The world seems to be moving at lightning speed. The days of passing an offering plate to collect cash and paper checks are pretty much obsolete. With this shift to more convenient ways to tithe like text-to-give, online giving, and in-app donations, the security of user information has to be top-of-mind.

But how do you know what is truly “secure” and why is prioritizing security a key part of stewarding your church’s resources?

Safe Giving Options

47% of Americans experienced financial identity theft in 2020 and among the top five kinds of theft were online shopping and payment account fraud. Protecting your identity and credit card information has become a necessity for everyone. The last place anyone should be remotely worried about their data being stolen is at church.

Nonprofits and churches alike are (and should be) characterized by trustworthiness. The members of your church don’t just tithe because God tells them to do so, they also give because they trust you to steward their resources well. And part of good stewardship is protecting their data.

Just like in the days when you made sure there were always multiple ushers tallying up the weekly tithes, it’s wise to do your homework to make sure the giving option you offer is secure.

How to Know if Giving Software is Secure

You don’t have to be an expert in online security or know all the lingo and latest vulnerabilities in fraud, but an easy way to confirm security is to check to make sure the system you have is a PCI-Compliant Service Provider (like One Church Software). PCI stands for Payment Card Industry and they represent the highest set of security standards in the industry.

You should also check into the level of encryption any giving software offers. In short, encryptions are when your data is changed to a code that can only be read when you have the “key.” The higher the number of bits, the tougher it is to crack the key to get access to the data. Back when encryptions were first introduced, it was common to see 56-bit encryption. To compare, One Church Software uses 256-bit encryption, the strongest form of protection you can find in the industry today.

Additionally, here are some security measures we take pride in prioritizing:

  • Data is backed up every night to servers across the globe and redundantly stored securely. We store up to 6 months worth of back-ups.
  • We run server scans and perform penetration tests regularly.
  • User passwords are one-way hashed and salted so no one but the user knows what it is (not even we know what it is).
  • All access to the system is controlled via a robust and flexible permissions system so users can only see and edit data they are allowed to.

When it comes to your church’s giving, it’s important to pick a ChMS (Church Management Software) that takes security and stewardship just as seriously as you do. It’s an investment to protect personal, credit card, and bank information; however, when it comes to giving faithfully, secure solutions also provide the confidence and assurance of safety to each one of your members.

We know taking the step to start using a church management software can feel like a big one. Our team has worked with hundreds of churches and church leaders to help make the switch. If you aren’t sure if your church’s giving is currently secure or would like to find out how One Church Software would support your ministry, give us a call at 855.932.2060 or watch a software demo at your own pace.

Planning a service can take a lot of hard work and organization, from writing the sermon to picking the right music to coordinating all the volunteers needed to make it possible. While you don’t need to be planning out every tiny detail, you also shouldn’t be winging every aspect of your service the day-of either.

(We consistently see churches swing a little too far in one or the other direction!)

To give you a hand at finding that happy middle ground, here’s a list of some best practices for planning your service:

1) Make a plan in advance; make adjustments in the moment.

Planning is one of the most spiritual things a leader can do. Have you ever thought about that? Developing a plan is one of the core ways that we, as leaders, shepherd our flock carefully.

Now it’s still wise to allow for necessary, Spirit-led adjustments in the moment, and to remain flexible. But developing a plan helps your team prepare effectively, keeps your team organized, allows you to lead from intentionality rather than urgency, and keeps your overall pace at a manageable level.

2) Prioritizing excellence requires you to give your team time to prepare.

Rarely can a team produce their best at a moment’s notice. For most people, excellence comes when they know what their tasks are in advance, can prepare for those tasks ahead of time, and can even prepare their own heart for their role in the service.

If you’re not sure how much time would be best, ask your team! Giving them time to prepare shows that you care, and allows them to serve with the best of the passion and skills God has given them.

3) Stop texting your volunteers for their availability.

Texting may seem convenient, but in reality, tracking all those details week after week eats away too much of your time. Instead of texting each volunteer for their availability and then having to text them back after you’ve made your schedule, make it easier on yourself and them by utilizing a Church Management Software (ChMS).

Through a ChMS, you can have volunteers input their availability in advance, and the system will automatically notify them when they are scheduled to serve.

4) Communicate your sermon content as early as you can.

The earlier you can communicate your sermon content, the better! This will allow your team to have plenty of time to pick out music, Scripture readings, and special elements that match your sermon content and creates a cohesive service from start to finish.

Overall sermon topics should generally be defined at the start of a series, and a great goal is for your sermon content to be planned and communicated 1-2 weeks in advance.

5) Say “thank you.”

Encouraging your team is just as important in service planning as the elements you include in the service. You don’t want your team to become a revolving door of people. Building a solid team that is engaged in the work that God has called you to do requires that you encourage your team members regularly and show appreciation for what they do.

When you see a team member serving, take time to genuinely thank them. And it never hurts to schedule regular time in your schedule to give them a personal gesture of appreciation (handwritten thank you card, a small gift card, a text, etc.).

6) Always have a follow-up plan.

One of the most important pieces of planning for your service is your follow-up plan. How will you connect with new people that just experienced your service? Will people clearly understand what the next step is and how to take it?

Churches with a clear follow-up plan are much more likely to build long-term relationships with guests. Believe it or not, it’s actually something that can be automated!


If you are not naturally a planner, all this might seem a bit overwhelming. It may feel that way initially, but as you make these things part of your routine, you will find yourself with more time and less stress.

Ultimately, this is all about helping your church thrive and fulfill its mission to encourage believers and bring the Gospel to those that are not yet saved! The Holy Spirit has the power to work in our planning just as much as He has the power to work in the moment.

Looking for a church management system to support you in effective service planning? Learn how this core feature works in One Church Software’s award-winning, all-in-one software for churches.