please contact one of our Ministry Consultants today!


This is the first installment in a series on encouraging generous giving in your church. As we begin to enter the giving season, be watching over the next several weeks for tips to help fund your ministry’s goals and vision. 

From church youth groups to sports teams to missions trips to non-profit businesses: no matter what your ministry or endeavor, if you need to raise money to put a project in motion, these 8 tips will help you make your fundraiser more successful.


  1. BE ENTHUSIASTIC – People don’t want to give money away, but they do want to be a part of a great cause, an exciting dream, or a bold vision. So when you ask for a donation, have enthusiasm and energy!
  2. ASK PEOPLE TO JOIN YOUR TEAM – When you ask people to give you money, you’re asking them to join your team. So make sure you tell people why they need to be a part of your cause or mission.
  3. REMEMBER GENEROSITY IS CONTAGIOUS – A recent study showed that 85% of the time, people donate to a cause when they are asked. People are looking for ways to be unselfish, kind, and benevolent. Give them that opportunity!
  4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK – The fear of asking prevents other people from receiving the benefits of giving. If you’re afraid to ask (or you feel like you’re begging) remember people always feel better about themselves when they’re generous.
  5. THE PRINCIPLE OF GIVING – Fundraising is based on the biblical principle of giving. When people give to you and your cause, they’ll begin to be blessed by this principle almost immediately.
  6. SET A GOAL – It’s important to give your group a goal, an overall goal and individual goals. It’s best if your goal is a “set” dollar amount. Even if you don’t reach that amount, everyone will have something to strive for, and less will be likely to quit until your group brings in the funds needed.
  7. SET A DEADLINE – It’s best to fundraise over a shorter period. The most successful fundraisers are always done in 2 to 3 weeks.
  8. CELEBRATE! – When your fundraiser is complete, don’t forget to thank and congratulate your team. Fundraising is hard work. Your team members deserve a high-five!

Shelby Systems is committed to helping churches large and small streamline their giving process. We provide the software and the plan that can help your church make the leap to digital giving. To find out how, contact one of our Ministry Consultants today. And don’t forget to ask about our special Digital Giving Package!




Since 1915, Harvard University’s Cruft Laboratory has played host to leading-edge research and historic innovations. The lab was used to research antennas and batteries in the early days. During WWII it was instrumental in the development of radar and sonar. In 1944, the first electromechanical computer was assembled in the basement of Cruft. It was utilized by the Navy to solve complex mathematical problems, and later by the Manhattan Project to calculate the effects of imploding the first atomic bomb.

From the street it was impossible for a casual passerby to recognize Cruft’s innovative legacy. What you could see from the street was the accumulation of random ‘techno-junk’ piling up in the windows.

As the legend goes, by the 1950s MIT students had adopted cruft as slang for the trash and debris that accumulates over time. Since then, the term has quickly spread as jargon for anything unwanted or poorly constructed. In software for example, cruft is code that is obsolete, redundant or poorly written.

Wherever the word came from, the reality is that our churches are full of it. Maybe cruft isn’t stacking up in your windowsills, but take a look at your sound booth, backstage, closets, offices, equipment racks, and even on stage. The importance of our mission makes it easy to become like the researchers of Cruft Lab—too focused on the work at hand to notice the swelling heap of yesterday’s tools.

In the long run, each church needs to build systems to proactively avoid cruft. We need to systematize our decision-making for retaining or replacing equipment based on cost analysis. We need to establish a process for upgrades, including steps for disposal or repurposing old gear.

But if you’re drowning right now, here are three steps to clear your church cruft:

  1. SORT—Make a pile of cruft that’s worth the effort to sell. Everything else goes straight to the dumpster. When in doubt, throw it out.
  2. SHARE—Before you sell anything, contact neighboring churches & ministries with a list of gear that you can give them. Make sure to explain that you don’t want to add to their cruft problem, but they’re welcome to anything that will immediately help. One church’s cruft is another church’s treasure.
  3. SELL—Use tools like Craigslist, eBay, Reverb, or Facebook Marketplace to list the remaining cruft. Decide if you will ship items or require local pickup. Use the proceeds to upgrade the seating in the sound booth or improve other spaces used by volunteers who serve your church. If the sound tech isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.

Source: Ministry Tech

Shelby Systems has decades of experience helping churches in all aspects of ministry, for assistance contact one of our Ministry Consultants today!


We have been monitoring the devastation of the storms and resulting damage as Hurricane Irma makes its way north.

With that in mind, we wanted to reach out to our customers in the area and let you know, first and foremost, that you and all the people you serve are in our thoughts and prayers.

Secondly, we realize that in these emergencies, the church finds itself sheltering those left homeless as well as helping families pick up the pieces after the storm has moved on. While we may not be able to be with you in person, we wanted to let you know that if there is anything we can do to help related to your Shelby Systems software, backups, or remote hosting, please let us know.

When you are able, please call us if we can be of service. Our number is 800.877.0222 Ext. 1023.

In the meantime, please know that we are praying for safety and strength for you and your community.

In Him,
The Shelby Ministry team


As your church grows, you’ll need the tech tools to help you manage your team, finances, and service elements. You’ll be amazed at how the right tools can launch your communication and productivity into the stratosphere! Here are five incredibly helpful tools:


This platform from CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) gives you legal access to tens of thousands of lead sheets, chord charts, and vocal arrangements from hundreds of publisher catalogs. Since CCLI represents most of the world’s Christian publishers, you can find the official chord charts and lead sheets for the songs your church uses. You can transpose songs with the touch of a button. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for, and so easy to use!

  1. SLACK:

Need to make sure your teams are communicating well? Slack is the internal instant messaging platform that is making emails obsolete. Slack enables you to keep the conversation flowing with channels you can tailor around specific topics, tasks, and teams. You can create private channels for more sensitive information, or communicate directly with direct messages—and all communication is easily searchable. It’s perfect for sharing files, images, PDFs, and documents. A simple drag and drop will share your files, or it can be synced with services like Google Drive or Dropbox. It also integrates with many other apps.


It’s getting to the point where having a church mobile app is non-negotiable. It keeps your church members engaged and communicating, while providing an incredibly useful giving tool.

The ShelbyNext design team can create a beautiful custom app for your church that includes:

  • Church Logo
  • Graphics
  • Videos
  • Links
  • More

Once downloaded your members and visitors will have full access to your events, videos, photos, social media feeds, news, staff directory, giving and much more.


For the life of me, I can’t figure out why any organization would use anything else but Google for creating documents, spreadsheets, forms, etc. It’s free, completely collaborative, and instantly saved and available on any device. You can share the content you’re working on, and the people that need to be involved can comment and edit it into perfection. And if your church is larger and a little more enterprising, you can even upgrade to Google Apps.

  1. ASANA:

The more ministries, volunteers, and staff you have, the more important it is to make sure stuff gets done. Asana is the ultimate get-it-done tool. With Asana, you can take a project and break it down into actionable steps with clear due dates. You get regular updates on every project you’re following, and Dashboard and Calendar views allow you to see your team’s progress quickly and easily. Seriously, if you know how to make a list, you can get your team using Asana. It’s that easy, and the payoffs are enormous.

For more ideas that can help your church grow, contact one of our Ministry Consultants today!


What do you do when the pastor comes to you and complains about the volume of the worship band? Mike O’Brien holds​ ​a B.A. in Music from Kennesaw State University and Master of Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies.​ ​He has worked as a producer, engineer, and mixer at Lucko Sound Studio, and with a collective of 25+ musicians. Mike has survived the sound battles and shares his insights with you in this brief video. Watch and learn from his many years of experience just how to win the volume war.

Source: Ministry Tech


Shelby Systems has decades of experience helping churches in all aspects of ministry, for assistance contact one of our Shelby Ministry Consultants today!


As your church partner, we wanted to connect with you to provide two valuable (and free) tools as you prepare for Hurricane Irma. No church can predict when a difficult situation will happen or how big the impact will be on the community. However, you can develop a crisis communication plan to assist in effectively ministering your church community’s greatest hours of need.

  1. Shelby partners with High Ground Solutions to provide communications modules for our software. The good folks at High Ground have developed a blueprint of preparation for crisis management:
  2. High Ground Solutions is also giving you full access to ChurchCast at NO CHARGE through October 15th, 2017 so you can prepare immediately.

What is ChurchCast?
With ChurchCast you can send voice calls, SMS/text messages, and emails. You can launch ChurchCast messages from a secure web-portal, through mobile app, or using any touch-tone phone via toll-free hotline.

Start using it today before the storm hits:
To get started, simply click here and complete the activation form on the page. A team member of our partners at High Ground Solutions will be in touch with the simple instructions to get you started.

Your member contact information 
To make the startup as quick as possible, we have set up a simple “mobile opt-in” process that you can share with your church members and they can “sign up” themselves with their cell phones. This is simple, instantaneous, and requires no data entry from your church office to help expedite during this difficult time.

We have seen the immense impact these tools can make as you brace for an emergency event. During this crisis, it’s important to our mission that we provide our service today to serve you. There is no obligation to purchase anything beyond the free period. It is in full approach of service that we offer this to you today. 

We will be praying for you in the days to come.

In Him,
Your friends at Shelby Systems


Louie Salazar, one of our Shelby Headquarters customers, joins us today as we prepare for the HQ2017 Conference on October 4th and 5th.

Louie explains:
  • How his background prepared him for what he is doing today
  • What his plans are for managing the Illinois District
  • How Arena has helped him do his job more effectively
  • How ShelbyNext assists in the day-to-day operation of his organization
  • What he would tell someone who is thinking about migrating from Shelby v5
  • Why he is excited about the future of Shelby Systems 
Network with people like Louie Salazar at HQ2017 in Memphis, TN.

Learn more by visiting:



Your church’s website is the new front door.

Most people who are searching for a church will do so online first. You can consistently connect with these people online and lead them to visit your local church by optimizing your website for search engines.

Here are seven keys to optimizing your church’s website:


  1. Claim your local listings – The first thing you need to do is claim your church’s local listing. Here are the top three you want to start with:
  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yahoo!

This will provide your church website with two benefits.

First, claiming your listing will let these search engines know how to display your information in search results. This will help people searching for local churches in your area to know about your church, such as your address, hours, and contact information.

Second, these listings will provide your church with a local citation (information about your church), which is an important component to ranking in local church search results.


  1. Claim your church on local directories – The next step you want to take is to claim your church on local directories. The two you want to primarily focus on are Yelp and Citysearch. As with your local listings, this will help you to share the most up to date information about your church, provide a local citation, and help boost your ranking in search engines.


  1. Encourage reviews – Local reviews are key to increasing your ranking in local search results. This includes reviews on Google, Yelp, and elsewhere. But focus on getting reviews on Google at first. From asking people to leave a review, to placing a sign on your kiosk or window for people to see when leaving, there are several ways you can encourage your congregation and visitors to leave a review.


  1. Know the keywords people are using – Place yourself in the shoes of someone searching for a church in your town. In a search engine, what words will they use? What questions will they ask? What phrases come to mind? This first step is important. Take 30–60 minutes to think through these answers. Poll several mmembers of your congregation to get their opinion. Ask people on social media for their thoughts.

Now, if you have analytics set up on your website, then look to see how people are getting to your website:

  • What keywords are organically leading people to your website?
  • Are other websites referring people to yours?
  • Are social media channels leading people to visit your website?

Next, to get additional ideas, you can use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to search for ideas. There are other tools you can use to conduct keyword research. But this free tool will help you to get started. With your list of keywords and keyword phrases in hand, identify the words and phrases you want to focus on. This will help you to direct your efforts and keep track of your progress. Let me emphasize this: Make sure you’re focusing on local searches to help boost your church’s website in local search rankings. A common keyword phrase many people use is “church + city/region” or “denomination + city/region.”


  1. Optimize your website with your keywords – The next step you need to take is to optimize your website with the keywords you selected above. From your homepage to the individual pages of your website, it’s important to optimize every single page. Here are several important onsite search engine optimization (SEO) to update:
  • Title Tags
  • Meta Description
  • Page URL
  • Content
  • Alt-Text in Images
  • Internal Linking

For the content on your individual pages, look for natural ways to use H1 tags. Again, for a point of emphasis, it will be important to include your city/region as often and naturally as possible. If you use WordPress for your church’s content management system (CMS), then consider using these two plugins to help you optimize your individual pages:

  • Yoast SEO
  • All in One SEO Pack


  1. Embed a Google Map on your Contact Page – Embedding a Google Map with a marker of your local church is one among many helpful tactics. The best place to include this is on your Contact Page. To do this, all you need to do is search for your church in Google Maps, click SHARE, copy the code from Embed map, and paste it into your Contact Page.


  1. Include your local church name, address, and phone number – Include your local church name, address, and phone number on every page of your website. For this tactic, it’s important to use the same information and format as you do on local listings and local directories. One of the best locations to include this information is in the footer of your church’s website. This way it will appear at the bottom of every page.


Your church’s website can be a great evangelistic tool. It’s a way you can digitally connect with people to lead them to meet you in person by visiting your worship service or to learn more about your church.

Source: Dean Sweetman


For more creative ways to reach people in your community, contact one of our Shelby Ministry Consultants today!