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The Top 7 Free and Open Source Church Management Software Solutions

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[Update 10/18/2017: We’ve removed two options that are no longer free, and added two new software options, as well as updated information and included screenshots for the original options.]

Everyone loves free stuff.

No matter what it is,Slurpees, pancakes, or software—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 into other fourlettered words. So how do you find software that is actually functional and worthwhile to help you manage your church without spending any money?

Well, look no further—below I’ve come up with a list of free and open source church management solutions that will have all the functionality that you need. For some of the software options, the free version is only for very small churches with less than 50 members, but there are others as well that are free for any size church. The software options are listed in alphabetical order.

1. CahabaWorks

A member profile page in CahabaWorks

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

Pros: Based on user testimonials, the system has responsive tech support (though only for the first 60 days with the free version), and is a great system for small churches. There are many options and it is very intuitive for managing and tracking finances, as well as being easy to download and install.

Cons: According to users, there is a bit of a learning curve at the beginning. Customer support is responsive, and could solve the learning curve problem, but it does cost an extra fee. There is no Mac version.

Have you tried CahabaWorks? Leave a review!

2. Church Admin for WordPress

An attendance graph in Church Admin for WordPress

Church Admin is a free and open-source WordPress plug-in that includes a full church database with membership directory, email management, bulk SMS, attendance tracking, calendar, facility management, and more.

They also offer a smartphone app for iPhones and Androids, for an extra £7.50/month (about $10) for the church. The app is free for members of the church who are using it, so only the church foots the bill.

Pros: If your church already uses WordPress, this plug-in seems like a no brainer. It has lots of features, is free (except for the smartphone app), and integrates with your WordPress powered website.

Cons: If you don’t use WordPress, or don’t plan to, this plug-in won’t do you any good.

3. ChurchInfo

Adding a new family in ChurchInfo

ChurchInfo is a free, open source database that helps your church 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. It is most useful for small congregations.

Pros: According to user reviews, ChurchInfo is a highly useful tool with a lot of the functionality that more expensive software has, so it is great for churches on a budget.

Cons: The installation process is easy and the system is fairly intuitive, according to reviews, although it may require a bit of technical knowledge at the outset to get set up.

Have you tried ChurchInfo? Leave a review!

3a. ChurchCRM

The ChurchCRM home screen

ChurchCRM is 3a because it is a fork built off of the ChurchInfo open source framework. Because it runs on LAMP, you can use it on any device. ChurchCRM has been in development for less than two years, and already has membership management, calendar, finances, fundraisers, Sunday School, and volunteer management features. An active developer community is constantly working on new features, and is available for support via chat.

Pros: ChurchCRM has the stability of ChurchInfo but with more features and a responsive user interface, meaning you can run it on desktop or mobile.

Cons: Like ChurchInfo, you’ll need some technical know how to install and operate ChurchCRM. Unless you have a dedicated techie on site, you’ll probably be better off with a more user-friendly church management tool.

4. Church.io (Apostello and OneBody)

Updating a contact in Apostello

From the makers of OneBody (a free church directory and social network), Apostello is an open source SMS (text messaging) platform with some of the functionality of a church management solution. Church.io is also working on a beta version of Cedar, a presentation software for churches, but in the meantime, Church.io is 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: Church.io’s tools are 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 that the Keywords feature, which allows users to respond to texts with just one word and use that to sort responses, is a brilliant addition to open source church software.

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.

Have you tried Church.io? Leave a review!

5. Excellerate

The Excellerate member information screen

Excellerate is a customizable church management system that helps churches of all sizes manage and track members and visitors, manage donations, send bulk emails, schedule volunteers, and more. 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 a one-time payment of $145 and continues scaling up to extremely large congregation sizes.

Pros: According to user reports, Excellerate is very responsive to their customers’ needs. They 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.

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

Have you tried Excellerate? Leave a review!

6. Rock RMS

Adding a prayer request in 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 midsize 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.

To keep the platform going, Rock RMS does ask for a donation of $1.50 per average weekly attendee, per year. So, for example, if you have an average weekly attendance of about 100 people, you are asked to donate about $150/year.

Pros: According to reviewers, Rock RMS has lots of advanced features and a great support community, crucial for open source software.

Cons: 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.

Have you tried Rock RMS? Leave a review!

7. 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, though you’ll need to re-register every few months. After that it is a one-time payment of $47 for the “Lite” version for up to 100 members. They also offer a cloud version that starts at $17/month.

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

Cons: Some downsides are that the free version is not accessible from home, as it is not web-based, and that it is only free for a small number of members.

Have you tried Working Church? Leave a review!

What free church management tools do you use?

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

Also, if you’re still hungry for more free church stuff, check out these articles:

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

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About the Author

Andrew Conrad

Andrew is a content writer for Capterra, specializing in church management and project management software. When he’s not striving for the perfect balance of information and entertainment, Andrew enjoys the great outdoors and the wide world of sports. Follow him on Twitter @CapterraAC.

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:

https://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.

Has anyone tried this? https://www.simplesigninonline.com/ It looks like exactly what we would want…I realize it is web-based, so if the Internet wasn’t working, we would have to resort to pencil and paper, but all we need are a couple of tablets and a label printer. And it is pretty affordable, and looks easy to use…I would love to know if anyone has had any experience using it. 🙂

Church Admin is a powerful plugin for churches using WordPress.

It has address lists, member tracking, small groups, classes, children’s ministry, bulk sms and email tools, rotas/schedules, sermon mp3s and calendar – and is completely FREE!

There is an associated smartphone app that churches can subscribe to for £7.50pm and church members can use for free,

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