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Newsletter #12
November 21, 2011

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Dear BVCMS Community,

This newsletter contains tips, information about new features, and announcments of upcoming events. See past newsletters.

User News & Announcements

This is where we keep users informed. Here are the latest news items and announcements from BVCMS.

We Continue to add Churches every week.

Just wanted to let you know that BVCMS continues to grow. We stopped the advertising a few months ago, but we continue to be contacted by new churches every week. We are up to 85 churches now!

RegisterTag Style of VoteLink

We have taken the VoteLink and gone further. Those of you who have discovered the ease of using VoteLinks to make it drop-dead simple for your people to register for an event, will love this! VoteLinks work perfectly for certain events (by providing a one-click type of registration). However, there may be times that you want to send a link to a target audience in your church, but the registration itself requires that the person answer some questions, or maybe even pay a fee.

Previously, you could just email a link for the registration, but they would still need to either log in or enter their information in order for the system to find their record. Well no more! By embedding a RegisterTag in an email, when the recipient clicks on it, they will be taken straight to the Options page of the online registration, bypassing the log in or find screens. Read more

Merging Duplicates Made Easy

Duplicate records! We hate them, don't we? It seems that no matter how hard we try to keep the database clean, there will always be duplicate records that get created. Of course, some of them are bad records that came over on the ark - or at least in your old database - and they are just now getting discovered. What do you do about them?

Well, we also feel the pain of managing these records and have created a new Merge Controller to make the process of moving data and merging records easier than ever! Read more.

To Schedule or Not to Schedule? That is the Question

If an Organization does not meet, then why does it need a Schedule? Good question! The answer is "It does not need one anymore." Previously, all Organizations had to have a schedule or, at least, a pseudo-behind-the-scenes schedule. That has changed. Be sure to read about this so you will understand when to schedule and when not to schedule and why this is important.

Attendance Types! What do they all mean?

BVCMS has the most robust attendance capability of any Church Management System I have seen. We not only record attendance for an Organization, but track attendance individually for its Members and Visitors. We calculate attendance percentages and display attendance strings for Members. But wait, there's more! In-Service, Off-Site, Volunteer, Visiting Members, New Visitors, Recent Visitors, Other Attends. These all relate to the type of attendances that we capture. Read more.

Finding First Time Attenders

There are lots of QueryBuilder conditions for querying attendance records. Probably the most important one is to find first time visitors. With all the conditions available, this can be a bit daunting as to which one to use. There is a condition, however, made just for this purpose—it is called Recent New Attend Count. This one has been around for a while but it should be your go to condition anytime you are looking for First Time Attenders. Read more here.

Special Events Attendance for the iPad

Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NYC hosts some very large events throughout the year. This November, they hosted their Gospel and Culture event weekend. They used BVCMS for the online registration for over 350 people. During the event, they needed a way to mark the attendance of the participants as they walked into the venue. Up till now, they had been using the BVCMS iPhone app for this. Problem was, the iPhone App is designed for small group attendance and is suitable for a maximum of 50 or so people. It will do more, but you can imagine having to find Bob York by swiping and scrolling all the way to the bottom of the list of 350 people! Then only to have Fred Ashton walk up next and going all the way back up. So we scrambled and created a web page designed for mobile device use and optimized it for the iPad. Go here to see a screen shot. You'll notice that there is an alphabet bar at the top so you can go directly to the Y's and find Bob York right away. Just click the line and he is marked present.

You can find this page by going to any meeting page in BVCMS and choosing the iPad Attendance item from the Other Management menu.

Webinars, Wikis, Blogs and Newsletters

We have done eight webinars since August. These are a lot of work to prepare and produce, but it has really been worth it. We has been a lot more activity and interest on the topics we have covered. These webinars are our primary means of training. We consider these to be a prerequisite for our free, one hour, initial training session we do. This way, your people are prepared to get themost out of that training session. Our Webinars are free, but subsequent training sessions are not. We'll try to do a couple of more webinars before the end of the year and continue our two or so webinars per month schedule after the first of the year. If you have any special requests for particular topics on future webinars, please let us know. Just email

Of course, we also recognize that webinars are not the only means of learning. We know we go really fast during these webinars and that you have to "rewind" and "pause" to catch that one special thing that Karen just did. So we continue to write documentation for our wiki. Our blog is how we communicate new features and changes to BVCMS. Generally the blog will link to a more detailed article in the wiki.

Finally, these newsletters are a way to communicate news and items of interest to both our existing users and to those who are still looking at BVCMS but have not made the decision to join our BVCMS family of churches.

Development News

2012 is shaping up to be a whirlwind year for BVCMS. We will be continuing to develop at a breakneck pace. My neck is doing fine by the way! I keep telling myself that we are going to get caught up at some point. But it never stops! Of course, that's good news and we are super excited to see BVCMS continue to grow.

We are working on APIs, Registrations, Online Giving, upgrading older pages, and General Ledger. Also, we need to give the website a facelift soon.

David Carroll and Karen Worrell
Your BVCMS Team

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