Volunteer Schedule Conflicts Ideas?


At our church, we have a lot of volunteers who serve in mulitple ministries. For example, one person might be on the Nursery list, they might be on the list to serve at after-church coffee time, and might also teach in one of the children's programs that meets during worship. Each of these ministries asks people to serve every 8-12 weeks, so we inevitably encounter schedule conflicts.


Recently, someone suggested that we try to centralize and streamline our schedules to avoid scheduling conflicts. This sounds like a great idea! But also something that would take some time - and is just different that how we handle now with each ministry doing their own scheduling.

Does your church actively work to streamline volunteer schedules? 

Who manages it? 

I suppose their might be a website or computer program that might help with this - any suggestions? (I've checked out Planning Center, but would rather use a lower-cost solution or a software that has a one-time upfront cost.)

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We use a church management system.  Go here and check it out.  There is an online demo.  Its very reasonable in price too.  http://www.glxyinc.com/

Thanks, Jon, I will check this out.

I did check out this software, and while doing so discovered that Jon is not just a user of the software but the developer (as he'd mentioned in another post here on the network.) In the interest of disclosure, I just wanted others who might research this thread to be aware of his material connection to the product he recommends.

I am not sure yet if this will be the solution we choose, but it does appear to be a comprehensive solution that will meet this need for some churches.


It was not my intention to hide anything.  Thanks for pointing that out and I will be sure to use more specific wording in the future.  I am the author of the software and my church is also a user.



We have this same issue at our church.  Although there may be a better way to do this, the steps we have taken are to stagger the schedule making.  One ministry makes their schedule then the next ministry looks at that schedule and makes their schedule accordingly and so on... The most flexible ministry schedules last and this master schedule is maintained through the church office.  This has made a big difference in avoiding the overlapping of members serving on Sunday mornings.  It does take cooperation on the part of those making the schedules but it works for us.

Definitely this is an option to consider. We have 11 different people making schedules right now (every ministry = different scheduler), so that would be a lot to juggle, but not impossible.

We have used a program called SmartRoster for many years www.smartroster.net.  You can try it for free for 45 days.  Our church has been using it for about six years. I believe it is an upfront cost then an annual license fee (the fee for our church is about $80 a year). It is worth every penny.  We have one person that oversees the database...me.  We were able to import our names/addresses/phones and email addresses from PowerChurch.  We then set up the areas we needed.  We have a larger church.  We have about 1000 names in our church database now with SmartRoster.  We schedule for two services (some areas 3). We schedule for two areas of nursery, five other morning children's programs, ushers, greeters, and security.  We can schedule families together on the same week.  Our volunteers tell us when they are not able to serve (via email).  They LOVE this.  We send out email reminders to volunteers a few days before they are to serve. When looking to fill a holiday or needing more volunteers, our response rate to email is so much better than a bulletin announcement.  I hope that helps.  Would be happy to talk more to you if you need more info.  The support at SmartRoster is great.  I hope that helps!

Thanks! I will check this out.


We ran into the same issue.  We don't have a church secretary to manage all this so it was a huge task.  

We have used two things to really streamline things and found both helpful.  They are free.

1) Send out a form to all volunteers on a quarterly basis before we create a schedule.  We use a Google form that we send out to all our volunteers asking them when they are available.  Their responses are automatically recorded in a spreadsheet.  So we have all the info at our fingertips when making the schedule --way easier than what we were doing and people don't have to switch as much.  Here is a blog I wrote a while back to explain what we do with a sample form (I shared this with local pastors).  This saves the amount of time that the main scheduler has to do things.

2) Service Builder: This is a free worship planning site that has a song database and has added some really cool features for volunteers.  Multiple people can schedule and it will highlight if a person is schedule for multiple tasks.  Another cool feature is that it can automatically email or text (they have to set it up) people to let them know when they servce.  We use it for attendance too.  I just wrote a blog about this as well that has more info.  I wrote it because my main issue with ServiceBuilder is you can't see much without creating an account.  I tried to put up some images for people to see.  I have let other pastors from our Classis join our church's account to check it out in more depth before they create their own account.  Would be willing to do this for others too!  Message me directly and I can set it up for you.

churchscheduling.com is a completely automated web application for scheduling volunteers. 

Just enter your volunteers, create your service and it automatically schedules them every week (or however often you specify).  In addition, it automatically handles volunteer declines by scheduling the next available person with the needed skill. Volunteers are able to specify their availability in the system. 




I would recommend Ministry Scheduler Pro by Rotunda Software.  It allows volunteers to submit their serving preferences, known "unavailable" dates, etc.  They can also request substitues for a particular date, and see other team members' contact info.  There's even an app for both Android and iPhones

The auto scheduler part of the software ensures volunteers aren't scheduled to be in 2 places at the same time.  

If you're working with a larger number of volunteers and many different ministries, MSP is the way to go!