Working with rotas in ChurchSuite once they're created

We've produced a separate support article titled How to create a rota, which explains how to add a ministry and how to add rotas for a ministry, but what happens then? As much as one hopes rotas will run smoothly, the reality is that rotas are subject to constant and ongoing change – new people join teams, people step down or rest, roles change, people need to rearrange their commitments, extra rota dates get added for ad hoc events or services – the list of changes is endless! This article explores ChurchSuite's rota management functionality to help Rotas module Users stay on top of managing the changes. A similar support article (called Working with rotas in My ChurchSuite) has been produced for ministry overseers working within the member-facing My ChurchSuite.

In this article

Publishing a draft rota
Changing the display order of a rota
Adding people to a rota
Children on rotas
Assigning or changing roles
Clash management
Duplicating people from another rota date
Swapping people between two dates
Removing people from a rota
Adding and removing rota dates
Changing the serving times of a rota
Communicating with rota members serving on a particular date
Communicating rota changes to rota members
Renaming a rota
Rota changes logs

Publishing a draft rota

New rotas are always created with a Draft status. Working with draft rotas has the distinct advantage of allowing users and ministry overseers to plan ahead and make rota changes without the rota being visible to the rota's members in My ChurchSuite until it's ready to be published. You can easily identify a rota's 'draft' status in the list – those with Draft after the rota's name...

...or by filtering by Status using the Advanced Search in the Rotas section of the module...

Once the draft rota is ready to be published, either select Publish from the Action menu on the right-hand side of the list of rotas...

...or open the rota to 'view' – noting the blue Information message confirming the draft status – and click Publish now to make visible in My ChurchSuite or click the Publish button.

A success message confirms the rota status has been updated to Published. You may now wish to distribute the newly-published rota to the rota's members so that they know there's a new rota available – to do this you can use the Send rota option on the Communicate drop-down menu...

On the Send rota pop-up, optionally adjust the date range of the rota that will be embedded into the message, and set whether the table of rota member contact details are to be included. Click OK to generate and preview the rota email prior to sending to the rota's members.

You can change the Status of a rota at any time – simply click Edit at the top of the rota's "View" page.

On the Edit rota pop up, in addition to managing other rota settings explained in this article, you can change the rota's Status between Draft and Published. Remember that draft rotas are only visible to ministry overseers in My ChurchSuite and published rotas are visible to all rota members and overseers.

Can I change a rota's team rotation?

Whilst you can make lots of changes to rotas once they're published it is not possible to change the rotation or order of teams already assigned to dates within the rota – rota dates, team order and rotation are set at the point the rota is first created. 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 order of a rota

Your can easily change the display Order of the rota's 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 order in the rota's settings. Select Edit from the rota's "View" page. On the Edit rota pop up change the Order by setting as required.

You can change the Order that roles are listed in on rotas and reports. Navigate through the the rota's underlying ministry "View" page (in the Ministries section) and click on the Roles tab. You can change the order by either dragging the Order number or clicking the Order number and using the up/down arrows to move roles in the list – perhaps having key roles like 'leader' first.

When rotas are ordered By role, notice the option to +Add [to role] when hovering over a rota role... can then select from a scrollable pop up list of the available ministry members assigned with that role or you can Search for person to add another person to that role. People added to roles in this way are added on an ad hoc basis without the underlying Ministry being changed.

Adding people to the rota

In the previous section we saw that in rota Role order it's possible to Add people directly to a role. 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 already assigned to that rota date is displayed.

Ministry members in the list are added to the rota date with the Ministry role(s) already assigned. Once added to the rota you can optionally edit their role(s) to make ad hoc role changes without changing the underlying Ministry. You can also Search for person to add a non-ministry member to a rota date. Ad hoc people are added without a role but once added you can optionally assign roles if you wish. In the example above notice also how ChurchSuite alerts you to potential serving clashes – where people are already serving on other rotas (shown in red) or where they are unavailable (shown in red strikethrough).

Once people are added to a rota date you can easily change or assign their roles if you wish. Click the Action menu icon next to any rota member's name. For a rota member with No role select Add role and for rota members with an existing role select Edit role. The Add/Edit Roles pop up allows you to select the role(s) to be assigned. Assigned roles change colour from grey to blue when selected. Click Save Changes to apply to role selection to the rota member.

The +Add to date pop up lists People but you can also select the Teams tab, which surfaces a list of the Ministry's teams. In this way you select and add an entire Team to a rota date.

Team members added in this way are assigned to the team roles defined in the underlying Ministry. Again you can make ad hoc changes to a team member's roles on the rota without affecting the roles assigned in the underlying ministry.

Notice also that when hovering your cursor over a person's Name on a rota, all their other dates/roles on that rota are highlighted in grey.

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 is done in exactly the same way as adding Address Book contacts to a rota – simply search for the child's name and add them as described above. Note that within My ChurchSuite, children contact details are not visible, even to fellow rota members; only their name is shown on the rota. Children will however receive email rota reminders to their email address and will also receive rota group emails to that email address too.

Assigning or changing roles

When you first add a rota, the rota's members are assigned the role(s) specified in the underlying Ministry. It's possible to make ad hoc changes – overriding the "ministry roles" and assigning different "serving roles" to any date on a rota without those role changes affecting the underlying "ministry roles". This enables you to make custom rota changes to suit the ministry's particular needs on any given rota date. Importantly, rota members can be assigned multiple roles – this means that in Role order a rota member will be listed more than once – they'll show under each role they are assigned.

To assign roles hover your cursor over a rota member Name. The Action menu appears. For rota members without a role, select Add role...

...and for rota members who already have a role, select Edit role.

On the Add/Edit role pop up you can then select or deselect roles as appropriate. Selected roles have a blue background. Click Save Changes once you have finished.

Top Tip!

In Role order you will see a numeric indicator of the number of rota members in each role. If you hover the cursor over a role the +Add [to role] button is surfaced. People added using this button are assigned directly to that role, irrespective of any roles they may be assigned to in the rota's underlying ministry. This workflow is therefore a much quicker method of adding people directly into roles on a rota compared to the separate Add to date and Edit role methods explained above.

Clash management

As you add people to rotas ChurchSuite will alert you to any Rota Clashes arising.

By clicking Proceed you can override a clash warning or you can click Cancel and investigate further before proceeding. Often a clash is simply because a person is serving on another rota on that date/time – a date clash. It's of course entirely possible for someone to be serving in the worship team and then head off to lead a youth group after worship. These types of clash warning can be avoided by setting the rota's serving times to more accurately reflect the actual times when rota members are serving for an event or service.

At any time you can view a list of all rota clashes in the Rota Clashes report found in the Rotas module's Reports section...

...or view the clashes for a particular rota from the Clashes tab of a rota's "View" page.

Within the Clashes tab and Clashes report unavailability clashes are listed with an airplane icon and date clashes (where a member is serving on multiple rotas at the same time) are shown with a star icon. Date clashes include a note of the conflicting rotas and roles.

Duplicating people from another rota date

In addition to adding people to rota dates individually you can also duplicate the rota members from one rota date to another date. Within the rota date that you're wanting to add people to select Duplicate from date from the date Action menu in the top-right corner of the rota date.

On the Duplicate from Date pop up select the date to Duplicate from and optionally set whether to also Include team name and Include date notes in your target date. You can also choose to Remove existing members from the target date (or untick to leave existing members and roles in place). Click Duplicate Date to confirm.

Swapping people between two dates

You can swap an entire list of people (including their assigned roles) between two dates on the same rota. Working within one of the dates on your rota click the Date Action menu in the top-right corner of the date and select Swap date.

Choose the Swap with date from the drop-down menu. The rota members and their roles on that target date are listed. Confirm the swap by clicking Swap Date.

Removing people from a rota

To remove a person from a date on a rota hover your cursor over their name and select Remove member from the Action menu; or you can select Swap member to replace the current rota member.

On the Remove Person from Rota pop up optionally select to also Remove from all future dates on the same rota and to optionally Remove from the linked ministry entirely, as appropriate.

Adding and removing rota dates

You can easily add additional dates to a rota. Dates can only be added one at a time. Typically you will produce a new rota for each new term/season rather than endlessly extending an existing rota. This workflow has the distinct advantage of allowing overseers to work on new draft rotas before publishing them and making them visible to rota members. However, for occasional additional ad hoc events and services you can easily add dates to an existing rota as follows.

To add a date to a rota click the Add date button at the top of the rota's "View" page.

On the Add Date to Rota pop up, enter the Date and serving start Time and any optional Note. Click Add Date to save the changes and update the rota.

The newly-added date is now ready for you to add people to – perhaps by duplicating from an existing date (see above).

When considering removing dates from a rota you have two options. You can either select Clear date 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 later); or you can select Delete date 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 rota member confusion by finding a seemingly missing date on their rota, best practice may be to clear the date and add a suitable rota date note to explain why the date is empty.

To clear or delete a rota date hover your cursor over the DateClear date or Delete date as appropriate. You'll be asked to confirm the change.

Changing the serving times of a rota

The serving times for a rota are shown in the rota profile section at the top of the rota's "View" page. You can optionally change these serving times if you need to. Rota reminders and clash reporting will be updated to reflect changes to serving. Click Edit at the top of the rota's "View" page.

On the Edit rota pop up, amend the rota times as required and Save Changes. ChurchSuite will apply the time changes 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 change the serving time on a 'per date' basis. From the Date Action menu in the top right corner of the rota date, select Edit.

On the Edit date pop up you can change the Start Time for that date only. Rota reminders and clash detection will respect rota time changes, too.

Communicating with rota members serving on a particular date

On the Action menu in the top-right corner of any rota Date are options to Send email or Send SMS, which will send the respective communications to just those rota members serving on that date.

Communicating rota changes to rota members

Rota members looking in the My Rotas section of My ChurchSuite will always see the most up to date rota. In addition to the email and/or SMS reminders that rota members may receive (if enabled), you may find it helpful to communicate the latest rota to your serving rota members – particularly if you've made significant changes or are publishing a new rota. This section outlines the various communication options available to Users.

The most likely and quickest method is to simply select Send rota from the Communicate drop-down menu at the top of the rota's "View" page – the Send rota option is not available for rotas with a draft status.

This generates a personalised email with the rota and rota member list embedded into the body of the message. Simply add an email Subject, any custom greeting or introductory message you may wish to include before clicking to Preview Email.

When previewing the email, the rota members are auto-added to the recipients list but you can also add or remove recipients – perhaps to 'cc' the Senior Pastor or Sunday Service Coordinator...

A further option is to use Send SMS – perhaps to let the rota's members know there's been a rota update and that they should check My Rotas in My ChurchSuite for further details.

Finally, choosing Send Email invokes the Rotas module's Communication page, pre-populating all the rota's members into the Communication page ready for you to compose your own email or other communication.

A further option is to Download the rota as a PDF or CSV file; perhaps to distribute as an attachment in an email to non-rota members or to save the rota as a file in a shared online file storage folder that rota members or others can access.

Rota CSV

The rota can be downloaded to a CSV file, which can be viewed and further manipulated in desktop applications like MS Excel and Apple's Numbers. The CSV includes all rota dates, past and future. The CSV file is produced in either Role order or Name order, depending on the current rota view selected. Since CSV files are text-only files, it is not possible to include colour and strikethrough text formatting in the CSV – clashes and unavailability are therefore distinguished by !! and -- characters in front of the rota member names.

You can also Print rota, perhaps to print a hard copy to display on the wall in the church office or hand out paper copies to rota members who don't have email addresses or access to My ChurchSuite. Note that different printers render this report differently – landscape rotation works best. If you encounter 'print preview' issues with clipping then download the rota PDF and print that file instead.

Renaming a rota

The rota name is defined when the rota is first created. You can amend the rota name at any time by clicking Edit at the top of the rota's "View" page.

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

Rota changes logs

Inevitably, after a rota is first created, it will undergo many changes over the course of the rota's dates – people will be added, removed, roles assigned, notes and unavailability added, and swaps and sign-ups processed. ChurchSuite maintains a separate Changes log for each rota, making it easy to keep on top of the changes at any time. The log shows details of who made the changes, when the changes were made and whether the changes were made by a user within ChurchSuite or by an overseer or rota member from within My ChurchSuite.

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 dates.

The Recent Changes report in the Rotas module's Reports section lists all the changes for all rotas. This report can be further filtered within a range of Dates, with Filters for particular rotas, ministries or services – click Generate to apply filter changes made and see the matching results.

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 bright orange when a change has just been made 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 Action menu...

...displays a pop up View changes box listing all the changes related to that rota date.

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