5 Reasons You Should Be Using Planning Center Online

5 reasons

If you’ve been involved in Church Media for any length of time, you’re probably already using Planning Center Online. If you’re new to the world, here’s a snapshot of the software and their team:

We don’t receive any money for promoting Planning Center to you. We just want you to know about what software is out there that will help you transform your worship experience.

Here are 5 benefits of using the Services App of the software you may or may not have thought of:

1. Scheduling Volunteers

This one of the primary and most obvious ways to use Planning Center. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs and podcasts, I used Planning Center as a reminder tool only for my volunteers. I wanted them to have a posted schedule several months out of serving so they could plan around it.  I create teams of volunteers and had a rotation of when those teams served. When using Planning Center, I would simply take the team scheduled to serve Sunday, plug their names in and send them an invite. I used Planning Center as a reminder tool each week as one last check for the volunteer. You may use it to schedule weeks in advance if you choose. This is totally up to you and how you schedule your team.
You can check out a full podcast about how I used a Team Approach with my volunteers here:

One of the primary ways to use @PlanningCenter is to schedule your volunteers. @carlbarnhill Click To Tweet

2. Playback & Song Prep

One wonderful feature with Planning Center is the ability to attach files to elements of your service flow. Here’s what we did at NewSpring: we had a full rehearsal and run-through every Monday night with our band. We recorded the run-through and took the songs and attached them in our service flow in Planning Center. This way, when volunteers logged in to see Sunday’s service flow, they could listen to the songs that would be performed, word for word, exactly the way they were going to be performed on Sunday. This little bit of work helped our entire team execute on a very high level. The ProPresenter operator, our Camera Operators, our Live Director, and our entire crew could now live with the songs for Sunday during the week. You can actually see if someone clicks on attached files and how much they listen – not that you would be too hard about checking up on people – but this does give you some ammo to use if someone is struggling with the songs. “Did you listen to playback this week?” is an easy question to ask to help volunteers know how important it is to be prepared for Sunday.

3. To Communicate Service Flow & Details

Another obvious one. Planning Center is perfect for laying out your worship experience to keep everyone on the same page. You can list each element and all the details of each element in an organized way. Let me encourage you to not be long-winded, but add a few notes in each element to let your volunteers know what to expect – the more they know, the more excellent your experience could be.

4. To Organize Service Plans Across Multiple Campuses & Ministries

If you’re at a multi-site campus, Planning Center Online is a no-brainer, especially if you are executing the same exact service across all your campuses. This helps keep the information the same and streamlined. Your main campus team or core leaders can plan services on at a top level, then send that information out to all your campuses easily.

5. To Inform Volunteers About Upcoming Information & Events

Think about using Planning Center for more that just your large worship service gatherings. You’re already paying for the software. Take advantage of it – use it for your team events, ministry gatherings, meetings, parties and more. And fill it with all kinds of information for your team. Think through ways to use the software not just for its primary use in planning your weekend, but how it can be used for as many things as possible.


Planning Center Online is a powerful tool for your church. I highly suggest you spend the money on using this incredible online platform with your teams.


I recently interviewed Chris Denning, owner of PCOguru.com – a site that resources churches with Planning Center tips, tricks, and helps. You can check out my full interview with Chris here:

planning center online

About the Author_02

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Creative Director / Owner
[twelve:thirty]media | Columbia, SC

Carl Barnhill has served on staff at some of the largest churches and organizations in the country. He served as Media Director at Precept Ministries International, directing the television and radio program Precepts for Life with Kay Arthur, broadcasted to over 98 million homes around the world. He served as Video Production Director at Pinelake Church in Brandon, MS, where he produced media content for four campuses, as well as led volunteer teams.

He most recently served as Video Coordinator for Newspring Church in South Carolina. Newspring has 10 campuses across the state with a weekly attendance of over 35,000. At one campus alone, the number of consistent volunteers serving in media production tripled, under his leadership.

He currently serves as Creative Director and Owner of [twelve:thirty]media, a company that serves churches and ministries all over the world through motion graphics content and church media coaching.

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