5 Tips for Using Planning Center at Your Church

Planning Center conveniently combines every aspect of a church’s scheduling and communicating logistics, it is a must-have for ministries looking to optimize their Sunday Service.

Grant Glas
November 4, 2021
Church Software

Used by over 30,000 churches worldwide, Planning Center offers robust, easy-to-use software for service planning and church database management. It comes with a set of applications that help churches organize information, coordinate events, communicate with their teams and connect with their congregation. Because it conveniently combines every aspect of a church’s scheduling and communicating logistics, it is a must-have for ministries looking to optimize their Sunday Service. Some of the software’s features include adding files like songs to a service flow, organizing service plans across multiple campuses and ministries, and scheduling and informing volunteers about upcoming events and the latest information.


Simplify your planning so that you can fully focus on worship with these 5 tips for using Planning Center at your church. 


1. Schedule Teams and Volunteers 

Planning Center offers simple scheduling with The Matrix feature in PCO Services, which helps create fluid worship experiences. You can schedule people according to their assigned team positions, specified time preferences, blackout dates, conflicts, and declined requests. Additionally, you can send scheduling requests to people via text, email, or push notifications on the mobile app and schedule months ahead using The Matrix.

Furthermore, Auto-Scheduling allows you to fill in any remaining positions. By posting a schedule several months in advance, your volunteers and staff can plan around it. Simply schedule a team to serve on a Sunday, plug in their names and send them an invite – then rotate the teams each week. 


2. Worship Planning 

Ideal for keeping everyone on the same page, you can conveniently communicate your service’s flow and other details with volunteers and staff. The software allows you to list each element in an organized way. In addition, you can add notes to each element to let your volunteers know what to expect. Worship Planning helps you prepare your team for services through the following features: 


  • Service Plans: Create unique plans for each service, including details on people, songs, and notes.
  • Service Types: File plans under ministry categories, like Children’s Ministry, or by services, like Contemporary.
  • Order of Service: Set the order and length of each item in the service, so your team knows what to expect.
  • Services LIVE: Show your team which item is happening during the service, record timing, and chat! 

3. Rehearsal Tools 

Planning Center conveniently allows you to attach files to elements of your service flow like songs. For example, simply create song charts to be automatically played in certain keys so that your worship team can use various arrangements. Use these during rehearsals, and your team will be prepared to perform on a high level each Sunday. In addition, you can see when someone clicks on attached files and how much they listen to the songs and can remind them to rehearse more if necessary. In sum, Rehearsal Tools equip your musicians to practice songs in advance and collaborate through these features: 


  • Transposing: Help musicians practice songs in the right key by transposing chord charts and audio files.
  • Song Library: Upload your songs or import from 3rd-party apps and include arrangement details.
  • Rehearsal Files: Attach chord charts, audio files, and videos to the service plan and share them with your team.
  • Mobile Media Player: Musicians can listen to audio files, loop trick sections, or watch videos using the mobile app.

4. Communicate With Volunteers About Upcoming Information and Events

While many churches primarily buy Planning Center for their large worship service gatherings, it can be used for so much more. It offers applications for team events, planning a weekend retreat, ministry gatherings, meetings, parties, and more. In addition, the software can help you improve communication with your worship team and volunteers using PCO Services & People. All you need to do is filter your lists to segment population groups and send targeted emails to those addresses only. Then, fill it with as much information as possible to ensure your volunteers and teams are best prepared for weekly service. 


5. Organize Service Plans Across Multiple Campuses & Ministries

If your church has several campuses and ministries, Planning Center is a virtual must-have. It allows you to execute the same service across all your campuses and keep it streamlined. Once your main campus leadership team has completed planning a service, it can use Planning Center to easily send that information out to all other campuses.


In today’s highly digital world, it’s not possible anymore to organize events without excellent planning software. Planning Center Online is a powerful tool for your church and has helped thousands of worship leaders do their job with less headache and hassle. Its many applications and features reduce your workload and allow you to make a detailed plan in less time. You can decide which products you want to subscribe to and which plan levels you need — either scale up or down based on what your church needs. Every product also has a free plan option you can always switch to or cancel without any fees. And best of all: no matter what you select, Planning Center People—the core of the system—will always be free.


If you’re looking for a way to simplify the planning logistics of your ministry, then Planning Center is your go-to church software and can help you spend less time focusing on planning and more on worship and spreading the Gospel.


Don't forget to share this post!