Working with rotas in ChurchSuite

We've produced a separate support article titled How to create a rota but what happens then? As much as one hopes rotas will run smoothly, the reality is that rotas are subject to ongoing change – people join and leave teams, roles change, people need to rearrange their commitments, extra rota dates get added for ad hoc events or services – the changes seem endless!

This article explores the rota management functionality available to module Users to help them stay on top of their rotas. A similar support article - called Working with rotas in My ChurchSuite - has been produced for ministry overseers who manage their rotas using the member-facing My ChurchSuite.

In this article

Publishing a rota
Sending a rota to the rota's members
Changing the display order of a rota
Adding people to a rota and assigning roles
Children on rotas
Adding and removing rota dates
Changing the serving times for a rota
Renaming a rota
Rota changes logs

Publishing a rota

Newly-added rotas are created with a Draft status. Working with draft rotas has the distinct advantage of allowing users and ministry overseers to plan and make rota changes without the rota being visible to rota members in My ChurchSuite until it's ready to be published. Note that rota reminders are only sent for published rotas. Draft status rotas are distinguished in the Rotas section with an italicised rota name. The Advanced Search can also be used to filter the list to only show draft status rotas.

Before a rota can be shared it must first be published. From a draft rota View click to Publish the rota.

Sending a rota to the rota's members

You can now send a newly-published rota to the rota's members so they know there's a new rota. Click Send rota from the Communicate button menu.

On the Send rota pop-up, set the range of rota Dates to be sent and choose the intended Recipients. The rota email subject and message can be optionally further customised. The email will contain a curated list of each rota member's serving dates and roles but note the additional options to include the rota date grid and a rota member contact details list. Click Send to complete the process. Sent rotas are logged against each recipient rota member's communication log on their profile page in the Address Book or Children module (not against the rota). Included within each recipient rota member email is a link to their personal Rota Page, which lists all future rota dates and, for rotas with accept/decline enabled, the option to accept or decline their assigned rota dates.

It's also possible to send a rota to just those members serving on a certain rota date - by choosing Send rota from the rota date actions:

...Or to individual rota members by locating any of their future rota servings and choosing Send rota from the rota member serving actions:

Can I change a rota team rotation?

While you can make many changes to rotas, it is not possible to change the rota's rotation of teams or the team order – the rota's dates, team order and rotation are determined when the rota is added. To change the rotation or order of serving teams, head to the underlying Ministry, amend the rotation and team structure accordingly and then create a new rota, which will reflect the ministry's new rotation and team order.

Changing the display order of a rota

You can easily change the display Order of the rota members from Name order (alphabetical last name order – the default) to Role order, which is helpful for role-based ministries where you need to quickly identify if you have sufficient serving team members in each role on each rota date.

You can also change the rota display order in the rota's settings. Select Edit from the rota "View" page. On the Edit rota pop-up, change the Order by as required.

When rotas are ordered By role, notice the option to +Add [to the role] surfaced when hovering over a role... can then select from a scrollable pop-up list of the ministry members assigned to that role, or you can Search and select another person for that role. People added to rota roles in this way do not affect the underlying ministry.

Adding people to a rota and assigning roles

In the previous section, we saw that when displaying a rota in role order, it's possible to add people directly to roles. In this section, we'll see how to add people to a rota date. Click Add to date.

A pop-up, scrollable list of ministry members with any role and not yet assigned to that rota date is displayed. Ministry members added from the list are added with their ministry role/s assigned. Once added, you can optionally add or edit assigned roles. Roles assigned ad hoc in this way do not affect the underlying ministry. In the following example, notice how potential clashes are distinguished. Those already serving on other rotas are shown in red styling, and those who have previously added unavailability are shown in red strikethrough styling.

You can also Search and select non-ministry members to add to a rota date. Ad hoc people are added without roles, but once added, you can optionally assign roles if you wish...

On the Add/Edit Role pop-up, select the role(s) to be assigned. Assigned roles change colour from grey to blue when selected. Click Save to apply the role selection to the rota member.

The +Add to date pop-up lists People by default (ministry members), but you can also add entire Teams to a rota date. Teams and team members added in this way are assigned their team roles as defined in the underlying Ministry. Again you can make ad hoc changes to role assignments on the rota without affecting the underlying ministry.

Children on rotas

Children and young people can serve on rotas too – distinguished by a child icon in front of their name. Adding children and young people from the Children module and assigning/removing roles is done in the same way as Address Book contacts.

Adding and removing rota dates

You can easily add additional dates to an existing rota. Typically you'll produce a new follow-on rota for each new season, rather than endlessly extending an existing rota. This method has the distinct advantage of allowing overseers to work on a draft rota for the next season before making it visible to the rota's members. However, you may prefer to extend an existing published rota by adding dates - for example, a term-time-only activity may be more simply created by adding the first term's rota and then using Add multiple dates to add subsequent terms, thus avoiding the need for multiple rotas to cover an academic year or the need to remove holiday dates from a full-year rota. Essentially, you have lots of flexibility!

Adding a single date

To add a single date to a rota, perhaps where an additional service needs to be added to an existing rota, click the Add button at the top of the rota "View" page and select Add single date:

On the Add single date pop-up, enter the Date and, if required, edit the serving Start Time:

Optionally add any rota-specific Notes - perhaps a note of a special service or a guest speaker. If rota Sign-up is enabled, you can also specify the maximum sign-up capacity for the date. Click Save to add the date to the rota.

The newly-added date is now ready for you to populate with rota members and assign roles.

Adding multiple dates

To add multiple dates to a rota, perhaps to extend a rota for the next season, or to add a series of additional dates within an existing rota data range, click Add and select Add multiple dates:

The Add multiple dates pop-up is surfaced. The existing rota's rotation and serving days/times are shown for reference. The suggested Start date is the next serving date after the current rota ends. Check and adjust the date range to be added, as required:

The Ministry default settings are pre-populated; review the details being careful to ensure the rotation, repeat, teams, start team, and serving pattern follow your existing rota as required. Click Save to add the additional dates to the rota.

The dates are added to the rota. Where Ad Hoc Team Rotation was chosen, the dates are added empty, ready to populate with rota members on an ad hoc basis. If Simple Rotation or Serve 13 was chosen, the added dates are pre-populated with teams and team members according to the teams and rotation selected.

Removing rota dates

When removing dates from a rota, you have two options. You can either select Clear to remove all rota members from the date while leaving an empty date in place on the rota (perhaps for rota members to be added again later), or you can select Delete and remove the date entirely from the rota. In both cases, the changes do not affect the underlying rota's Ministry, team structure, team members or roles. To avoid possible rota member confusion caused by seeing a seemingly missing rota date, the best practice may be to clear the date and add a suitable note to the rota date to explain why it is empty.

To clear or delete a rota date, click the Date actions in the top-right corner of the Date. Select Clear or Delete as appropriate. You'll be asked to confirm the change.

Changing the serving times for a rota

The serving days and times for a rota are shown in the rota's profile at the top of the rota "View" page. You can optionally change these serving times - perhaps to better reflect the expected serving times for rota members, which will ensure more accurate clash detection. Rota reminders and clash reporting will be updated to reflect changes to serving times. Click Edit at the top of the rota "View" page.

On the Edit rota pop-up, amend the rota times as required and Save. The serving time changes will be applied to all rota dates that had the original time, but not to any rota dates that have already been manually changed on a 'per date' basis (see below).

As well as making rota-wide changes to the serving times of a rota (above), you can also make 'per date' serving time changes. From the Date actions in the top-right corner of a date, select Edit.

On the Edit date pop-up, change the Start Time as appropriate. Rota reminders and clash detection will respect the rota date time change.

Renaming a rota

The rota name is defined when the rota is first created. You can amend the rota name at any time - perhaps to add a clearer distinction from another similarly-named rota - by clicking Edit at the top of the rota "View" page.

On the Edit rota pop-up, edit the rota Name as applicable and click to Save. The updated rota name is reflected in ChurchSuite and My ChurchSuite.

Rota changes logs

Inevitably, your rotas will undergo many changes after the rota is first produced - people being added, removed, swapped, assigned roles, notes and unavailability added, and sign-ups processed. ChurchSuite maintains comprehensive Changes log for each rota, making it easy to keep on top of the changes being made, when, where, and by whom.

When viewing a rota in ChurchSuite, select the Changes tab. Note that the Changes listed are in respect of the rota View filter – to see all changes, be sure to set the View filter to All.

A date modification indicator is shown at the bottom of each rota date where changes have been made, showing when each rota date was last changed. The modified time will show in orange when a change has been made recently and will slowly get dimmer as time passes, helping you spot recent changes...

Clicking on the date modification indicator or selecting View changes from the rota Date actions... a View changes pop-up listing all the changes related to that rota date.

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