By Linda Schreckenberg
Keeping it simple and cost effective was the goal of CFS Live (Church Family Solutions Live). Designed by Bro. Ken Schramm in Portage, Indiana, the software is an excellent tool for the specific needs of pastors and churches in the areas of church growth and business.
Bro. Schramm has been in ministry for thirty-plus years, and attends Portage UPC in Portage, Indiana under Pastor James Fielder. He is a professional software developer with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computers & Information Systems from Indiana University and works in the engineering field. He has been developing desktop applications and web-based applications for many years.
After pastoring a Home Missions church in Iowa, Bro. Schramm realized that all churches, whether running 40 or 4,000, should have access to affordable software used to record church membership and contribution information, so he wrote an application for that. “There was a need for this particular software to be written by someone who had real life experience with it,” said Bro. Schramm. “It needed to be written from a different perspective, rather than a software company’s goal just to generate revenue. I wanted to come from the standpoint of what people really needed.”
Bro. Schramm believes churches should invest in the software, because it has a concise application and is very specific to the methodology of what churches are doing. It is unique in that, for example, when a contribution is to be entered, the form that comes up is similar to a contribution envelope, thus creating a sense of familiarity.
CFS Live is a tool to help churches grow in two areas; the spiritual side and the financial or business side. The business side can be a burden to pastors without the necessary tools. “My goal was to simplify the financial side, so they can focus more on the spiritual side,” said Bro. Schramm. “I also plan to implement a module that provides a guest tracking tool, allowing churches to set milestones in the progress of a guest, from the first visit to future follow-up notifications.”
Published in October, 2010, the software is being used with good success by nearly 30 churches, with positive feedback. Bro. Schramm works with the North American Missions Department of the UPCI to provide the software at no cost to all North American Home Missions churches, including those in Canada, while they are under a Home Missions status.
The cost of the software is by subscription, and each module is priced separately per month as follows; 1) (Base Module) Church Membership & Contributions $6.95 2) Attendance Tracker Module $1.95 3) Scheduler Module $1.95 and 4) Fund Accounting Module $3.95, and a
payroll application, soon to follow. Annual subscription rates are also available. CFS Live is a web-based application, so there is no software to install or updates to maintain. Multiple users can access the software at the same time with individual permission to access only those areas of the applications they need. All information entered on the site is transmitted and maintained on a secure server, so a church will never lose its information if their computer system crashes. The site can be accessed at any computer location that has internet access, using any browser. A Home Missions Pastor who doesn’t have an office, can sit in his recliner at home and easily access the software.
The company website, www.cfslive.org. offers a completely risk-free 30-day trial, giving full access to all applications, and no payment or credit card information is required at that time. When the 30 days is almost up, notification is sent so that any applications desired may be purchased.
Bro. Schramm may also be contacted by email at Ken@cfslive.org.