Since the dawn of web-based church management systems (ChMS), there hasn’t been much change in this area of technology until recently. Although the shift to the “cloud” back in the late 90s’ turned the church technology market on end (for the better), and shifted many churches to rely on the web instead of leaning on the power of their desktop software, after fifteen or so years, we now have another contender for change: open source church management systems.

It’s a completely different company and product model, so prepare to “free your mind” of the traditional software model you’re accustomed to. What if a world existed where your powerful, robust church management system was free, and the only costs were for hosting and support if you need it? Imagine if users from all over the world could be involved in the evolution of the product and even provide support to one another organically?

Here are the five benefits of open source church management systems:


Benefit #1 – Church Ownership

  • No one “owns” the software. Its development isn’t drive by profit; it will grow in the areas necessary to meet the community’s needs and won’t be sold for profit.

Benefit #2 – Relevant Support

  • With a strong community, the support can more relevant, learning from other churches that are actually using the product like you do.

Benefit #3 – Personal Contribution

  • You can make a difference in that a little hard work and time spent connecting means you have the ability to contribute and possibly even influence the platform.

Benefit #4 – Improved Efficiency

  • In an environment focused on making the global church successful, the sharing of ideas and resources helps prevent duplication of effort and cost, and encourages the type of collaboration that can lead to exponential growth.

Benefit #5 – Product Development

  • Because the goal is to create, update, and improve the church software on a continual basis, all development costs and efforts are pooled and put back into the product itself.

If these benefits sound intriguing to you, I invite you to explore the following top seven open source church management software options as compiled by Capterra, a research site that reviews the best church management software:

  1. ChurchTrac
  2. ChurchInfo
  3. Rock RMS
  4. Working Church
  5. Excellerate
  6. CahabaWorks
  7. AgapeWorks

We’d love to hear about your experience with open source church management systems. Which one works best for your church?