All things come in cycles.

People cycle in and out of different aspects of your ministry based on their age, employment, schedule and life priorities. Insightful pastors and lay leaders will watch these cycles and quickly identify the people who come up again and again. Who makes all the mission trips? Who volunteers to clean up after events more often than not? Who comes to the planning meetings and offers constructive advice? These are the people you can rely on to help the ministry grow.

But what about the next generation of leaders? If you aren’t identifying potential leaders coming out of Youth Ministries, Vacation Bible Schools and worship ministries such as the Choir, you are potentially missing out on the next lay leader or even someone who may discover a call to ministry. With all that in mind, how can you guide these young people to become the leaders of the future? Here are a few tips.

  • Track their interactions It’s one thing to hear the random comment about a young person’s attitude or aptitude, it’s another thing to keep track of it. Whenever possible, keeping track of their participation in church ministry and educational opportunities will give you an idea of what leadership areas within your ministry might be a good fit for them down the road.
  • Nurture their interests In addition to identifying those young leaders, it’s important to nurture them. When Jimmy consistently shows an unsolicited desire to help younger students in Sunday School or when Kelly has participated in the multiple food drives over several seasons, once you’ve noted that in your records, make sure to follow up to offer them encouragement and involvement at whatever comfort level suits them.
  • Look at the big picture Keeping an eye on an individual is important, but if you are really interested in planting seeds for the next generation of your ministry, you have to look at the congregation as a whole. How many of these leaders-in-training do you have? What areas of your ministry tend to attract future leaders? By looking at the broad scope, you can create more of those opportunities that bring out the best in your youngest members.

The path you set for youth in your congregation will ultimately bear fruit in years to come. If you need help building a nurturing plan for your ministry, call us anytime at 800.877.0222. We’ve spent over 40 years working helping ministries grow and prosper and we have the tools you need to identify, track and help nurture leaders for the next generation as well as reaching out to visitors or organizing groups. Let us help you.



For generations, everyone from carpenters to construction engineers has known one secret to building a sound structure — measure twice, cut once.  This simple rule about being prepared applies to any building project from cabinets to condominiums. But, it also applies when choosing the right software solution for your church.

So how can we better prepare when choosing software? Simple. Just remember EPPRA — Evaluate, Plan, Prepare, Reassess, and Act.


  • What are the biggest challenges you have in your ministry?
  • How well does your current solution work in helping you address those challenges?
  • What would your ideal solution include? 
  • Is your current solution scalable? Can it grow with your church?


  • What is your budget and implementation time frame for a church management solution?
  • Do you have staffing in place capable of addressing the demands of new software?
  • Are there any additional costs to consider such as new hardware, additional
    support or training?


  • Begin researching solutions, viewing product demonstrations
  • Take advantage of the free trials offered by most software providers to see firsthand how it can work for you.
  • Get input and buy-in from others in your ministry’s office. This will make the transition smoother.
  • Clean up your database. No need to add extra work moving old or outdated information.


  • Once you’ve narrowed down your options, compare the pros and cons of your current solution with the solution you are considering.
  • Does the new solution meet your views of an ideal solution?


Like a strong building, a successful ministry is built on a good foundation. If you take the time to “measure twice, cut once” when choosing a software solution for your church you will end up with a stronger solution that will make the business of ministry much easier and more efficient. For over 40 years, Shelby Systems has been helping churches, organizations and ministries large and small operate more efficiently so they can spend more time with people and less time on paperwork. Let us show you how we can do the same for you and your ministry.  Call us anytime at 800.877.0222.


Most churches these days understand their social media presence is no longer an optional part of their communication strategy. But just because you’re on social media doesn’t mean you’re effective. Take a look at nine of the most common mistakes churches make every day and the solutions for them:

  1. Poor Grammar – take a breath and check your post before you hit send. Mistakes happen, but do whatever you can to keep them rare. If possible, schedule your posts ahead of time and run your list of posts by another person to double check your grammar and spelling. Services like Grammarly will also spell check your content before you post. Don’t rely totally on these tools, but they can be another layer of protection for you.
  2. Not Responding to Questions – not responding to questions and comments on your social media platforms is to miss the entire point of your involvement in these channels. Make a commitment to respond and to do so quickly. Try to respond to all posts within 24 hours. During a typical workday, you might want to respond within four hours if you can swing it. Engagement is what gets your content viewed and shared. Your engagement will inspire others to respond.
  3. Posting the Same Content on Multiple Platforms – In the early days of social media, this was all the rage. You’d see individuals and churches (and even a few business brands) run the exact same content regardless of the platforms. Twitter and Facebook make this easy to do. But don’t do it! Each platform is a bit different. An effective tweet isn’t remotely the same as an effective Facebook post.
  4. Forgetting the 80/20 Rule – the 80/20 rule simply states that 80 percent of your social media content should inform, educate, and entertain your audience, and only 20 percent should push your own agenda. If all you do is promote your church’s events and publicize your ministry efforts, you’ll be glossed over as white noise. Look for ways to serve your audience. Encourage them. Give them hope. There’s so little of that on social media. You’ll set yourself apart in no time when you do so.
  5. Not Incorporating Photos and Videos in an Effective Way – the algorithms for Facebook and Twitter prioritize photos and videos. Do what you can to make sure you use as much visual media content as possible in your posts. Don’t stop with just including photos and videos either. Make sure what you post makes sense in a social (and likely) mobile context. For example, include captions in your videos so that your audience can understand your videos even if they aren’t in a position to listen to them. Know the ideal photo dimensions on various social channels and be sure you use those as well.
  6. Posting Too Often – many churches have the idea that if one social media post is good, 20 must be better. Wrong! The algorithms that determine which posts get viewed and which don’t by most of the people in your audience depend heavily on how a person interacts with your church. In other words, if you send out 20 posts but a person only engages with one of them, that person is less likely to see your future content than if you posted twice and they engaged with one. There’s no set rule for how often you should post. You’ll have to keep an eye on your metrics to see how frequency impacts your engagement and reach.
  7. Posting Too Infrequently – consistency is key in social media. These days, when people check out your church, they’re not looking you up in the Yellow Pages. They’re viewing your website (probably on a mobile phone), and they’re checking your social media streams. Make sure they are updated on a regular basis. Use one of the many social scheduling apps out there to develop a consistent cadence on your posting.
  8. Managing Too Many Platforms at Once – too many churches are tempted to get involved in every new platform that comes along. While it’s important to stay flexible and try new platforms when it makes sense, it’s more important to master the ones you’re on. Make the effort to find out what platforms your audience prefers. (It’s highly likely Facebook will be one of those choices.) Start with the most-used platforms and then branch out.
  9. Not Keeping an Eye on Their Metrics – you only value what you measure. It’s an old saying, but it’s particularly true with social media. Most of what you do as a church can’t be effectively measured, but social media is not one of those areas. Nearly everything related to social media can be counted. Make sure you look at the metrics often. You’ll never really know if the kinds of posts you’re running are connecting with your audience unless you look at those metrics. You’ll also want to make sure you’re posting an ideal number of times and during an ideal time of the day. You don’t need to overdo it, but at least scan key metrics on a weekly basis.

Source: Tobin Perry

Connect with Shelby Systems on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.



Smaller churches are sometimes reluctant to embrace technology and take their churches online. However, having an online technology strategy helps boost member engagement and encourages new church visitors. Connect on a wider scale by getting your church online. It’s easier than you might think and the rewards are well worth the effort.

Keep Consistent Branding

One thing to always remember throughout your online technology strategy is to keep consistent branding. From having the same logo to maintaining the same personality, a church’s brand is what people connect with. If you’re always serious on Facebook but humorous on Twitter, people might not be able to get a good sense about your church.

Start With A Website

Your church’s online strategy has to begin with one key ingredient – a website. Think of it as your virtual home online that happens to have its doors open 24/7. A few elements to include on your site are:

  • Images/videos of your church
  • Short description and mission statement
  • Service hours
  • Contact information
  • Blog
  • Calendar of events
  • Forum for members to interact
  • Social media channels

Obviously, your site can as big or small as you want. Some churches upload their services online, while others only upload a video now and then. The key is to have a place for visitors to learn more about your church.

Plan A Website Content Strategy

With a website comes the need for a content strategy. A church website helps people find your church through search engines, but to rank higher online, you need to keep your site current. This is where a blog comes in handy. To keep visitors coming back, create a content schedule to ensure you’re posting regularly. Even if it’s only one blog per week, it’s enough to stay current in search engines.

Also, plan what types of content you’ll upload. Will you use text, video, images or a mix (which works best)? Will you talk more about church activities, tackle current issues or answer questions from members and site visitors? Having a content strategy in place will make maintaining your blog much easier.

Choose At Least Two Social Networks

It might seem like there is a new social network every week, but your church doesn’t have to maintain a presence on every network. However, your online technology strategy should include at least two social networks. Facebook and Twitter are often the most popular choices because of their large user bases, but you could also choose from sites like Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. You could even get creative and use Medium since it’s part blogging platform and part social network. No matter which two you use, stay active to help build your church.

Get Members Involved Online

If you want your online technology strategy to actually be successful, you’re going to need some help. Get your members as involved as possible. For instance, ask them to connect with the church on social media and share their favorite posts. At one small church, the pastor encourages members to tag the church on Twitter when mentioning events to drive more people to the church’s social media profile. This same church even encourages members to use Bible apps on their phones if they want.

The lesson is to embrace technology, even in a small church. It’s an easy way to better engage members and bring in new members.

Offer E-Giving On Your Site

If tithing is down at your church, make e-giving a part of your online strategy. Online giving providers serve as a modern way for members and even non-members to tithe. Incorporate a giving form on your site or as a mobile app. In an age where many people only have credit cards on them, it’s easier to set up payments online versus remembering to get cash before church.

Utilize Volunteers

While getting a professional service to design your website is a good idea, you’re still left with maintaining it, uploading content and managing social media. Ask for volunteers to help manage it all. Meet with them weekly to discuss strategy and review what they’ve been doing. After all, it’s overwhelming for just one person to do everything.

Follow The Lead Of Other Churches

Not sure where to start? Search for other churches online and see what they’re currently doing. You can even learn from large churches. Don’t be afraid to send a message to any church you admire to ask questions or see how well their strategy is working for them.

According to a new study from the Hartford Institute, the majority of American churches have less than 100 in weekend worship attendance. The good news is that you can form a solid technology strategy for a church of any size. Follow the tips above and you should be well on your way to creating an effective online presence.

Source: Ministry Tech Magazine

For more information on how Shelby Systems can assist your small church, contact one of our Ministry Consultants.


Joining us all the way from New Zealand is Shelby customer and Supporting Pastor for Elim Christian Centre, Peter McArthur.

In this brief video interview, Peter tells us:
  • what his life was like growing up as a Kiwi
  • why he became a follower of Christ
  • how the church in New Zealand is different from the church in the US
  • what Shelby product he is using and what he hopes to accomplish with it
  • his thoughts on ISC 2017
  • what he’s been doing for fun in Dallas, Texas
Make sure to watch the end of the video to witness a special greeting and thanks to Shelby customers in the American church. 

Just click the image above to see this 5 minute conversation, and discover how Shelby is partnering with this growing congregation half-way around the world.


Church websites should help the church leadership while delivering the right content to your audience!

Here are 3 critical errors most Churches are not considering and therefore not benefiting from:

  1. Don’t think of your website as a brochure – It’s a conversation. A printed brochure simply offers information for someone’s understanding. A website can do so much more. It wants interactivity and engagement. A website needs to listen, take information, process requests, and deliver information on demand. A good communicator listens more than they speak.
  2. Don’t answer the “now what?” question on every page – You should know why you have your content on your website. You anticipate a desired response from it (or should). Like an understanding salesperson, you need to direct people to what is next (what you want them to look at or make input). It’s like hearing a good story and asking “why are you telling me this”; you can guess, but who better to guide you than the person telling the story! A good communicator leads people with content. Keep them engaged!
  3. You’re not watching the metrics – Your website wants to tell you about your audience and your content. Websites are collecting a ton of information, and Google Analytics are collecting that information for free (if you set it up properly). Once you log in, you’ll discover who’s reading your content, how long they spend, what page they go to, what search engine and keywords they used to find you, and lots more. A good communicator uses this data to shape their content.

Websites offer so much more for effective church communications than print materials. It’s the real reason we all have websites. Harness the power now!

Source: “Be Known for Something” by Mark MacDonald


A myth is a widely held but false belief or idea. Here are a few myths that we hear commonly when it comes to mobile giving.

  1. OLDER GENERATIONS WON’T GIVE ON THEIR MOBILE PHONE – Baby boomers and older generations are using mobile banking apps, paying for their coffee via the Starbucks app, buying things on Amazon, and engaging with their families on Facebook and Instagram.
  2. ONLY LARGE CHURCHES CAN USE MOBILE GIVING – The size of your church has literally no significance here. Whether you’re a small church that’s just starting or an established church that’s been serving your community for years, mobile giving can help you raise more money than ever.
  3. MOBILE GIVING COSTS TOO MUCH – Most churches will see far more giving over and above their normal weekly or monthly average which, even with fees, puts the church in a better financial position.
  4. MOBILE GIVING ISN’T SECURE – When done correctly, mobile giving is more secure than taking cash and/or checks when the collection plate comes by.
  5. MOBILE GIVING MAKES IT HARDER TO GIVE AND DOESN’T ALLOW DONORS TO SET UP RECURRING DONATIONS – You can give on your mobile phone faster than you can find, write, tear off, and drop your check into the plate. Plus, your tax receipt will be emailed immediately to your inbox. In addition, mobile giving actually makes setting up auto recurring giving easier because it’s shown to the person during their giving moment (eg. it puts it on their mind). Donors can then set up donations to occur on a schedule that fits with their financial situation.

To learn more about using Shelby software to setup Mobile Giving at your church, contact your Shelby Sales Representative today!

Source: Church Tech Today


Outreach events for churches can be predictable in the fall. But what if you tried something else, maybe something with an intentional evangelistic focus that your community might not expect? These ten outreach ideas will allow your church to be noticed in your community and, most importantly, provide your members with several opportunities for gospel conversations.

  1. Sponsor a booth at the county/state fair – churches from the area can sponsor booths at the fair and provide free face painting or even henna tattoos as a means for gospel conversations.
  2. Wear church t-shirts to a local event – this can help raise awareness of your church.
  3. Host a hunting season event for men – consider hosting a kickoff event for hunting season with a men’s dinner and have the men in your church invite their friends.
  4. Honor first responders in a worship service – your church could invite and provide a breakfast for all first responders then briefly recognize them in the worship service.
  5. Sponsor a breakfast for teachers at a local school – use the new school year as an opportunity to minister to local teachers, administrators, aides, bus drivers, and staff.
  6. Staff the concession stand at a local park or stadium – your presence will likely result in gospel conversations and invites to church worship services.
  7. Coordinate a community outreach day through your small groups – pick a Saturday or Sunday afternoon for all small groups to participate in a community outreach event.
  8. Hold a family movie night on the church lawn – consider having a movie night on the church lawn and encourage families to invite their neighbors and friends.
  9. Host an “Invite Your One” day – the fall is a great time to host these events, and they can be great catalysts for creating an atmosphere of inviting in your church.
  10. Set a gospel conversation goal for your church and provide training – train your members, and provide the opportunities for gospel conversations to happen.

Source: Lifeway Christian Resources


Today, we’re going to take a look at using video specifically in ministry to encourage, connect, and inspire your congregation as well as assist your worship team in learning their music. Video is perhaps one of the very best tools to share new music and inspire people in and beyond your church. So many of us regularly watch and listen to YouTube playlists as another option for entertainment.

YouTube is also a great help to worship leaders (free ebook on using YouTube in ministry).



  • C4 Churchin Canada has taken worship ministry a step further by writing their own worship songs and producing their own videos to teach and share this music with their congregation.
  • C4’s worship leader, Chris Vacher,recently wrote an article for CTT on the most beneficial apps for worship leaders, then shared this great new video with us.

Overall, I believe a production like this has lots of staying power, from showing people what your church is like to those who might see the video but not attend, to teaching people new songs. Whether you have a larger budget for video production like C4 Church, or a smaller budget, video can be used to teach new music and encourage worship participation. Lastly, the video can be used in many different ways via social media to enhance your church’s online presence and increase your church’s reach.

Source: Church Tech Today


Did you attend ISC 2017 in Dallas, TX this year? If you did, you can relive some great memories on our 10 year anniversary podcast. If you missed it, you can still see the best moments in about 7 minutes. Brad Hill, President of Ministry Brands, starts us off with his keynote address titled: Always Come Back to Why. Next, join us for praise and worship with Love & The Outcome. Finally, we conclude with comments from attendees, a slide show of fun activities and one very excited winner. Make sure to also watch our ISC 2018 Promo and Find Your Rhythm in Memphis, TN June 6 – 8, 2018.

Watch the 60 Second ISC 2018 Memphis Promo.
Register for International Shelby Conference 2018 and save!