Community within your church is built on nurturing relationships with your members. In today’s world, that means connecting with your congregation beyond the walls of the church. Whether you’re using your laptop or mobile app to update interactions, plan and manage groups, send mass emails or add information for visitors you’re meeting on-the-go, the church management tools you rely on have to be flexible and adaptive.

ShelbyNext | Membership is the membership management piece of the ShelbyNext product line. ShelbyNext is a unified, next-generation technology platform for churches. It’s a complete ecosystem for digital ministry. You can use these tools separately, but they are designed for maximum ministry impact when you combine them together.

It’s brought to you by the trusted Shelby Systems team that has led the church finance and membership arena for 40 years!


dr-thom-s-rainer If you work for a ministry, you are not going to want to miss the valuable information that Dr. Thom S. Rainer, President and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, shares with us today! Did you know nine out of ten churches in America are declining or not keeping up with their community’s population? The foremost authority on church growth is here to share a lifetime of wisdom so that your ministry can either become or remain healthy. We cover these subjects: the five most common obstacles to breaking attendance barriers, hot button issues, change in the church and much more. Plus make sure you watch our bonus videos: Change or Die where Dr. Rainer talks about his father and relates it to the church in America, and 9 Tech Trends That Every Church Should Consider. This edition of Shelby Podcast is sponsored by ShelbyNext. The next era in Shelby Software


Our mission as an online giving provider is to make sure you reach your donation goals. We want to take this opportunity to share three things that you can start doing today to make online giving a success.

Increase Awareness
    If people do not know online giving is available, they will not use it. There are a few easy ways you can make sure people know about online giving at your church. The easiest way to make people aware is to have the option to give be somewhat obvious on your website. Having a consistent navigation button on your website with the words, Online Giving, Donate Online, or Giving, is highly recommended. These words are easy to read and hard to misunderstand. Burying your link to online giving or using longer words like “Financial Stewardship,” may get glanced over and result in a missed opportunity. It should be very easy to find your online giving button. Take a minute to visit your own website. If it takes longer than five seconds and a quick look over to find out where to donate, you may be making it too hard to accept donations online.
Drive Traffic
    If you have done a good job of making sure your online giving is easy to find, the next step is driving traffic. We are not talking about in a car and during rush hour. “Driving Traffic” is simply the concept of getting people to your website. We all do not like to admit it, but the fact is potential donors are not going to your website as often as you think they are. People can attend church and be a part of organizations for years and only visit the website once or twice a year. You must drive traffic.

      Maybe you have heard this saying:
      “Witness always. If necessary, use words.”

    We laugh at that, but it is true. Just imagine how you might impact your awareness and traffic if you used words. We recommend mentioning it to your congregation four weeks in a row. Remember, not everyone is in service every week. If you have side screens that run before services or printed materials that your members receive, make sure you are mentioning on them that online giving on your website.

    Once you have mentioned it four weeks in row, now it is time to get creative. Each week come up with a new reason to send everyone back to your website. The more you drive traffic to your website week after week, the more your members will see your “Online Giving” link that you made obvious on your website.

    Unfortunately, driving traffic is a goal that really is never reached. You will want to continue to come up with new ways to make your website “sticky” – making sure people visit it and come back to it again and again.
Make it Personal
    The third thing you can do to increase your online giving is making sure you have made it personal. If you have a giant button on your home page that launches people right into the donation form, you have not made it quite as personal as you could have. We call that a “cold transfer “. It is the “click and boom” form in your face method. It does not always work best. When someone clicks the link that you made stand out, we recommend having that initial link take the person to a page that discusses giving in general. Try to come up with 3-5 sentences that serve as a “warm transfer” to someone actually submitting the donation. Here is just an example of what you might communicate preceding the button that opens the donor application:

        Thank you for your support! Because of your financial support
        and generosity, you have planted seeds that will enable
        [organization name] to grow in our community, and provide a
        church home for you and others. Thank you again for answering
        the call to contribute to God’s work here at [organization name].

        There are several ways to donate to [organization name]:

        1. We offer safe and secure online giving:
          Click Here to Give Online

        2. We have a donation boxes in the back of the auditorium where
        you can leave your offering.

        3. You can mail your donation to:
          Organization Name
          City, State ZIP
In closing, if you have done everything you can to build awareness, drive traffic, and make it personal, you have the right foundation in place to make sure your online giving is a success. Since you have done your part, we will do everything we can to make sure the process is seamless for your donors.


Shelby Podcast: Martha Haines – East West Worship from Shelby Systems Media on Vimeo.

Get to know fellow Ministry Brands team member and leader of the praise band East West Worship, Martha Haines, in this inspirational interview. Watch and learn how Martha got connected with Ministry Brands, what she observed on the El Salvador vision trip, why music is so important to her, what musical genres influence her worship style today, discover her top goal for praise and worship time and meet the rest of the guys in the band. You can learn more about the ministry of Martha Hanes and East West Worship by visiting the web site in the video. Also learn how you can pick up her latest songs on iTunes. And make sure you watch the end of the video to experience a live mini-concert of praise songs that East West Worship performed at ISC 2016 in Orlando, Florida!

International Shelby Conference | ISC 2017
Dallas, TX
June 13 – 16


Group Photo Edited-1024
Shelby Systems began this awesome journey serving churches and ministries 40 years ago. Over the years, we have been blessed as a company to serve more than 7500 churches and ministries in 45 countries. We are not done yet! We are excited about what the future holds for us as a company and as a people of God. Please take a few minutes to read the article posted in Christian Newswire about our 40th anniversary.


Shelby Podcast: ISC 2016 Highlights from Shelby Systems Media on Vimeo.

In the words of inspirational speaker Inky Johnson, ISC 2016 in Orlando, FL was “Awesome!” Highlights from this year’s conference include: Inky Johnson’s passionate keynote address, music from East West Worship, a devotion on landmark moments with Ken Bevel, Shelby’s 40-year anniversary celebration and much, much more. If you weren’t able to attend ISC this year, catch a glimpse of the excitement. If you were there, relive some of the most memorable moments. Discover what the attendees learned during the week and which experiences were the most valuable for them. Links will also be provided so that you can watch the official 40-year anniversary video and Shelby Cares video that were debuted at ISC 2016. Start making plans now to join us in Dallas, TX for ISC 2017, and Expect Big Things!


Growth 2
The most important part of growth is retention.

There are innate desires in every church to spread the Good News of the Gospel, to reach the “unchurched”, to minister to those in need, to be a valued resource in the communities they serve, to have congregants that are thriving spiritually. And to grow.

There are many things that can affect a church’s ability to grow. For the scope of this blog post, we will look at one deemed the most important – retention. How do you keep new members coming? How do you prevent existing members from dropping out?

We have gathered a few points to consider when dealing with issues of growth especially as it relates to retention:

1. Encouraging and developing a sense of community.
    The Church is the body of Christ. We are all connected through the sacrifices Jesus made for us because of His love for us. Being in an environment that promotes this sense of connectedness increases a person’s level of commitment and relevance to that place. You can accomplish this in several ways – following up on missing members, visiting or sending cards to the sick and shut-in or recently bereaved and reaching out to members having good or bad life issues. When we connect to a place we feel that authentic sense of community.
2. Encouraging pew members to become active members.
    This one may require you to review your definition of what active and pew members are. For the scope of this post, we are defining pew member as someone who attends and give regularly and does nothing else. We want members to attend and give regularly. We also want members to have an active role in the mission and life of the Church and this involves doing something. Figuring out how to motivate members to action is a subject worthy of its own blog post. One place to start could simply be making members aware of what service opportunities are available or having a “Ministry Fair” where they can visually see the different areas people are actively serving in the church.
3. Developing a New Membership Curriculum if you do not have one place. If you have one in place, developing and ensuring that regular follow-ups with new members who have completed classes take place.
    It is easy for a new member to blend in to the background and slip out of the back door. Having new membership classes provides an opportunity for new members to get to know your church, your tenets, your pastor and staff. It also provides an opportunity for you to get to know your new members. This is also an opportunity to have people or couples mentor the new members to help foster a sense of community. Remember number one?
4. Encouraging Small Group and/or Sunday School attendance.
    Small Groups and Sunday School offer another place for spiritual growth and development in the church and an opportunity for a deeper connection between members as they grow in Christ. Encouraging member attendance in Sunday School, Life Groups, Small Groups, etc. is an easy way to get them involved in the life of the church.
5. Setting clear expectations.
    When people join a church, they come expecting something. But what? Members knowing what they can expect from a church and what a church expects from them can go a long way in avoiding feelings of disillusionment. By setting expectations, you clarify the church’s and the individual’s role in that person’s spiritual wholeness. These expectations make clear what a member’s responsibilities are to the church. With so many people shopping churches to meet individualistic needs, it is also a chance to refocus them on the purpose of the Church.
6. Developing strategies for conflict resolution.
    Unfortunately, anywhere people gather conflict will arise. With different levels of spiritual maturity, personalities and backgrounds in a church, issues and conflicts are sure to occur. Having biblically based strategies in place to deal with conflict in a timely manner can often prevent these issues from getting out of hand and spreading.
These are just a few points to consider. We are sure there are many other thoughts on this issue. Please feel free to share any thoughts you might have on the points listed or add some that you feel are too important and should not be overlooked. If you are looking for tools that can help you manage your church database, automate your workflows or simplify your processes give us a call – (800) 877-0222.
Our mission is to provide software and financial tools needed to help ministries and organizations thrive.


Mobile Summit
Recently Shelby Systems and Ministry Brands assembled several of our Android/iOS developers, plus other stakeholders in Memphis to discuss our long-term strategy for mobile ministry. It was an exciting discussion with people from multiple brands and divisions, all focused on the common goal of building tools that move ministry forward. We want to put amazing capabilities into the hands of pastors, volunteers and church parishioners. Coming out of the mobile summit, our product leadership will be constructing a plan to deliver new technology to “small screens” in this calendar year. Be watching for new, cutting-edge mobile tools from Shelby Systems in 2016 and beyond.


June is the traditional month for weddings. Pastors and other church staff have a plethora of stories to tell about weddings they have officiated. Thom S. Rainer (President and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources) has gathered these true occurrences and become the pastor’s spokesperson.
No names have been used to protect the innocent.
1. During the vows, the bride said no.
2. An 18-year old young lady came in with her fiancé to see the pastor, who was 38 years old. The pastor said lightheartedly that this wedding was the first where he could actually be the father of the bride. The 18-year-old lit up and chirped, “Cool! You knew my mom?” Her fiancé had to explain to her what the pastor meant. She cried.
3. The bride and her father fought with light sabers coming down the aisle to music from Star Wars. Neither the pastor nor the groom knew what was happening.
4. The uncle of the bride sent a request in since he could not attend. He asked someone to read 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; instead perfect love drives out fear.” Unfortunately, the reader quoted John 4:18 at the wedding: “For you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.”
5. The air conditioning was not working well for this summer wedding in the church; so all the windows were open. As the soloist was singing with a booming operatic voice, a fly went in her mouth. The song ended.
6. The bride fainted during the wedding. Four times.
7. The pastor did an outdoor wedding with several people in attendance who weren’t wearing shirts (the pastor did not specify the gender of these people). The bride had a cigarette the entire service.
8. Guy in the sound booth started the wrong music during a wedding. Everyone got to hear “The Lady is a Tramp.”
9. A couple requested the pastor to do a beach wedding. But they first wanted to see his bare feet to make sure they would look acceptable for the wedding.
10. The groom’s ex-wife stood in the back of the sanctuary yelling “not” as the pastor read 1 Corinthians 13.
11. Pastor was officiating a wedding on the bay when a man comes up in a paddleboat and says, “Don’t do it.” The bride responds by yelling expletives at him.
12. At another outdoor wedding, the bride and groom were joined in the front by a goat as the vows began.
13. This outdoor wedding had a stray dog as a guest. He kept bringing a tennis ball to the pastor and putting it at his feet.
14. A pastor was asked to officiate a wedding by talking through an animatronic deer head.
15. During the wedding service, a guest’s phone loudly declares, “You have reached your destination.”


ISC 2016 Testimonial – Erin Stevens from Shelby Systems Media on Vimeo.

International Shelby Conference 2016 in Orlando, Florida received rave reviews from the attendees. From the inspirational speakers to the praise and worship music to Shelby’s 40-year anniversary celebration to the over 200 breakout sessions to the fabulous prizes and amazing food, ISC 2016 is an event that everyone will recall with fond memories for a long time. In less than 90 seconds, Erin Stevens summarizes all the special moments that made ISC valuable for her. Enjoy Erin’s story and then consider joining us for ISC 2017 on June 14-16 in Dallas, Texas. Register today and create your own memories!