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The Top 7 Free and Open Source Church Management Software Solutions

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Updated 11/2/2016 to add Rock RMS and Apostello by Church.io, update information on Excellerate and CahabaWorks, and remove Church Equip, which is no longer free.

Everyone loves free stuff.

No matter what it is, those four letters make you happy. However, sometimes free isn’t even worth the money you paid for it, and those four letters inevitably morph in other four lettered words. So how do you find something actually functional and worthwhile to help you manage your church without spending any money?

church

Well, look no further—below I’ve come up with a list of some free and open source church management solutions that will have all the functionality that you need. For some, the free option is only for very small churches with a limited number of members, but there are others as well that are free for any size church.

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1. ChurchTrac

ChurchTrac is a church database for any size church to keep track of their attendance, groups, and members, as well as manage their finances and schedules. It has both web-based and installed options, and the installed version is free up to 100 names. They charge $100 total when you get to 250 names.

Pros/cons

ChurchTrac offers membership management, attendance tracking, the ability to track giving, child check in, picture directories, and more. A unique feature is the ability to make absentee reports for people who were not at church services, and also the ability to enter people into certain ministries that they’re in or desire to be in, so that you can run a search to see who the best suited people would be to assist at certain events. Also, according to user reviews, the customer service is great.

A con would be that there is room for improvement on the accounting side of things, as you have to enter information for every account instead of having multiple accounts.

2. ChurchInfo

ChurchInfo is a free, web-based open source database that helps your church to manage and track members, groups, donations and payments. It is supported by an open-source community of people who volunteer to help in order to make the software accessible to churches. It is a web-based solution, and the system is completely free and there are no fees at any point. It is most useful for small congregations.

Pros/cons

According to user reviews, ChurchInfo is a highly useful and functional tool with a lot of the functionality that more expensive software has, so it is really great for churches on a budget. The installation process is easy and the system is fairly intuitive, although it may require a bit of technical knowledge at the outset to get set up.

3. Rock RMS

Rock RMS is a robust open-source church management solution earning tons of positive reviews from its users and providing all the features a small to mid-size church needs to get started. In addition to membership, family, and donation management features, Rock RMS boasts a content management system and check-in features. Churches that have contributed to Rock RMS include Lakepointe Church and Willow Creek Community Church, two large churches with internet campuses, suggesting that this software could even be a starting point for larger organizations looking to build more complex software solutions.

Pros/cons

According to reviewers, Rock RMS has a great support community, crucial for open-source software. However, hosting the software does have its costs, and can be difficult for small churches that lack an IT expert. As with any open source software, it’s good to check into the logistics of using Rock RMS before signing up.

4. Working Church

Working Church is church membership management software to help you keep track of your members, attendance, events, and donations. It is downloadable software that is installed on your computer, and it is free for up to 25 members. After that it is $47 for the “Lite” version for up to 100 members.

Pros/cons

According to user reviews, customer service is attentive to all needs, is easy to use, and is designed to help with church accounting, growth, and management.

Some downsides would be that it is not accessible from home, as it is not web-based, and that it is only free for a small number of members.

5. Excellerate

Excellerate is a customizable church management system that helps churches of all sizes manage and track members and visitors, manage donations, send bulk emails, etc. The pricing goes up the more members that you have, but they offer a free version for up to 50 members. When you get to 100 members it is $145 total and continues scaling up to extremely large congregation sizes.

Pros/cons

According to user reports, Excellerate is very responsive to their customers’ needs, and is very adaptable to them as well- they recently added a cloud-based version of the software, and it is now available for Mac. They are also always improving and updating, and the system is not complicated to use.

One downside is that the installed version of the software is not available for Mac, and must be accessed through an app or website.

6. CahabaWorks

CahabaWorks is installed church management software for managing members, groups, contributions, fund accounting financials, and child check-in. Their standard edition, for small/medium sized churches, is free with no support, and has no limits on people or total assets tracked—it is $350 for the standard edition with support, and there are also different pricing options for their premier version.

Pros/cons

Based on user testimonials, the system has great and responsive tech support, and is a great system for small churches, and fund accounting. There are many options and it is very intuitive for managing and tracking finances, as well as being easy to download and install.

Conversely there is a bit of a learning curve at the beginning and it can take some time to get used to. Customer support is responsive, and could solve the learning curve problem, but it does cost an extra fee. There is no Mac version.

7. AgapeWORKS

AgapeWORKS is online church management software that gives churches the ability to manage and control their congregation. It is meant specifically to help small, growing churches. They provide churches with the ability to track and manage attendance and donations, memberships, and plan and organize events and projects. For just their essential features, the system is free for an unlimited number of users. The price goes up to $149 for their enhanced features, and has certain other features that you can add on individually for a small sum.

Pros/cons

AgapeWORKS allows you to have a web-presence without needing a full time IT staff—it gives you the tools to run your church efficiently on your own without too much additional help, and, according to user reviews, has great online giving capabilities.

A downside is that it may not have the kind of functionality that a larger church would require, as it is geared towards smaller churches.

Honorable Mention: Apostello by Church.io

From the makers of OneBody (a free church directory and social network), Apostello is an open source SMS platform with some of the functionality of a church management solution. Church.io’s suite of software is still growing so it’s possible that in the future Apostello may develop into a more robust solution, but in the meantime, it’s a great solution for small churches that just need a free and simple way to manage members and groups. The software can also be used for event signups and even provides usage statistics.

Pros/Cons

Apostello isn’t quite a church management solution, and even combined with OneBody as a directory solution, it lacks basic event management features like a calendar. However, as mentioned above, it’s great for small churches, which can probably get by with free event management software and Microsoft Excel while they’re saving up for a more expensive end-to-end solution. It’s also worth mentioning the Keywords feature, which allows users to respond to texts with just one word and use that to sort responses, a brilliant addition to open source church software.

Know of any more free church management solutions? Add them in the comments below!

Looking for Church Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Church Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Leah Readings

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Leah Readings is a Software Analyst for Capterra, a company that connects buyers and sellers of business software. She specializes in church management software along with several other software directories. When she’s not helping software buyers, she is, among other things, reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.

Comments

ChurchTrac is not web based but also it can’t be installed on a PC that has the 64-bit version of Office 2010 installed. Also, it won’t run on a Mac either. These are a few cons that should get mentioned.

To run ChurchInfo you have to have a server set up with PHP and mySQL installed on it. So you either stand up a server in house or you pay a hosting service. That’s not too easy for smaller churches without an IT staff to get going.

WorkingChurch CahabaWorks are not Mac compatible either.

AgapeWorks price goes up to $149 PER MONTH for the enhance features, some of which are significant such as bulk emails, calendars, small group management, etc.

ChurchEquip seems to be pretty good overall.

OneBody by Church.IO is open source and completely free web-based software for churches. While not a full-blown Church Management System, OneBody offers basic people database features alongside its extensive social networking and online directory capabilities.

OneBody supports direct data entry from the web, import/export via CSV, or synchronization with external ChMSs via the desktop “UpdateAgent” application.

The software runs on Ruby on Rails and MySQL, so a dedicated server or virtual private server with a cloud services such as Amazon or DigitalOcean is required, along with some I.T. expertise for setting it up.

Let me know if you have any questions! I can be reached at tim@timmorgan.org. Our website is http://church.io.

Hey you should check out a new check in software for churches called GoConnect. GoConnect was built by a small ministry called GoTech Ministries. Our church has been using for over a year and it has drastically helped speed up the flow of check-in and check-out. They even have a really cool teacher roster function that teachers in the classroom can pull up their class roster on their phone or tablet. This allows them to view child info and guardian info (including pictures). It is pretty sweet!

Here is the website for GoConnect: http://www.gotechministries.org/site/m/goconnect.

Hi Leah,

Thanks for sharing, I was digging around to find some low cost but efficient church software, do you have any idea about this company http://www.easychurchtools.com/church-management-software/pricing/, they are really cheap but my main concern is performance, user friendliness and support. Any idea!@

Stella.

RockRMS – http://www.rockrms.com is coming up to be an awesome tool.

Not affiliated with them, but definitely wanted to point it out as an option.

I’m looking for a free download for a church directory. Where can I find one?

I have been using “Easy Church Membership” for about 3 years. Absolutely free software by rcl software. http://www.rclsoftware.com

GoTech looks great, but it is not free. The cheapest option is $50/month.

– Correction – “Excellerate Church Management” actually offers BOTH Installed or Cloud solutions so you choose what works best for your church!

Small church looking for web based directory. Can you help? Thanks!

Hi Woody,

We can definitely help, and actually help you filter through options for free:

http://www.capterra.com/church-management-software

Maybe pointing out the obvious here, but the only truly FREE solution mentioned in the article is ChurchInfo. The rest are more like try-before-you-buy versions, at least if you plan on any growth. I am very thankful for the comments however, because 2 programs mentioned look like they have great potential: RockRMS can be installed on a shared hosting server, and OneBody also looks great once you sort out the method that you will use to host it. Thanks, everybody!

Churchetto is free and open source, too! There are no maximum user limits, and it doesn’t have a premium/paid version. It’s 100% free no matter the size of your church.

There are two web-based solutions which, as long as you self-host, are totally free. The one we have used in a medium sized church (250) is Jethro-pmm. It not only provides member information, but also for rotas, service schedules, service planning, groups, custom reports, attendance tracking, pastoral records and so much more. It is hugely capable, and even provides facilities for members to maintain their own details. They provide a hosted solution for a charge (see http://easyjethro.com.au/) but you can download and install it on your web host for free (see:https://github.com/tbar0970/jethro-pmm/releases). Few churches will need more features than it provides.

The problem we’ve come across is a lack of integration with our main church website. So we’re looking at another free solution that works with WordPress (we’re actually moving from Joomla to BuddyPress to provide a social network for the church). The plugin church_admin provides a full church database solution which is integrated with WordPress user accounts where needed. It also provides for groups, ministries, attendance tracking, rotas and more besides, though lacks the custom reporting capabilities of Jethro, has more limited Pastoral note keeping, and doesn’t include online service planning. But it’s email and SMS communication capabilities are slightly easier to work with. Read more here … https://wordpress.org/plugins/church-admin/ and here: http://www.churchadminplugin.com/

So, there’s no need to pay huge amounts if you have a little technical know-how!

Is there a freeware church management software that also can create rosters? I’ve been looking at RockRMS. Any suggestions?

Small church looking for free or very affordable check in/out process for VBS only. I don’t really need anything else. thanks

I am looking for attendance software that will sync with contact information as well over cross platform(web) . Also needs to be tablet comparable. We have different sections that different people take roll in so they would need to be able to take roll on there own tablet. I need it to show if that person was present in the Sunday school class as well as the service? Do any of these fit in that category?

Be careful of any software that is built on Microsoft products that claims to be free. The software might be free but Microsoft will want licensing for MS Server Operating system, .NET languages and SQL server if you want to host it locally on your internal local network. If you host these systems then none of that will be a concern. Also, if you want to run it on your own server keep in mind that any version of Linux will run more efficiently than any version or Windows. The point being that you can go buy a cheap used computer and it will run Linux perfectly fine, but not necessarily windows.

what are the posible system requirements for church management

I have a small military chapel community; 100 families. I am primarily focused on scheduling people for a variety of ministries during Sunday worship; music ministry, lectors, ushers, servers, etc. Any ideas of which one would be a good choice?

I agree with the comment Paul Boudreau posted, stay away from MS products, they will be more costly to license before you even get to the software you’re after. I was excited about RockRMS until I saw that it’s a .NET / Windows platform. Looks like I’ll be installing OneBody, Jethro, and ChurchInfo see which one works best for us.

ChurchCRM (http://churchcrm.io/) is a fork of Churchinfo and has a modern responsive UI. have an active development community and you can migrate from churchinfo.

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