Truly Full of Thanks

Gears Meshing

This past year has been incredible, and unlike any other year in my 40+ on this earth.  As some of you know, early this year I chose to follow a crystal-clear calling of God to leave my full time job and really pour my efforts into WorshipPlanning.com.  Helping churches though WorshipPlanning.com has been a passion of mine since it was first launched over 13 years ago.  But not until February 17th of this year had I felt led to step out of the boat, among the wind and waves, and walk toward Jesus in this manner.

Since then, not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on that decision.  And the reason is, I am so incredibly thankful, everyday, for this opportunity God has given me.  The road hasn’t been straight, easy, and worry-free.  But one thing is for sure: This is exactly where I am supposed to be, right now.  Knowing this feels amazing, and can be described with an illustration of gears.  When gears mesh correctly, the system is in sync and movement progresses as it should.  The gears may be working hard, but they are working together.

This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for God providing the opportunity to serve Him in this capacity, and allowing me to hear his voice along the way.  I’m also very thankful for the many wonderful people that God used to provide encouragement.  This includes my courageous family, the incredible people here at WorshipPlanning.com, the amazing ministries and churches that we serve, and my F3Nation brothers that offer perpetual encouragement and accountability.

I sincerely hope you and your family have an blessed Thanksgiving, and a spirit-filled holiday season.

-tom

New “Self Sign-up” For Your Team Members

The v5.4.3 update that recently came out includes a highly requested feature called “Self Sign-up”.   When you enable this for your team, your team members will be able to find and sign up for available roles, on their own, without you having to individually schedule them.  They just log in to MyWP (or access the WorshipPlanning.com mobile web app) and select the “Sign Up” link.  They will then see a list of available roles scheduled for your team, and click the “Sign-up and Accept” button.

Sign Up and Accept

 

They can also do the same on the mobile web app by pointing their mobile device to http://m.worshipplanning.com (http://wplan.me will get them there also).  If they are on a team that has “Self Sign-up” turned on, they will see a new “Sign-Up to Serve” menu option on the main page.  Once they select the desired available role, they’ll simply need to confirm:

Mobile Self Sign-up

We’ve created a brief video for team leaders and account administrators that shows how to enable and use this feature.  It’s easy to get configure, and even easier to for your team members to use!

 

 

Emoji and Non-Latin Characters Now Supported

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When worshipplanning.com launched in 2003, emoji didn’t exist. Instead, Internet users made use of ASCII characters to create “emoticons”.  The database driving our software used an encoding that was considered “best practices” at the time but had fallen a little out of date recently.  This past weekend, we performed a significant update to that database that provides support of “extended” character sets, including emoji, non-Latin-based characters, and “special” characters often used in desktop applications (like fancy quotes or dashes).  So, let your creative emoji juices flow and tell your international friends that worshipplanning.com is now extended-character friendly!

Free Song: “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (We Turn)” by Paul Baloche

Turn Your Eyes

We’re excited to offer you another free song for the next 7 days, in partnership with WeAreWorship.com!

The song is “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (We Turn)” from Paul Baloche’s latest album “Your Mercy”.

CLICK HERE to download the MP3 and the chord charts for FREE! – Oops, the offer has expired. But be sure to sign up for our blog to learn about more free music downloads!

Free Song: “Gloria (Our Savior Found Us)”

majesty-in-a-manger_cvr_1500x1500

We’re excited to offer you another free song for the next 7 days, in partnership with WeAreWorship.com!

The song is “Gloria (Our Savior Found Us)” is a track off Majesty In A Manger by Various Integrity music artist, which was released today. This album has Great Christmas themed worship tunes, so be sure to check it out

CLICK HERE to download the MP3 and the chord charts for FREE! – Oops, the offer has expired. But be sure to sign up for our blog to learn about more free music downloads!

Update v5.4.0 Text Notifications, Location Management, and SongSelect Integration Improvements

This morning, worshipplanning.com was updated to version 5.4.0, and we wanted to share some of the exciting details.

Text Notifications
worshipplanning.com has offered SMS text notifications for several years (you can learn more about how it works here), but now team leaders and account admins can enable SMS Text messaging on behalf of users.  Before this update, only the end user could enable text notifications by logging into their own WP account.  The was done to reduce the risk of people being unexpectedly charged for text messages.  Now that “unlimited” texts is much more popular, and it is easy for recipients to stop messages, we feel the benefits outweigh the risks.

User SMS Settings

When an appropriately-privileged planner adds or edits a user, they will be able to indicate which number(s) support text messaging by using the corresponding checkbox.  Once checked, and the country is selected, a new communication method will be set up for the user without any validation being required.

Also, any SMS text recipient can stop all text messages from WP by replying “STOP” to any message (and restart the flow of messages by  replying “START” to any message from WP).

SongSelect™ Integration Improvement
Like text notifications, SongSelect integration has been part of worshipplanning.com for a number of years.  The integration has been per planner, meaning that if Jim Planner and Jill Planner both wanted to use the SongSelect integration in WP, they had to each authorize that integration.

The update we rolled out with version 5.4.0 adds a “church level” integration, meaning that church account admins now have the option to authorize an integration for use by all planners.  Technically only security level 1 (Worship Editors) and up could use the church-level SongSelect integration, since security level 0 users (Ministry Planners) can’t edit the worship flow or song library.

If both a church and an individual are integrated, WP will use the individual’s integration.  This allows churches to track specific usage (on the SongSelect side) for individual SongSelect accounts.

SongSelect

More Location Settings
Also included in this update is greater management over your locations.  To start with, we’ve added a new “Locations Management” screen where admins can centrally add, delete and rename the various locations used by your church.

Next, we add “locations” as an attribute setting to your teams.  Perhaps you have a different worship team for each location.  You no longer have to shoehorn the name the location into the team name field, like “Worship Team – Downtown Campus”.

locations

And we’ve added a location filter on the team management page so that you can easily hide teams not at a specific location. By the the way, the location filter setting is remembered as you move about the site.  Finally, the People Scheduling page had its location filter upgraded in the following ways:

  1. Your filter setting will also show/hide teams based on their location settings, making it easier to figure out which teams are appropriate to schedule for that location.
  2. You can now filter by more than one location.  Perhaps you want to see the worship team schedule for this weekend, across two or three locations, at once.  Now you can.

We hope you find these updates useful in making your planning process simpler.  Our team continues to work on updates frequently asked for by customers.  And, as always, your feedback is welcome.

New Partnership with Church CO+OP

Church CO+OP Logo

We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with Church CO+OP (http://churchco-op.org), a Texas-based non-profit whose mission is to “connect churches and non-profit ministries with reputable vendors and resources to save time and money on products, services, and education.”

As an approved vendor, worshipplanning.com provides a discount on all subscription plans to the 2000+ members of the CO+OP.  Be sure to check out our vendor page.

Free Song: “We Believe” by Travis Ryan

Travis PR Photo

We’re excited to offer you a free song for the next 7 days, in partnership with WeAreWorship.com!

This version of the popular song, “We Believe”, is a live recording from one of the writers of the song, Travis Ryan.

CLICK HERE to download the MP3 and the chord chart for FREE! (Oh no!  This offer has expired, but we’ll be offering another free song soon.  Subscribe to our blog if you don’t already.)

 

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