Last night someone sent me a link to the video posted below. I had no idea this was coming, but I’m very excited about it. Planning Center Online, the creators of the absolute best service planning software has just launched check-in software. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this but I think that this could be a game changer.

I found Planning Center Online shortly after it came out. I personally didn’t have a need for it as I wasn’t planning services in a way that the software would help me. However, I was intrigued by how it scheduled volunteers. I exchanged emails with one of the developers making suggestions on how this software could be modified to help manage volunteers in a Children’s Ministry context. At that point, it assumed that the same set of volunteers would serve for multiple services on a weekend. Since then they have modified their software to allow you to schedule volunteers for multiple services with an “evite” type feel.

Last year they developed additional software that allows you to schedule resources and rooms for events, something I didn’t really know about yet. Just recently, they launched Check-Ins, web based software for church check-in. Let me start with what’s holding me back and end with why I absolutely love what they’re doing.

As far as I know, Planning Center Online is not really church management software… or at least as robust as some of the big ones. They don’t manage giving, event registration, small group attendance and all the financial information that most churches are looking to keep all in one place where data is all interconnected. Our church uses Fellowship One and I simply can not imagine that we’d essentially use multiple databases where our data lives, F1 for most of the data and Planning Center Online where volutneer and check-in data live without a way for these two databases to talk to each other. So, I’m just not sure this is going to work for us.

However, I’m very excited about PCO’s Check-Ins because I see an innovative check-in solution that I haven’t seen in YEARS! Fellowship One changed the check-in game ten years ago with fast, responsive and web-based software for check-in, but there’s been very little innovation since then and few other developers have taken check-in into the mobile realm like Planning Center just has.

I love that you can check in using computers, tablets, phones, ipads or whatever else you use to connect to the web. I love the bluetooth hip printer option for mobile check-in. People have “hacked” Fellowship One to do this, but it’s neither cheap or foolproof. I know many churches who are just starting up or aren’t quite ready to launch a full church management software that could easily use Check-Ins right now. I’m actually recommending this to our campus in Branson right away.

I’ll keep my eye on this software and offer updates as I learn more. Great job PCO! I wish you all incredible success and hope your risk to innovate changes the game for everyone!