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Hello, I'm with Lakeview CRC, and we're going to update our records of active members. We have membership cards that record their birthday, baptism, profession of faith, etc. As we update our records, do we need more of these cards (as we're down to just a few), or can we simply update our records to an excel spreadsheet?


Hi Joshua,

I'm at Hope Fellowship Church in Courtice, Ontario and we use computer software to keep track of our membership records. Specifically we are currently using the software Planning Center People for this. There are a number of different software options available out there that churches can use! I don't believe we have any paper copy of membership or that keeping a paper copy is a requirement for churches. 

Tracking membership is an ongoing challenge for us since members rarely let us know whether they are going to another church or not. Especially with Covet situation, and services also being on-line it is impossible just to look at people and know whether they are still 'coming' or not.

We use Planning Center People. My idea was we would have just one place for all the names and so on since we also use some of the other Planning Center products and I wanted to change our offering tracking to their product for that. However, our deacons have not changed to it. They're comfortable in what we used before and even though I tried to train them and explain why we were doing it, I did not succeed. We also use Google drive, email, etc. so we still have several places to put contact info so my thoughts of reducing duplication have not been successful. :( However, I do think Planning Center could be a great centralized system. We do integrate it with MailChimp so that is useful.

I would definitely say use a database rather than an Excel spreadsheet. You're going to need database features that go way beyond a spreadsheet.

Hi Joshua, as others have noted, there are many companies offering church management software systems. Last year after evaluating many systems, we converted to One Church Software, and I would highly recommend them. I believe they still offer special pricing for small churches. However, if your church doesn't need the other tools and features of a comprehensive system, I think it would be quite workable to set up an Excel spreadsheet to record key dates and information for your members and regular attenders. Please feel free to reach out if you need any additional assistance.

A lot of this depends on ones definition of what constitutes a 'member'.

when I did this as an elder- we had about 4 cagtegories.; "real member" , half members, attendees, former members

but not attending..

   As a Gideon, this becomes interesting also.   To apply for Gideon membership, one has to be a member of an evangelical church in good standing.  But now 'they' have modified the definition somewhat to say :one has to be 

a member "as your church defines it,."   So it can be fuzzy...



Hi Joshua, to add to my previous comments, if you decide to set up a spreadsheet, I would strongly encourage you to review the annual denomination questionnaire for categories and dates you would want to set up  and include. Some of the information requested is date driven. 

Hi Joshua. This might be a little dependent on how big your church is and how much you're willing to pay for it. If your church is fairly small, you can probably get away with just an Excel sheet. If you have a mid-sized or larger church, I would recommend looking into a church database software.

The upsides of church-specific software is they generally offer other features like online giving, child check-in, volunteer scheduling, and more. I believe Planning Center lets you use their People (database) feature for free and the other features are subscription based. There's also Breeze, which gives you everything for $50/month. Some are programs you download and would pay a one-time fee for, but most programs have an online version that you subscribe to instead.

Our church switched the database software last year and I looked into a few programs. Feel free to reply if you have any questions.

This comment is being posted on behalf of John Bolt:

It is certainly time to move away from individual membership cards and go to an on-line system. As noted by others, there are many options and software that are designed just for this purpose. While an Excel spreadsheet can work, take a look at some of the dedicated church membership software options that not only can help track members, it often can also help track giving.

Hi Josh,

We're a relatively small congregation here at Good News and my understanding is that we use an excel sheet - definitely a good next step from the cards. I'm sure some programs could be helpful, but excel's not a bad option, in my opinion. Blessings on your ministry at Lakeview!

- Lynette


The Bridge App is a digital solution created for the CRC that over 50% of the CRC's in Canada are using. Based upon requests from churches, the app now features the ability of churches to create "Custom Fields" that can hold information that is important to the church (ie. date of baptism, membership status, etc.). The app also features: Directory, Prayer, Announcements, Devotions, Give, Bible, CRC Resources and Watch features. There is also a section that is dedicated solely to news and information updates on CRC information called "Connected".


The Bridge App is offered to CRC churches at a price that is reduced by 40% over the public price. For more information contact:

Canadian churches - [email protected]

US churches - [email protected]

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