Planning Center Online Tips: The Value of the Matrix, Templates

While the basic functions are quickly learned by most everyone, it’s the array of options that bring out its true power, to where it amazes me today that some worship leaders are not using the software.

Planning Center Online Tips: The Value of the Matrix, Templates
An example of the "Matrix" view using Planning Center Online, as shown by David Erlandson, which is one of the useful features of the software, including templates.

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Planning Center Online Tips: The Value of the Matrix, Templates

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I have been a member of the Planning Center Online community for nearly nine years now.

Over the years, Planning Center has partnered with other great products in the worship realm and allowed those of us who use those products to integrate our workflows into Planning Center.

Back then, when it was basically in its infancy, even I did not know what I would do without Planning Center.

It still amazes me today when I meet worship leaders who are not using it – for any number of reasons – and refuse to take my advice to at least try it out.

If you are reading this, however, I am guessing that you probably are already using Planning Center, and are on the lookout for a few new pointers.

Hopefully in that area, I can be helpful.

If you are not yet a Planning Center user, read the rest of this article, and then quickly proceed to get their 30-day free trial!

Of all the things that the great people at Ministry Centered Technologies (the people behind Planning Center) do well, offering customizability and keeping an ear always bent to their customers, are among their top traits.

While the basic functions are quickly learned by most everyone (I have a wide range of ages and abilities on my team, each of whom has learned this software), it’s the array of options that bring out the true power of Planning Center.

First, I want to cover the Matrix. Even if you have been using Planning Center for a while, you may have never traveled to the Matrix.

Perhaps you were concerned about finding the truth of your reality, or perhaps you just liked your current workflow, and never thought about venturing beyond that. The Matrix view, in my opinion, is the most powerful tool in the Planning Center arsenal. From here, you can view numerous services at once, schedule and move anyone or anything, send out scheduling emails for dozens of services simultaneously, even run a simple auto-scheduler.

I rarely see the main page of Planning Center anymore, as the matrix view is in an open browser tab at all times.

At a glance, I can see many weeks ahead, to make sure I am giving our musicians time to learn all the songs, as well as to see instantly if there are holes that need to be filled for certain weeks. All service elements are moved around simply by dragging, and can even be easily copied from one week to another by dragging from one week to the next.

Items or people can be added to any week by pressing the “add an item” or “+ people” button, but I prefer to drag songs or people’s names from the sidebar to the week I want to schedule them.

More About David Erlandson
David is the Pastor of Worship at Trinity Church in Mentor, Ohio. In addition to worship leader, he’s also tech director, IT, lighting designer, video producer, and stage designer. He and his amazing wife Sarah, have two little boys that keep them quite busy. When he’s not spending time with his family, he’s fixing the house, reading tech blogs, watching Star Wars, or cheering on the World Series champion Chicago Cubs. Connect with David on Twitter @daviderlandson.
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Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.

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