Nick Nicholaou is the President and Founder of longtime Shelby partner Ministry Business Services. We ran into Nick at ISC 2014 in St. Louis, MO. In this brief interview he shares what event inspired Nick and his wife to start the company, what MBS does and how they integrate with Shelby Software, why the cloud is a definite game changer, what his particular area of expertise is, and how MBS can save you time, money and resources. Nick also reports on how Shelby did in his very popular annual review of church management software providers. Make sure you watch the end of the video to learn how to contact Nick and discover more about Ministry Business Services!

Shelby Podcast: Nick Nicholaou – Ministry Business Services from Shelby Systems Media on Vimeo.


Check out the winner for ISC 2014 Most Creative Testimonial. This video testimonial was shot at ISC 2014 by the Shelby Production-Media team. It was so good, we gave them a special award during the closing session on Friday for being most creative .

Thanks Heather Smith and Christine Stammer.

Do You Wanna Use Arena? – Most Creative Testimonial Video from Shelby Systems Media on Vimeo.

To meet their Regional Shelby Rep mentioned in the video, visit Kenny’s info page here.


Have you ever wondered what type of leader you are? When we hear the term “leader”, our minds have been trained to think of a pastor, someone who has influence over a large group or someone who is invited to give motivational speeches at conferences. This is not the case. There are many types of leaders and just as many ways to lead. Every type is crucial to the body of Christ.


I remember in college, the church I was a part of at that time would give all new members a spiritual gifts test to show their strength and weaknesses. The purpose of administering this test was to help each person know where to get involved and how to serve in the church. I thought this was a great idea. This test helped me learn things about myself that I had never really thought through before. Now, many of our readers are church leaders. So, chances are many of you have probably taken some type of test like this to identify your leadership style. I came across an interesting test that is different than tests I’ve seen. The Six Christian Leadership Styles was advertising a free leadership style evaluation. So, I thought, why not? It turned out to be pretty helpful. This test focuses on three main categories; each one is modeled after Jesus’ ministry and teaching. The categories are strategy, chemistry and spirituality. You need all three to be balanced but you will have one area that is the strongest. Being aware of your weakest category is also helpful for leadership purposes.


Here are the definitions of each category from Six Styles website.

  • Spirituality encompasses all that it means to love God.
  • Chemistry encompasses all that it means to love people.
  • Strategy encompasses all that it means to love the world, by fulfilling the mission of God for the world.

My results were above average in Chemistry and below average in strategy and spirituality. Therefore I am a “Relational” leader. I had two other friends at work that took this test and they both scored highest in strategy. One of them is a “Missional” leader and the other is an “Imaginative” leader. I think the results were accurate for each of us. I think this is a pretty cool test because it helps us see how the Lord has equipped us uniquely to lead and also how dependent we are on Him to help influence others for His glory. It may be worth checking out for yourself.


Arena Standard is Shelby Systems’ exciting new line of cutting-edge software designed with your budget in mind! In this brief video interview, Director of Business Development, Mark White, explains what this new software suite can do and what type of ministry would find it most valuable. Shelby Sales Manager, Alfred Johnson, reveals why Arena Standard is such an incredible value and gives us the support and training options. Finally Arena Project Manager, Kyle Barker, describes the hardware and staff requirements. Make sure you watch the end of the video to learn more about the features and benefits of Arena Standard!

Shelby Podcast: Introducing Arena Standard from Shelby Systems Media on Vimeo.


When natural disaster hits, we are all affected. Our hearts ache as we watch those who live through tragedy struggle to make sense of the remains. The recent tornados that hit Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Mississippi were tragic. They left behind a path of destruction that goes far beyond the physical ruin. Yet in the darkness we are more aware of light. Light brings with it hope and peace; when life is dark we have a better understanding of our need for light.


One story that has been all over the internet since these recent tornados is the story of April Smith. She and her husband Daniel were seriously injured by the tornado that hit their town of Vilonia, AR on Sunday, April 27th, 2014. Sadly, their two sons, Cameron and Tyler did not survive. Yet amidst this dark time April is clinging to the hope of the Lord. Even as she lays with two broken legs in a hospital bed she confidently clings to the fact that her sons fulfilled their purpose in this life and are now with their heavenly Father. She admits that there was more darkness to come, more then she can predict, but she also has an overwhelming peace that calms her. This peace allows her to say, God is good, all the time.


I read a blog post written by a close friend of April’s. I found this post on Facebook. I mention this because Facebook now has a feature that gathers related articles and lists them below the original posts. Under this blog post was a testimony video. As I looked closer I noticed it was a video of April’s spiritual journey. Once I realized this was the same April from the blog post I had to watch it. In twenty minutes, I had learned about a women who was loving God in the midst of one of the hardest trials imaginable and I also learned the story of how she came to know the Lord. Was this by chance or did the Lord want people to know of this women’s faith?


One detail that really stuck out to me in the video was an encounter April had, when she was young, with a man at a camp meeting. This man prophesied that April would be a mighty women of God one day and would save hundreds and thousands of people. I heard this and immediately thought, PROPHECY COMPLETE! It is safe to say April Smith is a mighty women of God. She rejoices in His goodness while her heart is experiencing the agonizing loss of her two children. Her response to this event resonates that God’s love is greater than life. To add to this, April’s story has been seen by thousands of people. Now, how the Lord uses this story in the lives of those who view it isn’t as easy to trail but I do know it has impacted me.


Please pray for the victims who were impacted by the tornados that hit in late April 2014. Many of them have to rebuild every aspect of their lives because they lost, family, homes, schools, work buildings, grocery stores etc. God has compassion on those in need, He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer.




Have you ever heard anyone refer to the Bible as a rulebook? I read an article recently that gave some good perspective on this topic. If you think about it, we humans are made to interact and be in relationships. If you are in a relationship with a person who forces rules upon you, the outcome will be discontentment and stress. My relationship with my third grade teacher was that way. I tried so hard to reach the standard that was set before me but I could never hit the mark before more rules were cast upon me. Thus entered stress. Stress occurs in all relationships but if there is no love to balance out the stress it’s not pretty. I have made it past the stress of this third grade relationship but I will never forget the unpleasantness.


So, back to the Bible. We need to be able to relate to Scripture and this can be hard at times. It’s stressful when we learn the things we love in this world are not what the Lord loves. However, Jesus’ love can trump this stress. Thanks to Jesus and the relationship He offers us through the cross, we can experience  complete forgiveness that never expires. We can embrace the fact that we are not perfect yet at the same time we can embrace the freedom to keep trying. Christ loves us completely, no strings or rules attached. This does more than balance the relationship, it drastically tilts the scale in our favor due to no action on our part. This article from Relevant Magazine puts it quite well, “The Bible isn’t about rules; it’s about Jesus. It’s designed to be used in the context of relationship. The goal in reading the Word shouldn’t be to get to a certain chapter, but to meet Jesus along the way.”


So much of life is in the motive. Why do we do the things we do? When we sit to read the Bible do we read so we can say we followed the rules? Or do we read scripture because we truly love Jesus and we want to be with him and know Him more intimately? The good news is every time we realize our motive behind a particular action is wrong we get to experience His forgiveness again. 

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APRIL 29, 2014 – MEMPHIS, TN – Shelby Systems would like to announce our newest product, Arena Standard Online. Arena Standard Online is loaded with the most commonly requested features to help you manage your ministry. Combining group management, communication tools and much more makes this product a tremendous value. With a pricing plan designed with your budget in mind, ministries of all kinds can utilize the latest technology to manage their data. Arena Standard Online is ideal for the smaller-sized church that wants an intuitive and powerful way of expanding its ministry. As an online product with connectivity from virtually anywhere, you have all the tools you need to connect your front office, back office and extended field of influence. To take it a step further, Shelby will host all data for Arena Standard Online customers for added convenience. To find out more about the features and benefits of Arena Standard Online, visit or email Shelby’s Sales team at .


Shelby Systems has provided Church Management Software (ChMS) since 1976 to faith based organization working with financial and membership software needs. Shelby Systems has worked hard to create innovative solutions to help manage their people, processes and resources to meet the ever changing needs of faith based organizations. For more information about Shelby Systems and their products, visit


Do you remember turning on your first laptop and being memorized by the beautiful wallpaper screen that popped up? The colors were so crisp and bright, unlike anything you’d seen up to that point. I’ve had two laptops so far in my life. I specifically remember the first time I turned them on and wallpaper images that greeted me.

 Windows XP operating system has a default wallpaper called “Bliss”. Green rolling hills meet a brilliantly blue sky; are you familiar with the image? It has been called the most viewed image in the world. And rightfully so, it has been viewed by over 1 billion people since it was chosen in 2001. Microsoft recently posted a YouTube video that explains the origin of the image by interviewing the creator Charles O’Rear. This video serves as a farewell to Windows XP (and “Bliss”) since Microsoft is no longer supporting the operating system as of April 8th, 2014. They may have moved on but since this image has been etched into our brains it will not be easily forgotten.  Photo Credit: oddsock via Compfight cc

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Shelby Systems would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter. May our hearts comprehend the completeness of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. May we realize our need for forgiveness not just during Holy Week but every day. May we rejoice in the sacrifice the Lord has given us and our hearts be so full of gratitude that our lives drastically change. Glory to God for the things He has done.


Shelby Systems will be closed tomorrow, Friday, April 18th  as we celebrate Good Friday with our families and friends. We will be back to normal business hours on Monday, April 21st

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This past weekend, my 4th and 5th graders and I learned about Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey; better known to some as the triumphal entry. The crowds cheered as He approached the city. They had heard of Him but most people had not yet seen Him. They were prepared to be blown away by the royal procession of this warrior King who they expected to be much like His ancestor David. This Warrior would fight for them and give them victory over their oppressors. He was the Messiah whom they had long awaited and He was here!!!


Were they disappointed when they saw their King; whose royal procession consisted entirely of a humble donkey and his followers on foot? Did they have second thoughts when He was not built like a solider and when He did not wear garments fit for a King? He was rumored to have done miracles; so hopefully  He could do just one more and out smart Caesar and his legions. As we look back, we know Jesus had a different agenda. This agenda was not to save Israel from Roman rule but to save all humanity from their sins and death. He would restore the relationship between God the Father and His beloved creation.  


As a learning technique I often tell my kids to picture themselves within a story. It is interesting, that as humans we usually pick the “good characters” within a story as the roles in which we most relate. However, this story poses a problem to that instinct because all characters, including Jesus’ dearest friends, are unfaithful and tainted with sin. The truth is we are all sinners. So we fit in this story quite well.


Your personality might find it difficult to imagine; after all imagination is not “real” so maybe it should be reserved for children. Well, if that is the case I would propose that we aren’t as grown up as we might have thought. Our imaginations are working overtime trying to convince ourselves that we aren’t “that bad”; when in reality all have sinned and sin = death. If you have never sinned then you do not need forgiveness. If you are the “good character” in the story then you are forfeiting precious forgiveness that is freely offered. Yet if you are the “bad character”, or a sinner, then realizing your personal offences against God (sin) makes the forgiveness that much sweeter. This realization has helped me embrace my real character and trade it in quickly for forgiveness.


I pray that by His gracious mercy He will cultivate in us hearts of true repentance so we might truly see Him for who He is and receive the forgiveness that is ours to take. And when He does cultivate our hearts, may He receive all the glory He deserves. Happy Easter everyone!!