Valley Bible Church is transitioning to Planning Center Online, a church management system. Read below for some frequently asked questions about PCO.
We just started getting the hang of using The City [our former church communication software]. Why are we changing?
The City has been discontinued by the company that managed it. As the City is no longer being sold or offered by ACS Technologies, we simply cannot use it after February 2019.
Is Planning Center Online a replacement for The City?
No—Planning Center Online is not a replacement for The City. You will not log in to PCO on a regular basis to look through a newsfeed or post on a forum-style board. Planning Center is an integrated church management software that includes opportunities for communication, but it will be within groups (such as Small Groups or classes) or through filling out forms sent via email. We will offer training on what that looks like at the 2-24 Members Meeting, and we will update the community through a weekly email sent from firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will use PCO applications for various interactions with the church (for example: volunteer scheduling, online giving, form completions, event registration, children’s ministry check-in, etc.).
Why did we not just go to ACS Corporations new Realm product?
The company that purchased and is now killing off The City has a product called Realm which they are recommending to all City users. Realm does so much more than The City as it is comprehensive a church management software (CMS) solution. As we were in the market for this type of software we looked at Realm along with other products in the CMS space. Realm offered some important features to users of the City, but taken as a whole, we chose another solution.
What were the deciding factors behind switching to Planning Center?
There were many things that were the factors which led us to Planning Center Online. We reduced our decision down to two products: Realm and PCO. Each of these systems had pros and cons for our use at VBC. Realm kept the Group posting feature we loved from the City but it was lacking in comparison to PCO in several key areas church-wide. PCO is modern software, has great mobile apps, allows easy interaction and scheduling for volunteers and the company has some of the best customer service in the business. We also had already adopted Planning Center Services for our worship/tech teams so the transition to the software was already underway. Going “full PCO” as a church allows us to use one software vendor for all our church functions. With PCO we can schedule our services, volunteers, register for events, check in children, manage small groups, handle online and modern forms for giving, manage membership classes and new person processes, and more.
In the past our church has had multiple systems for different functions (giving and receipting, kids ministry, communications, membership database and management, etc) and this will unify them, save the church money and simplify the work of elders, members, staff, and key volunteers. It will help our staff and volunteers stay organized and work well to serve our church body. This will free us up and limit frustrations so we can focus on our mission to love the people of the New River Valley and to see lives transformed by the Gospel into authentic follower of Jesus Christ.
How can I send out prayer requests and other needs to the community?
We have created this prayer request form so you can submit requests to the church on a regular basis. When you fill out this form, an email will automatically be sent to our Prayer Deacons with this request. You will have an option on this form to include your prayer request in our weekly email to our church email list.
This link will be in every weekly email, but feel free to save it in your Favorites or Bookmarks!
We encourage you to share prayer requests and other needs with your small group—in person and through communication channels your small group has adopted (email, GroupMe, Facebook Group, the beloved Group Text, etc).
If you have a need you’d like the community to be aware of (childcare, job opportunity, help with something around the house, etc.), please send an email to email@example.com. We will either add that information to our weekly email or send it over to our Care Team Deacon to assist you further!
-Holly (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Reid (email@example.com)