New Updates – Song Mapping and Improved Text Notifications

We’ve update worshipplanning.com to include a new feature that we know many of you worship leaders will love:


ordering in song librarySong Mapping

This new tool allows you to easily map out the order of choruses, verses, intros, bridges, and more.  Each song can have a “default” mapping that is defined in your song library, and then it can be easily changed in the worship flow.

The mapping you set for a particular worship service is accessible by your team members via MyWP and many of the worship flow print options.

We’ve also create a brief video tutorial on how to use this feature.  You can view it here:
http://www.screencast.com/t/GZzI66VJK7xH

Improved Text Message Notifications

Text notifications from WorshipPlanning.com is nothing new (here’s how to do it if you didn’t know).  But in the past WorshipPlanning.com sent text messages using email-to-text gateways run by cell phone carriers.  And not all carriers were consistent about messages being delivered when sent this way (especially carriers in Europe and Australia).

With this update to WorshipPlanning.com, we’ve begun using an SMS expert service call Twilio.  If you already have text notifications set up and working for your account, you shouldn’t have to do anything for this new SMS service to start working.  But if it has not worked for you before, try re-setting up your text notifications in WP and it should work a whole lot better.

Privacy Info Defaulting to “Most Private” 

When creating a new Helper or Planner account, the default setting for “Contact Info Privacy” has been changed from “Visible to all helpers at my church” to “Hidden from all helpers”.  This setting has always been accessible to Planners creating the account and the person whose account was created.  But in the age of increased privacy concerns, it makes more sense to default it to the most private setting.

By the way, accounts that were already set up were not modified with this update.

Exporting 

The tool used to export worship flow to Word and Excel has been updated to work better with Mac OSX based computers.

New Version 4.3 – File Access Reports and Remembering Notification Messages

WorshipPlanning.com Logo v4.3.0

This version of WP brought a couple of features that will not only save you time with your scheduling process, but it will also help you get an idea who is coming to rehearsal prepared!

File Access Reporting

WP is now keeping track of who is accessing files you have uploaded.  This is important for two main reasons:

CCLI Rehearsal License Reporting

If you have a CCLI Rehearsal License, you are required to report the number of unique accesses (stream or download) of song files covered under the license.  To make this super easy, we’ve created a page that allows you to easily see download counts, per song, for a specific time period.

CCLI Rehearsal License Reporting Screenshot

This can be accessed from the Library >> Files Library menu option.  Click on the File Access Reports sub tab and select your date!

General File Access Reporting

The other File Access Report we created, called the “General File Access” view, will list all the files accessed, including the user that accessed it, the date/time of the access, and how they accessed.  You can even filter the search for results by time period, user, related song, and file name.  It’s a great way to slice-and-dice the data to see who has accessed what!

Song File Access Reporting

And finally, we put the File Access Report info on the Song Details window.  So, if you really want to know which members of your worship team have streamed or downloaded the important files in preparation for rehearsal, you can easily see this by clicking on the song title in the worship flow (or anywhere in the site), then clicking on the File Access tab.

File Access Tab

File reports are only visible to Planners with security level 1 (worship editors) or higher.

Remembering Text from Assignment Emails

Several weeks ago, we added a “previously sent messages” selection field for sending messages to people from the Worship Flow page.  With version 4.3.0, we added that same capability on the People Schedule page.  We know that many people have been using Notepad or other text editors to copy/paste standard messages they send to various teams.  With this feature, you can keep Notepad closed and just select your previously sent message!

Previously Sent Messages from Schedule Page Screenshot

New Updates – Version 4.2.3

WP Logo version 4.2.3

We wanted to share with you the details of a few updates we just applied to WorshipPlanning.com.  Enjoy!

Email Response Options

Email response options

Recipients of assignment notifications and reminders will now have the option to respond right in the email.  If the email contains multiple assignments, there will be just a single “respond to assignments” button.  And if the assignment has already been accepted or declined, assignment response buttons do not show.

We think this feature will really help with getting responses from Helpers, as it reduces the number of steps they need to follow to keep you informed!

Facebook Notifications

Although Facebook still has this functionality in Beta, we’ve hooked into their native notification system for 3rd party apps.  Once your team members have the Facebook App Installed, they’ll start receiving notifications in Facebook of when they are scheduled to serve.Facebook Notification

Spotify Alert

Spotify LogoWe really love Spotify, but we are not very big fans of their choice in advertisements.  To help shield you and your team from less-than-desirable ads, we added a pop-up message that offers a few tips that might help.  They include options from disabling Spotify integration with your WP account to upgrading to the paid version of Spotify to remove all ads.

v4.2.2 Update – Sending Messages to Teams and New Calendar Feed

wpLogo-version4.2.2

Happy New Year!!!  We have a couple new WorshipPlanning.com  updates we’re excited to share with you!  These were rolled out this morning.

Sending Messages from WorshipPlanning.com

While there has always been a way to send messages to various groups of people, it hasn’t been as easy as it should be.  So, today we are introducing a new “Send Message” window that does a few features we think you’ll really find helpful.  We’ve even put together a brief video on how it works – http://www.screencast.com/t/ZWDUrgpJK .  With this update, you can now send a message…

…from the Worship Flow

To send a message from the worship flow page to a specific team, all you have to do is click on the new “email” icon in the team assignments panel.  This will open the Send Message window and pre-populate the “To” section with those scheduled to serve (pending, accepted, or tentative).

Send a Message From Worship Flow

…to an individual, team, or arbitrary list of people

When you access the Send Message window from the Worship Flow, you’ll have a list of options as to whom the recipients will be, based on their serving team, assignment status, and service times.  You can modify these options or manually add or remove people using the “Manual Selection” section.  You can also remove anyone from the “To” section by clicking the “x” icon next to their name.

If you are accessing the Send Message page using the navigation menu (which now resides under the “People” navigation heading), you’ll still be able to select team and individuals using the checkboxes.

Sending a Message

…using previously sent message text

If you’d like to resend a message, or simply use a past message as a starting point, the new “Past Messages” option allows you to select a message you’ve sent in the past.  We’ll keep track of up to 10 unique messages for you to reference.

Send a Message - Message History

Calendar Feed for Assignments

Our new “assignments feed” allows you to integrate your WorshipPlanning.com assignments into the calendar of your choice via a real-time feed URL.

Calendar Feed Dialog

WorshipPlanning.com Update – New User/Song Info Windows, Helper Filtering and More!

WorshipPlanning.com Version 4.2.0 Released

We are excited to share with you that WP4.2 has been released, which includes these great features:

  • Updated User Info window with an informative graph of serving history
  • Updated Song Info window with a similar graph of performance history
  • Easy search/filter tool for the Helpers page
  • SongSelect search improvements
  • More Songs in our “Top Songs” Library

New User Info Window

When you click on a person’s name in WP, a new window appears that provides an array of information and options.  In addition to the standard contact info, we’ve added a tab to show the teams and skills of the person, as well as a nifty “Assignments” tab that shows…well, just have a look at the screenshot below.

User Info Dialog

The lower part of the screen that isn’t full shown is where all past assignments can be seen.  There is lots of great info about the person that can be found with just a single click, from just about anywhere in the site!

New Song Info Window

When we created the User Info Window, we naturally thought how that same type of information would be very applicable to songs. Thus, the new Song Info Window was born!  On this new dialog (which replaces the small pop-up menu that appeared when you clicked on a song title), we have all the possible song data you could want, PLUS another nifty graph of the song performance history.

Song Info Dialog

When you click on the icon in the Assignments column, a small window opens that shows who was serving on worship flow sensitive teams for that service.

Searching/Filtering Helpers

Backed by popular demand, we’ve made the Helpers table much smarter.  You can use the easy “filter” field to key in a few characters and the list of Helpers will automatically refresh to display matching results.  Additionally, the column headers can be clicked for sorting.

Helper Filtering

We plan on applying this intelligence to other areas of the site, including the Planners and Teams pages.

SongSelect Search Improvements

Our SongSelect search window now allows you to enter the CCLI number for a song.  It will be found and displayed more quickly than searching by key word.

More “Top Songs” Entries

Since we rolled out our updated Top Songs list, (with Spotify and SongSelect links), we’ve been continuing to research and add more songs.  The list is now over 500.  That’s 500 of the most popular songs in WorshipPlanning.com that you and your team can easily:

  • Stream the audio (with a free Spotify account)
  • View/print the chord charts (with a SongSelect account)
  • Watch/listen to the music video on YouTube
  • Buy the MP3 from Amazon
  • …all from your WorshipPlanning.com account!

Version 4.1.4 – Security Change and MORE Spotify Updates

WP Logo - Version 4.1.4

We hope you have been enjoying the new Spotify integration with WP!  It truly is a powerful tool that gives you and your team free and instant access to streaming audio for many of your worship songs, without having to upload anything!  If you haven’t tried Spotify, what are you waiting for?  Learn more and create yourself a free account now! Just browse to Spotify.com.

With version 4.1.4 we’ve added even more awesome Spotify features that you will no doubt find indispensable.  We’ve also made a very important security change regarding Helpers on Worship Flow Sensitive teams, so please be sure to read on.

More Spotify Integration

In just two weeks, we’ve taken access to Spotify songs to the next level in WP with Spotify Playlists and Spotify Searches.  On the Worship Flow page (for both Planners and Helpers), we’ve added a Spotify Icon Play Spotify Playlist link that will open your Spotify app and load your service’s worship songs (that have Spotify links) in a playlist.  Access to the audio of your worship set list has never been easier…or free-er!

But wait, I know what you are thinking.  “That’s great if I have the Spotify links.  But I don’t, and it is kind of a pain to search Spotify for those songs to manually copy the Spotify link to my songs library.”  Well, you will be thrilled to hear that we’ve made searching Spotify songs super easy!

Right in the Add/Edit Song window where you would normall see the Spotify URI/id field (on the Web tab), you can click the binoculars icon and “Find Spotify Track” window will open with a list of matching songs.

Spotify search window

With that list of Spotify search results, simply click the Title you’d like to link to the song you are adding/editing.  If you want to hear the song first, just click the little blue “Play” icon and your Spotify app should start playing the song.

Once you’ve selected the song, you’ll see the Spotify URI/id field is now populated.  Be sure to save your changes!

Important Helper Security Change

With version 4.1.4, an important security change on WorshipPlanning.com has taken place and some of your Helper accounts could be affected.  The change puts in to effect the “Worship Flow Sensitive” setting for each of your teams.  For Helpers to see the worship flow related information (worship flow, service files, virtual stage, and printouts), they must be serving on a team that has the “Worship Flow Sensitive” setting enabled.  If they are not, when they go to the worship flow related tabs in MyWP, they will see a message explaining why they can’t see the information there.

For smaller churches that don’t use the team features of WP, we are providing a small loophole.  If a Helper is not a member of any team, he or she will still have access to worship flow related info.

To adjust this setting for a team, log in to WP and follow these steps:

  1. Go to People >> Teams
  2. Click on the name of the desired team that needs setting to be worship flow sensitive
  3. Click on the “Settings” tab
  4. Click the “Edit these Settings”
  5. Change the “Worship Flow Sensitive:” setting to be Yes and click the “Save” button.

teams-worship flow sensitive.png

The reason for this policy change is due to the fact that many churches are using WP to plan many of their Sunday morning ministries that aren’t directly related to the worship service flow (i.e. children’s ministry, parking team, coffee setup).  Many churches have asked us to restrict those teams from accessing information not relevant to their ministry.  Since we’ve had the “Worship Flow Sensitive” team setting in place for a while, hopefully your team is already configured properly.  We are just now finally putting it into use.

If you have any questions or feedback about this change, please feel free to post a comment below.  If you have technical support issues, please be sure to submit a support request.

Spotify is the registered trade mark of the Spotify Group.

Spotify Integration is Here!

Spotify Logo

We are excited to announce that version 4.1.3 of WorshipPlanning.com has been released, which includes integration with Spotify!  For those of you wondering exactly what Spotify is, it is a free music streaming service that provides on-demand access to over 16 million songs.  That’s right, 16 million songs, on demand, for free. You can learn more about it (and sign up for a free account) here: http://www.spotify.com/us/about/what/

We at WorshipPlanning.com are big fans of Spotify, and thought it would be a huge benefit to worship teams if they could easily access Spotify songs right from WP!  Many of you are already familiar with the links to the YouTube music video and Amazon MP3 purchases pages.  We have extended these resources of songs to include links to Spotify for on-demand streaming.  So you really don’t have to do anything special to start seeing the Spotify links. But in the event you don’t, or if you are curious for more integration details, read on.

Top Songs List

Many of you have seen, Planners can add songs to their library by browsing our Top Songs list (around 350 songs).  We have updated our top songs list and are in the process of expending it to 1000 songs.  For most of those songs, we’ve found the Spotify link and included it with the Top Songs information.  Keep in mind that as you add a song manually, WP tries to match your song title against our Top Songs list and gives you the option to automatically add data we’ve collected about each song (author, copyright info, YouTube/Amazon info, and now the Spotify link).

SongSelect SongsSong Menu with spotify link

If you’ve taken advantage of our SongSelect integration, many of those songs in your library are already link to Spotify and ready for you to use, right now!

Manually Adding or Editing Songs

The places where you add or edit song details has a “web” tab that contains the Stream Web Address and Purchase Web Address fields for you to specify where your team can go to watch the YouTube music video or purchase the MP3.  It is on this tab we’ve added a field for the Spotify link.

add song window with spotify field circled

Copy Spotify URI menu option It’s easy to get a Spotify link by right-clicking on a particular song in Spotify and selecting the Copy Spotify URI option.  Then just paste it into the appropriate field in the Add/Edit Song window. But remember: This link will usually be automatically fill if you select one of the songs matched from our Top Songs list.








Not Ready for Spotify in WP Just Yet?

If for some reason you’d rather not have these Spotify links showing up in your church’s WP account, you can turn this feature off in the Church Settings page.  With security level 3 (account admin), go to Account >> Church Account Settings >> Edit This Info button.  It is a setting at the bottom.

Thoughts? Feedback? HELP!

Feel free to post a comment on any feedback you might have.  If you need a hand with anything, feel free to log a support ticket with us over at our Customer Support Center.

Happy listening!!

Spotify is the registered trade mark of the Spotify Group.

Spring Cleaning and General Improvements

computers connected via cloud

While it may seem like things have been a little quiet on the blog, we’ve been quite busy taking care of a few housekeeping items.  Boring as they may seem, they actually have great benefit to you the customer.   First of all, last week we migrated the site to a new architecture that is designed to run much faster and scale much better.  The  growth we have experienced over the past year has been fantastic and this architecture change is necessary to keep things running smoothly.

Rackspace Logo

For those curious, the new architecture is called a “Hybrid” environment that allows the WorshipPlanning.com database to run on dedicated hardware, while the website itself is served from virtual servers called Cloud servers.  If you are a real geek like we are, you can read more about the exact environment on Rackspace’s website.  And by the way, in this new environment we are able to better track server and site performance.  The great news is that it takes our servers (on average)  less than half a second to serve up most pages.

Error Tracking

Another environment enhancement that will be of indirect (although very positive) benefit to you is new error tracking.  It used to be that errors encountered by users on the site required you to manually submit them.  We’ve enhanced the system such that any site errors are automatically reported directly to us with a plethora of information  (and often, you won’t even notice the error).  We are putting a priority on fixing the cause of the errors, which is much easier with the new automatic information we get.  Our goal is a 100% error free site, and we really aren’t that far from it.

Password Improvements

A few weeks ago we updated the site with a new way to handle password storage, password resets, and user authentication.  Your passwords have always been secure sitting in our database behind our hardened firewall.  But we’ve taken the added measure of one-way encrypting your passwords so that they cannot be decrypted and viewed by us (or anyone else, for that matter).  As a result, we’ve updated the way we handle requests from people that have forgotten or never received their password.  Instead of sending you the password we have on file for you (which we can’t do anymore due to the encryption), we send you a special “reset password” link to the email address you have associated with your account.  The link is unique and expires after a certain amount of time.  On the reset page you are prompted to enter a new password (twice, for confirmation).  And of course, that new password is encrypted before it is stored in our database.  As a side note, passwords are now case-sensitive.

Future Enhancements

We are working on some really cool stuff that should be ready for you before fall. Keep an eye on our blog, twitter, and facebook accounts for updates!  Also, you might see an opportunity to take a survey or two for a chance to win an iTunes gift card.  Watch for any messages about this on the home page of your account.

Spreading “Easy-to-Use” News for 2012

ministrEspace banner

While we don’t often promote other web sites here on our blog, we recently came across a neat product you need to check out. If anyone is looking for a resource to help schedule your worship and church spaces, look at ministrEspace from Cool Solutions Group. ministrEspace is an easy-to-use, cloud-based service for church scheduling needs. You can coordinate and schedule events, rooms, resources and associated human interactivity for your facility all within ministrEspace. It allows for a quick, easy setup and multiple user access with public and private calendar viewing. They even offer a 30-day FREE trial to get you started! Check it out!

Can’t Remember Last Easter’s Service? WorshipPlanning.com does!

Guy trying to remember

With just a few days left to finalize your Easter service plans,  hopefully you already have the details of your worship flow and song arrangements.  But perhaps during the planning stage you were trying to remember what the worship service looked like last year.  No need to scrounge around your archived emails or send your search dog after year-old Word documents.  If you were using WorshipPlanning.com back then, you could access that info with just a couple of clicks.

Since we are all tight on time this week, I’ll cut to the chase:

  1. Once logged in to your WP account, go to Services >> Manage All Services
  2. Click the “Show Past Services” button on the far left

That’s it!  You might have to make sure you are sorting by the date and adjust the number of services that show per page, but it shouldn’t take you long to find the right service (Easter was on April 24 last year, by the way).  And, if the service has “Easter” in the message topic, you can find it even faster by typing Easter in the search text box.

The folks here at WorshipPlanning.com hope you have a highly blessed and low stress Easter.  As we tweeted earlier today, we pray that you aren’t so busy doing the work of God that you forget to seek the presence of God.