For the past 6-8 weeks I’ve been leading my church through a migration from Planning Center for all of our church needs, to Elexio Community. A few years before that I didn’t so much lead as react to migrating from Membership Plus to Planning Center. Today I want to share the lessons I’ve learned from two software migrations.

church software migration

#1 Lesson Learned from Church Software Migration: The More Complex Your Current System, The More Complex and Incomplete Your Migration Will Be

When we moved FROM using Membership Plus to track members info and child check-ins TO using Planning Center to do those things, it was relatively simple. Of course it didn’t feel like it at the time. But compared to moving Giving, Check-ins, Registrations, Groups, and Members info; it was quite simple. We also found out that some things like group membership just weren’t setup to export and migrate in planning center. Thus, the data migration was incomplete.

#2 Lesson Learned from Church Software Migration: Money Spent on Training is Worth the Investment.

During our recent migration to Elexio Community we opted to purchase training for our team. It isn’t cheap, and I was a little hesitant. But after 7 weeks of training and on-demand support I can tell you it was really worth the investment. I was able to bring people into training with me, so that they felt like they had some idea of how the software worked before we were fully reliant on it.

There was one aspect of Elexio that was completely different from Planning Center: setting up event registrations. Rather than suffer through video tutorials and trial and error, I was able to ask our training expert to set up a registration for one of our events as the video tutorial that day. We learned quite a bit from that process, and saved myself the time and headache of doing it myself.

#3 Lesson Learned from Church Software Migration: Roll Things Out Slowly.

When we moved from Membership Plus to Planning Center a few years ago, we did it all in one week. It was painful. We weren’t sure how everything worked. Check-ins went really slow. Staff other than me weren’t sure how to use the new software even though it was now our system of record. As you can imagine, it was not a smooth process.

Fast forward a few years, and add several hundred more regular attenders, you can imagine what a nightmare we would have. So we opted to move membership info and check-ins one week, then groups the next week, then giving the next week, and finally registrations and our new app. Rolling things out slowly has given us the opportunity to make sure that our workers know the system, and that our people become familiar with each part as it rolls out. The slow rollout has lead to less confrontation, and more willingness to accept change.

Conclusions about Church Software Migration

You may think you have all the details mapped out for your software migration, but unforseen problems will pop up. Having a plan is obviously better than not having one, but I have also learned that paying for support can be worthwhile if your church has a complex data migration. As a rule of thumb I would say that if your church is only managing people’s information and giving, and possibly even child check-in – you can probably handle the migration on your own if you are tech savvy. If you are also managing groups and registrations and web-stuff with your software, then you should probably pay the money for help in the process.

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