I would have to say Planning Center Online is my service programming saving grace. Planning Center is an online program that allows you to plan out services for the future, allows you to set up program sheets to the detail, minute by minute account of where you want service to go to make sure everyone is one the same page at the same time.

We didn’t have this when I first came onto Saddleback HSM, and since we brought it online, services have been going smoother because of the communication that comes from everything that Planning Center has to offer.

Here are some of the main reasons why I personally love and use this program:

  • Organization – I get flustered when things are all out of whack when it comes to planning services. Especially when we are a few months out, and things change. I love that I am able to click a weekend, go in and make a change, and that’s it, everyone else gets an update. On a week to week basis, I can write notes to all who are involved in the service. For example, I can write a note to the band on when to come in, or a note to cameras what kind of shot we want to get, etc. It makes it real easy to communicate on all moving parts.
  • It is a one stop shop – all moving parts of our weekend services are based off what is on planning center. This is the central HUB for our entire operation. Our Worship Director can go on and add songs for the weekend (and add the song notes, mp3’s, and chord charts to it as an attachment), all of our tech arts is scheduled from here, our graphics guy can go on and see our announcements and message notes to make sure he has everything we need, and this is the paper I pass out to everyone to make sure we are on the same page.
  • It is hard to mess up – You would have to try really hard to mess it up. When you look at it, it is super clean-looking. It is not confusing at all (at least to me). Everyone can look at it and know exactly where and when everything is supposed to go, especially if I am writing notes to all the different areas of tech, audio, band, and speaker. I can essentially not explain the whole service in person and someone can just look at this sheet and would know how to run the service without any direction.
  • Planning Center Live – We are not here yet, but I want to be able to use the Live version of this program during our services. This is where all areas (band, speaker, tech, audio, lights, etc) are all on the same system online, and it is a live feed of what is happening service. Where I would have my iPad calling the shots moving section by section through the service, writing notes to all areas who need it. It gives the live run down, how you are on time, and so much more which I will be excited to explore hopefully in the fall.

Here is a program sheet from one of our services from a few weeks ago:

If you don’t have it, I would recommend talking to your church about getting on it. It has helped me be organized, and get all of our moving parts organized as well so we are able to run a smooth but amazing service.