Service planning

Jethro gives you the ability to quickly plan your church gatherings by dragging and dropping service components. It helps you to select appropriate material for each service and produce run sheets for leaders and pew handouts for attenders. Service planning takes a bit of work to set up initially, but once the foundation is laid your week-to-week planning becomes very smooth.

Initial Setup

If you’ve already set up rostering you will have completed some of these steps already.

1 Get your congregations ready

  1. From the main menu, choose Admin > Congregations
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  2. Make sure the congregations for which you want to plan services have a Code Name. If not, edit the congregation or add a new one.
    NOTE: The code name must include 4 digits representing the stat time, eg 1000_trad, 1600_youth.

2 Fill in your service schedule

Before we plan individual services in detail, we need to tell Jethro what the schedule of services is – what dates there will be services and their basic properties.

  1. From the main menu, choose Services > List All.
  2. Choose a date range and click the “edit” button. Jethro then shows you the form for entering basic service details such as topic and Bible readings. Enter some details here and save.

    TIP: If you don’t know what the service details will be yet, you can just put “TBA” as each topic. You can do this quickly by clicking “bulk populate” at the top.

3.  Populate your component library

Service components are items that you can choose to include in a service.  Jethro categorises your library into songs, prayers, creeds and other.  Each component belongs to one or more congregations – eg. you may have some songs that are used in morning services but not evening services.  Here we will create some basic items to demonstrate the concept.

  1. From the main menu, choose Services > Component Library.  The component library page is displayed, including tabs for the four component categories.
  2. Choose a category then click the “add” button to add a new component.  The add-component page is displayed.
  3. Fill in the essential details of the component:
    1. Choose which congregations it will be used by
    2. Enter a title for the component – eg “Amazing Grace”.  
    3. Enter a length indicating the normal duration of this item in minutes.  (This will control run sheet time calculations).
  4. Most of the other fields on this form are optional.  If you wish you can enter these:
    • Alt title is an alternative name by which the component may be known – for example songs which may be known by their first line.  This field is optional.
    • Tags are useful for marking songs by topic, tempo etc.
    • Runsheet Title Format affects the way the item is shown on a service run sheet. It can be left blank to simply show the item’s title.  You can include keywords here such as %SERVICE_BIBLE_READ_ALL
    • Personnel affects what is shown in the ‘personnel’ column of the run sheet.  You can include keywords here; for example if you have a roster role “bible reader” then you can include the keyword %BIBLE_READER% or %BIBLE_READER_FIRSTNAME%
    • Show on handout and Handout Title Format how the component is mentioned on handouts for attenders.
    • Content is for the lyrics of the song or words of the prayer etc.  This can be included in the handout for attenders.
    • Credits is for recording details of songwriters and copyright owners etc
  5. Click save to save the component.
  6. Repeat this process for other components. Some particular components you will likely want are:
    • Bible Readings
      • Run Sheet Title Format: “Bible Readings: %SERVICE_BIBLE_READ_ALL%”
      • Personnel eg “%BIBLE_READER_FIRSTNAME%”
    • Sermon
      • Run Sheet Title Format: “Sermon: %SERVICE_TOPIC% (%SERVICE_BIBLE_PREACH_ALL)”
      • Personnel eg “%PREACHER_FIRSTNAME%”

You can also use the “import” function in the component library to import multiple service components in one go.

Planning a service

Once you have set up your service schedule and component library you can edit the run sheet for a particular service.

Basic run sheet editing

  1. From the main menu choose Services > List all
  2. Click on a cell in the service schedule.  The service run sheet editor will be displayed.

    • On the right hand side is the component library – ie. the list of components available to add to the service.  Next to each component is shown the date it was last used and the number of times it’s been used in the last month (“1m”) and year (“12m”).  This helps you avoid over-using certain components (eg your favourite song).  At the top of the library are filters where you can search for a a word or filter by a tag.
    • On the left hand side is the service run sheet, where the list of items in this service will be shown.
  3. To build the service, drag components from the component library on the right to the run sheet on the left.  Start times on the run sheet are calculated based on component durations.
  4. The Personnel column will be populated based on the component’s settings.  But you can also click on the personnel for any service item to edit it directly (eg if a different person to normal will be responsible for a certain item this week)
  5. Don’t forget to click the “save” button down the bottom when you’re finished (run sheets do not auto-save).

Advanced Run Sheet editing

Several advanced features are available via the service item context menu, which appears when you click the down-arrow on the right hand side of each item.

At the top of the run sheet is the “copy from previous” link.  Click this if you would like to copy items from a previous service.  This saves time if many of your service items are the same each week.

At the bottom of the run sheet is a “comments” box.  This is useful for adding comments on the service overall, eg “special lunch to follow the service” or “no kids program today”.

Using your run sheet

Once you have saved the run sheet for a service you can use it in various ways.

  1. People with access to Jethro can log in and view the run sheet, including on their mobile device, removing the need for a printed run sheet at church
  2. After saving the run sheet, when it is displayed in Jethro, you can click the “printable” link to display the run sheet in a suitable format for printing or for copy-and-pasting into a word processor:
  3. When viewing a run sheet, the right hand column shows the “full content” suitable for inclusion in a pew handout.  Depending on how you configured your service components, this will include the run sheet items, with numbers, and the full text of items such as prayers and songs.  There is also a “printable” link for the full content, for quick printing or copying into a word processor.
  4. Roster views can be configured to list certain types of run sheet item in the roster – for example the songs for the service.  To configure this:
    1. From the main menu, choose Rosters > Define Roster Views, then open a roster view for editing.
    2. In the “members” section, choose “service field” from the first dropdown box.   Then in the second dropdown box you will be able to choose “all songs”, “all prayers” etc.
    3. After saving your changes to the roster view, go to Rosters > Display Roster Assignments and display the roster view you just edited.  The service details will show up in the roster, along with the roster assignees.
  5. You can also use Jethro to generate handouts for services based on templates.  To access this feature, go to “Services > List all” page and click the down-arrow on the right hand side of a row:

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Why a church database?

So many churches would benefit from having a good member database tool. Easy Jethro is certainly one of them. Being built locally also means that customers have easy access to the developers should they have suggestions to improve an already good product.
effectiveministry.org

Pastor people, not paper.

If you’re a pastor, you need to keep track of people (1 Peter 5:2). But you don’t have a photographic memory and you’re not an accountant.   This is easy if you simply tell a machine who turned up each week, and it tells you who’s been missing for a while.

If you’re a pastor, you need to focus on the important things (Acts 6:1-4).  Not on passing around scraps of paper or emailing spreadsheets.   This is easy when there’s one reliable, secure place where everyone can help themselves to the info they need.

If you’re a pastor, you need to be able to delegate (Exodus 18:13–23).  And to know whether the delegated work is actually getting done. This is easy when there’s a central register of what needs to be done, who’s doing it, and whether it’s finished yet.

An online church database like Easy Jethro means you can care for people more effectively, while the normal church admin rolls on around you.

Why Easy Jethro?

Jethro has served us well since 2007. Everyone can find the information they need, and we can easily see the big picture of our church’s ministry. As the number of members, staff, congregations and sites has grown, Jethro has helped us to make sure nobody falls between the cracks.
Andrew Katay, Christ Church Inner West

There are hundreds of church databases on the market.  Our service is based on the Jethro PMM open-source software, which we host in a reliable, secure environment.  We think you’ll find our database is a good fit because it’s easy.

Features

People and FamiliesViewFamilyMed

Congregations and GroupsListGroupsMed

Notes and TasksSingleNoteSmall

Attendance and ReportingAttendanceRecordSmall

CommunicationsSendSMS

Schedules and RostersRosterAssign

Imports and ExportsContactList

Restrictions and SecurityRestrictions

Easy interaction OnMobileSmall

Pricing

Easy Jethro is a cost effective solution. Our $29 per month plan is ample for most churches,
and there are discounts if you pay a year in advance.

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FAQs

Why is Easy Jethro so cheap?  Is it dodgy?

There are other church database providers with roughly similar functionality that are more expensive than Easy Jethro.  Because we leverage the existing Jethro PMM open source software (built and used by a bunch of churches over several years), our costs are around the hosting, maintenance, security and support of your system – we don’t have to pay a team of developers to build it from scratch.

If Jethro is free, why should I pay you for it?

The Jethro PMM software is free. But to run it, you need to know how to install it on a web server.  Then you need to make sure the web server is secure enough.  Then you need to make sure it’s regularly backed up and the server is kept up  to date with security patches.  With Easy Jethro you don’t need to worry about any of these details – you pay us for the service and you get a reliable, secure Jethro system that just works.

Can’t I just install Jethro alongside my website?

Many churches run their own Jethro PMM systems and for some churches that’s a great option.  But the cheap web hosting you might use for your website probably doesn’t have an appropriate level of security for storing personal information like you do in Jethro.  For example you’ll generally be sharing the server with a bunch of other users who may have installed insecure software, and the lack of SSL encryption means your username and password can be eavesdropped on the network.

I’ve heard websites can get hacked.  Is Easy Jethro secure?

We use industry best practice to make sure your data stays secure and intact.  This includes

I’ve heard some stories about online storage.  Can the US Government come and seize my data at any time?

The US Patriot Act does give the US Government access to private data.  It applies to servers that are located in the US or owned by US companies.   This has raised some questions about whether Australian organisations can store private information on US servers without breaching the more stringent Australian Privacy Act.  Easy Jethro is an Australian company that stores your data physically within Australia on Australian-owned hardware so you can be confident that by using our service you are not breaching Australian privacy laws.

What are your policies on usage and privacy?

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